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What Home Renovations Pay Off?
If you are considering renovations to your home before you put it on the market, it is important to understand what changes are likely to add to the value of your house, and what ones are not. Although every house and every market is different, Real Simple lists the best – and the worst – renovations for most homes.
Renovations that Pay Off
In general, these are renovations to often-used parts of your house that make it more efficient and attractive and that make it look updated. For example:
Kitchen. This is the most effective renovation, because buyers usually look at the kitchen as the heart of the home. To maximize value, your kitchen should have stainless steel appliances and counters made of granite, quartz or a similar material. You can update your cabinets with paint and new hardware. If your sink is old, replace it – and don’t forget to put in a new faucet. If your budget and the design of your house allow, consider knocking down all or part of a wall to open the kitchen to the rest of the house.
Bathrooms. Updating your vanity and lighting is a good place to start. If your toilet is old, you probably should replace it. But you can save money by reglazing a dingy tub.
Energy efficiency. These changes can range from replacing all your windows with energy-efficient ones, to adding a programmable thermostat, storm doors and ceiling fans.
Sprinkler system. Everyone likes a lush lawn and beautiful shrubs and flowers, but most people don’t have the time to make sure their outdoor space is watered. A sprinkler system makes it easy for buyers to keep up their landscaping.
Built-in Speakers. This touch can impress tech-savvy buyers, and it makes it easy to play music in any room.
Renovations to Avoid
Some renovations are very unlikely to pay off, including:
A pool. While some buyers might love having a pool, many others might be put off by the maintenance and added liability a pool represents. A pool is an especially bad investment anywhere that the summer season is relatively short.
Converting a bedroom. Unless you have bedrooms coming out of your ears, it does not make sense to convert one into a room for your specific interests, such as a craft room or a library. The next owner might not share those interests and might not want to go to the trouble of converting it back to a bedroom.
Carpet. Hardwood floors are much more popular than carpet with buyers all over the country. Many buyers just plan to pull up carpet and replace it with hardwood, so don’t waste the money.
Ornate lighting. Having plenty of light is important to buyers, but don’t spend a lot of money on an expensive, fancy chandelier that someone else might hate.
Repurposing the garage. You might be tempted to turn an attached garage into a family room or den. Don’t. Most buyers want, need and expect a garage.