Your family is starting to outgrow your current home, so you know you’ll be moving sometime in the next few years.
Or maybe you’ve just moved into a fixer-upper with great potential, but the ever-present “resale value” is always in front of your mind.
How do you decide which home renovations offer the most bang for their buck so you’re not let down when it’s time to sell?
Obviously, every buyer is different and there’s no way to make everyone happy. But by choosing the best renovations for resale value, you can ensure a faster sell and possibly make a little green in the process. Use this guide to help you decide on the wisest use of your renovation budget before you even think about selling.
As they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” But there are a few upgrades you can make that are universally loved.
If you’re looking to upgrade your home to get the most bang for your buck before you sell, focus on the following:
Kitchens are the #1 place to start if you’re considering any home upgrades. Buyers love to see a beautiful, renovated kitchen, so your hard work will be rewarded.
Just be careful not to go overboard. If you put $45,000 worth of work into a house that’s only worth $160,000, you’ll be wasting your money.
Wouldn’t you have loved to find a house with a completely finished bathroom? So will your buyers.
Stick with neutral, yet stylish, features to appeal to a wide variety of tastes and consider adding any extra square footage as necessary. If your floor plan really calls for a full bath upstairs instead of the half-bath that’s there, now might be the time to add it.
Adding a Room
As long as you’re not stealing square footage from a more valuable purpose (see “Don’ts” below), extra rooms that can be used as bedrooms, home offices, or playrooms can be a big plus to buyers.
Consider converting an attic or basement (if you’re lucky enough to have one) or building an entirely new wing.
Adding a patio or screened-in porch may not be a wise decision in Minnesota, but in sunny Florida, buyers love to see comfortable outdoor spaces.
Consider adding features like ceiling fans, pet doors, and insect-resistant screens to appeal to even more buyers.
The front of your house is the first thing that buyers will see (whether online or in person), so it’s important to make a great first impression.
Simple things like exterior paint and a few new plants can work wonders in giving your home a facelift. You also might consider installing a sprinkler system on a timer.
Energy efficiency isn’t just a trendy buzz word, it’s a huge relief to many cash-strapped buyers. Anything you can do to lessen the strain of the power bill could help you get a higher price later on.
Double- or even triple-paned windows and new exterior doors lessen sound as well as insulate against the weather. Ceiling fans in living spaces ease the strain on the AC. And greener appliances not only consume less energy, they work better than their older counterparts.
It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about home renovations, but adding small storage spaces throughout your home can make it more attractive than other homes in the neighborhood.
For a skilled contractor, adding storage is easy. See about adding a closet under your stairway or building a recessed bookcase into your living room’s main wall. Consult with your contractor or even a realtor when deciding on the placement of these additions.
Believe it or not, some renovation projects aren’t worth the money put into them if you’re looking to sell.
To appeal to the widest range of potential buyers, stay away from these upgrades:
Believe it or not, many buyers simply don’t want to deal with the high-maintenance involved in owning a pool.
If you and your family will get a lot of use out of it, go for it. There will be plenty of other buyers who agree with you. Just don’t shell out the big bucks hoping to see a return on your investment when you put it up for sale. You may be disappointed.
Converting a Bedroom or Garage
While it may be tempting to turn that extra bedroom into a custom wine cellar or convert your garage into a playroom, you’re better off leaving them as-is.
Most buyers won’t have the same hobbies or needs as you do, so spending a few grand on that built-in cigar humidifier won’t earn you any extra money at resale. Buyers aren’t looking for wine cellars and playrooms as much as they are looking for…bedrooms and garages.
If you have to have a special “hobby room,” consider temporary options that can be easily removed when you sell.
If you can’t afford to upgrade your flooring to hardwood or other “in-demand” flooring, it’s probably better to just have your carpets professionally cleaned rather than replaced. Buyers simply won’t pay extra for carpet (even if it’s new).
You may pride yourself on your award-winning roses, but the next owner won’t appreciate having to prune and tend to those thorny beauties.
When boosting your curb appeal, choose native plants that don’t require too much care.
Renovations That Closely Align with Your Tastes
While it’s fine to let your personal style show in your furniture, art, and accessories, you want to avoid doing any permanent installations that are too specific to your tastes.
A tiled sink may look great with your French country decor, but chances are, the next buyer will be looking for something a little more neutral. The work involved in replacing it may be enough to turn them off altogether.
Choosing the best renovations for resale value will not only give you a home you’ll love to live in, but it could bring you a fabulous return on investment if and when you ever need to sell. Consult friends, family, and professionals when making any decisions about home renovations, but remember that it’s ultimately your decision.