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7 Home Projects & Improvements to Add Value to Your House

January 8, 2021

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Are you a homeowner wondering about the home projects that add the most value to a property? This is vital to consider as not all updates and changes increase a home’s overall value, while some can even reduce property values! Houses are appraised according to the price homebuyers might pay for that home, and potential buyers won’t necessarily see value in certain features or updates.

If you’re planning a renovation, consider 7 home projects that add the most value, along with some added tips for modernizing a home and incorporating today’s design trends. You might also consider a few home projects that do not add value and mistakes to avoid with your renovation plans! Be sure to discuss your plans with a renovation contractor as needed, so you end up with a home you love and see a healthy return on your financial investment as well.

layout and kitchen and bath design in San Diego

1. A Kitchen Renovation Almost Always Adds Value

A home’s kitchen is probably the one room that everyone in the family uses every single day, so it should offer a welcoming look while providing adequate space for food storage, prep, and cooking! Since the kitchen is such a vital part of the home and family, an update almost always adds value to a house, often from 85% to over 100% your costs.

Consider some quick tips on renovating a kitchen so that it’s more functional and valuable as well:

Upgrade the Appliances

Potential homebuyers today appreciate matching, energy-efficient appliances that make cooking easier and save money on utility costs! Mismatched appliances detract from a kitchen’s appearance no matter their size or condition, and outdated appliances can make the entire home seem dingy and rundown. When planning a kitchen renovation, ensure you save room in the budget for upgrading the appliances as needed.

Choose Neutral but Not Overly Expensive Surfaces

When choosing new countertops and flooring, opt for durable materials in neutral earth tones, but avoid overly expensive options! For example, potential homebuyers often appreciate durable and attractive granite countertops but aren’t always willing to pay extra for high-end marble.

Don’t Sacrifice Function for Style

While a kitchen should look welcoming and inviting and offer enough room for multiple cooks, don’t sacrifice function for style! Avoid opening up the kitchen so much that it then lacks storage, or choosing overly large appliances that “jut out” into the walkway simply because you love the look of that oversized, chef-inspired stove.

2. New Bathrooms and Bathroom Remodels Typically Add Value

tile installation

Homeowners always appreciate having enough bathrooms for everyone in the home, and that are conveniently located throughout the house. If your older home doesn’t have a bathroom on the first floor, for example, adding even a small two-piece washroom can increase your property values instantly!

When planning a bathroom renovation project, remember that the space should look clean and hygienic while offering plenty of storage for linens and personal care items. Start with new tile and shower fixtures and then add a vanity under the sink along with updated flooring and lighting. With that added storage and updated surfaces, a bathroom renovation might see a return of 80% to over 100% of your renovation costs.

3. Finish an Attic or Basement to Add Living Space and Value

Finishing a basement or attic is an excellent way to add value to a home, as these projects increase its overall usable square footage! Potential homebuyers typically appreciate added living space they can use as entertainment rooms, a home office or studio, or a dedicated play area for the children. Depending on your upgrades and area, you might expect to see a 85% to 100% return on your renovation investment if you were to finish an attic or basement!

Before starting an attic or basement renovation, check local building codes regarding needed egress or dedicated exits, and especially if you plan to use the space as a bedroom. Basements might also need waterproofing and attics added ventilation, to protect finished building materials from water damage and resultant mold growth.

4. Decks Also Add Usable Space and Maximum Value!

An outdoor deck adds usable space to your home, offering space for dining, entertaining, or just relaxing with an afternoon coffee! While this extra space alone typically means added value, another reason to consider adding a deck is that they’re inexpensive to install, so they provide a maximum return on your investment. In some cases a homeowner might even see more than a 100% return on their costs; if you spend $10,000 on your new deck, for example, you might see an $11,000 or more increase in your home’s property values!

5. Curb Appeal and Outdoor Home Projects That Add Value

When considering home projects that add the most value, don’t forget that the outside of a home also affects a property’s value! Cleaning up brush and overgrown hedges, removing dead plants and broken pavers while adding new landscaping features improves curb appeal instantly. In some cases a homeowner might see a 100% return on their investment for new landscaping features!

While homebuyers might not pay for overly expensive outdoor features, consider staining and stamping a concrete driveway so it doesn’t look so industrial, and widening walkways. Your home’s front and back entryways might also need an update; replace entryway and patio doors if needed, upgrade lighting fixtures, and add cozy seating and plants. You can easily see a great return on your investment with just these simple touches!

6. Improving a Home’s Energy Efficiency Adds Value

Replacing a home’s insulation and windows might not seem like much fun, but high-quality insulation and energy-efficient windows help block outside heat and cold, reducing energy costs. Homebuyers typically appreciate an energy-efficient home, so these simple updates can often mean at least an 85% return on your financial investment.  A real estate agent or property appraiser can also note other energy-efficient changes appreciated by local homebuyers and which might add value to your property.

7. A Family Room Addition Means Added Value

One of the best renovation projects for a cramped, crowded home is a family room addition. As with a newly finished basement or attic, an addition provides added living space that many potential buyers love. You can typically expect to see an 80% return on your investment for a new family room or sizable extension or your home’s overall living space.

What Home Improvements Do Not Add Value?

Never assume that every home improvement project will increase property values! Potential buyers aren’t always willing to pay extra for certain updates or renovations, and some renovations can actually decrease your home’s overall value.

Sunrooms don’t typically add the value you expect

While a family room addition typically adds value to a home, don’t expect this same return with a sunroom and especially if it’s not heated or otherwise usable year-round! Buyers might appreciate a sunroom in a tropical area with year-round sunshine and lovely views, but in areas prone to short summers and snowy winters, that sunroom might be seen as wasted space and not offer a healthy return on your investment.

Swimming pools might detract from your home’s values

As with sunrooms, swimming pools might be appreciated in tropical areas; however, many homeowners might see it as a nuisance rather than a bonus! Not all potential homebuyers are avid swimmers and many might not want to deal with keeping a pool clean, or ensuring it’s safe for children and up to local codes. If you’re concerned with renovation projects that add value, consider carefully a pool installation!

Home theaters aren’t a favorite for potential buyers

A finished basement or attic, or family room addition, allows homeowners to use that space as they see fit, whether that’s for an office, playroom, or entertainment area. However, a home theater typically has just one use, and not every homebuyer will love movies as much as you! If you’re looking to add a space for your movie projector and speakers but also want to see a healthy return on your financial investment, avoid details like built-in seating and installations so the room remains a more neutral space that might serve a variety of functions.

A wine cellar rarely adds home value

Buyers looking at large estate homes in upscale neighborhoods might appreciate a wine cellar, but the majority of homebuyers don’t need a dedicated space for a wine collection! Many homebuyers might see a wine cellar as wasted space they could otherwise use for storage, or which cuts into adjoining rooms unnecessarily. Speak to a real estate agent or property appraiser before deciding on a wine cellar if you’re concerned about preserving or increasing property values.

Reconsider garage conversions

Your family might not park a car in the garage and might appreciate using the space for a studio or attached sunroom, but most potential homebuyers don’t want to lose that garage space. If you’re thinking of converting a garage, discuss this option with a real estate agent or property appraiser first, to note how it might affect overall property values.

How Can I Raise the Value of My House Cheaply?

kitchen renovation with new lighting

There are many ways you can raise the value of a home cheaply and with just a little work and effort! Check out some quick suggestions for improving your home’s appearance, curb appeal, and value:

  • New paint updates a home’s appearance and potentially increases its value quickly and affordably. Stick to neutral colors which add a bit of warmth or brightness to outdated spaces and make every room in the home look fresh and new!
  • New hardware is a quick and affordable fix that also updates a home instantly. Swap out doorknobs, drawer pulls, and cabinet door hinges throughout the home with something updated and decorative, and you might be surprised at your home’s improved appearance!
  • Updated light fixtures also keep a home from looking outdated and drab. Stylish fixtures improve a home’s appearance while also creating brighter interior rooms, which makes a home more welcoming and potentially improving its value.
  • Bathroom and kitchen flooring doesn’t need to be expensive to improve home values. Many peel-and-stick vinyl or laminate tiles can be applied over current flooring, for an updated look and hygienic surface that’s easier to clean.
  • While lush landscaping adds the most value to a home, a few simple outdoor touches can also increase curb appeal and property values. If you can’t maintain flowerbeds, consider flowering bushes such as lilac or myrtle. Keep fresh mulch around flowers and bushes for a finished look, and you might see property values increase instantly!

How Would You Modernize Your Home in 2021?

The year 2020 probably saw more people working from and staying at home than ever before, as “shelter in place” orders and social distancing became widespread due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, many homeowners today are giving more thought to their home’s interior spaces than ever before!

If you’re eager to update your home and create a more modern, welcoming appearance to usher in the new year, consider some of the hottest design trends for 2021:

  • Arts & crafts décor incorporates handmade items while avoiding mass-produced, generic elements. With so many people having to find ways to keep busy while staying home, this is an excellent choice for modernizing your home in 2021! Use your own items or shop for handmade, unique items online for your home’s décor.
  • Rustic vogue might be described as upscale cottage style, using lots of comfortable accents such as toss pillows and upholstered furniture but with a more elegant look. Stick to bold, warm earth tones and avoid cold metal and glass when decorating in a rustic vogue look.
  • As travel was restricted in many areas during 2020, homeowners have developed a deep appreciation for faraway places! Bringing an element of travel and global influence into your home is an excellent way to beat cabin fever. Opt for decorative features with a strong international flavor while sticking to a simple color palette, for a welcoming look.

Hiring a home renovation contractor is also an excellent way to update your home while increasing curb appeal and property values. He or she can note local and national trends and ensure you make the best decisions for your family’s needs while also protecting a home’s overall resale values.

A Word from Our Team

This information is proudly presented by San Diego Kitchen Renovation Pros. If you still have questions about the home projects and remodeling services that add the most value or are in the San Diego area and are ready to move forward with a kitchen or bathroom renovation, give us a call! We offer over 20 years of home design and renovation experience and offer a customer satisfaction guarantee that is second to none.

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