Boost Your Home's Value With These 5 Projects

By Ashley Marcin on 30 October 2014 0 comments

Whether you've lived in your home for decades or just moved in, ROI's something to consider when thinking about home improvement projects.

A good first step — especially if you plan to sell in the near future — is to invite a trusted agent over to evaluate your home's features in relation to other houses in the neighborhood and market. You can get a solid idea of which projects are getting the biggest payoffs and, alternatively, which are better left undone. (See also: Recoup More of Your Investment: 8 Improvements that Add the Most Value)

That said, there are some universal improvements that can help you better enjoy your space today and gain property value down the line.

1. Bathrooms

When we put our house on the market earlier this year, the biggest detriment to sale ended up being our lonely single bathroom. We lived in a 1940s kit house that was identical to our neighbors' digs, and most of them had gone ahead and squeezed in a toilet and sink into the downstairs closet for a couple grand. Recent data from the American Housing Survey indicates that adding a half bath can add 10.5% to a home's value while a full bath adds closer to 20%. Plus, living with more than one toilet or shower is a huge convenience if you plan to stick around.

2. Exterior

Any improvements to curb appeal will instantly garner your home listing more views. We tried selling our house a few years ago, but after the initial rush — we weren't getting any foot traffic. A couple years later, we switched out the old front door for an energy efficient one with decorative glass. We also got our house professionally painted and put up new shutters. Guess what happened! Yeah — we sold within a couple months and had lots of "cute house" comments after showings. The ROI is in your favor for projects that involve siding, doors, windows, etc. They can gain back more than 70% of their cost at resale.

3. Kitchen

If you've ever watched a marathon of those house hunter shows, you know that people of all ages are obsessed with kitchens. Thankfully, the kitchen is one of your best bets when it comes to house improvements that pay off. Energy savvy appliances and upgraded finishes like solid surface countertops can — again — get back up to 70% of their original costs at resale. But don't order fancy granite just yet! Consider neighborhood comps when it comes to planning any upgrades. Sometimes simple stuff, like painting kitchen cabinets, will get more value via sweat equity.

4. Space

Need more space in your home? Rather than draft up blueprints for an addition or plan a move across town, consider transforming unfinished basement area into living space. The national average for ROI on finished basements is nearly 80 percent. And if you're on the fence about selling or staying due to space, some extra square footage could save you some major moving costs. Those of you with notoriously wet or damp basements, however, need to consider any remediation costs that could total thousands and cut into your bottom line.

5. Bedrooms

Much like with a basement remodel, an attic bedroom transformation can get you some big bucks back at sale. Also: I loved my big room in the attic as a kid. The national average for a return on an attic bedroom conversion is a little over 70%. Beware, however, since the actual return can vary significantly between cities. In San Francisco and Honolulu, for example, you can get up to 114% back for this upgrade. Where I live in upstate New York, that number is more like 47%. Think this type of project might be for you? Bounce the idea off a real estate agent to get some constructive feedback before signing on the dotted line.

Have you made a big home improvement recently? Did it pay off?

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