8 Home Improvements that Provide the Best Return on Investment
If you are considering spending a large amount of cash or taking out a loan to do some home improvements on your abode, there’s a lot more to consider other than just what you want to feel more at home. One thing to certainly consider is what kind of return on investment you can get.
But what are the most valuable upgrades? Some might surprise you, others will seem fairly obvious. Either way, they are important to be aware of as you begin to consider improving your current home.
1.It All Starts in the Kitchen
Buyers of all kinds have long had a love affair with a property’s kitchen. It is a place where people meet, it’s often one of the first rooms you walk into after a hard day at work, and it can add a huge amount of value to any home. A modern and “updated” kitchen topped the list of ideal home features in a recent survey of millennials.
If you plan to sell, don’t feel like this information is forcing you to rip your kitchen out completely. Small investments can make a huge difference. For example, you should be able to get new appliances, new countertop, and new flooring for well under $10,000. Applying a frsh coat of paint in the kitchen walls and cabinets can also go a very long way in breathing new life into a tired kitchen area.
If you are looking for a big-time upgrade, two of the most preferred materials in kitchens today are stainless steel and quartz countertop. They look great and can be surprisingly affordable.
2.Keep it Simple
Heavy and stain-sensitive stone countertops, dust collecting cabinets, and ever-dirty carpeting used to be considered the lap of luxury. That is no longer the case, however, and today’s homebuyers much prefer simplistic and minimalist approach to both interior and exterior design.
Beyond a home’s cosmetic finishes, it is important to keep the major mechanical systems in your home in working order. New homeowners will be somewhat cash poor after putting own a huge down payment on their new house, so they’ll want to know that they won’t have to worry about pricey fixes such as heating, plumbing, electricity, air, and more.
Some of the things that people look for most in today’s market are updated mechanical systems, new roofs that reduce the fear of water damage, ice dams, and more. Beyond that, as we mentioned that carpets being a sought-after entity are very much a thing of the past. In fact, many prospective home owners will flat out avoid homes that have carpeting, especially if they are starting a family, because of their propensity to carry years of allergens and chemicals within them. Hardwood floors look great and don’t have too expensive to purchase and install if you decide to use a synthetic type of wood.
3.Make Floor Plans Work for You
Bigger no longer means better for a lot of new home-owners and have a strategic and simple design can often trump raw floor space. An ‘open floor plan with flexible living space’ is a huge buzzworthy phrase that a lot of prospective home-owners are looking for.
Finishing a basement is one of the most common ways to add usable square footage to home. Homeowners reportedly spend between $10,000 and $30,000 converting their basements before a sale. Another conversion that some homeowners opt for is an attic remodel, though that often costs much more because many attics are not insulated properly for both summer or winter months.
Two things to keep in mind is that millennial buyers often work at home. They also often like to use one room as a dedicated ‘kids’ room.’ Those may change the way you see updating your property to become most attractive for a growing part of the housing market.
Buzzwords that you might consider using, or developing your remodel plans based on are flex rooms – which are basically rooms that can serve multiple purposes such as home office and living room -, mother-in-law apartment – which means an additional family member could comfortably make a room their bedroom -, or simply an upstairs laundry room – which basically means the laundry room is closer to bedrooms and not several flights of stairs below them.
4.Think About Energy Conservation
Updating your home to lower its energy costs can save you money for as long as you live there and make it much more valuable on the housing market if you should decide to sell. If you’re wondering if making how much of an impact an energy efficient home can have on prospective buyers, consider the fact that a 2015 survey by the National Association of Home Builders listed the phrase “energy-efficient” as second to only “safe community” when it comes to new homeowners looking for their ideal abode.
Older homeowners who may have been recently feeling the escalating energy costs impact their wallets might decide to make improvements for that reason alone, but younger buyers are much more concerned about all aspects of energy conservation.
Millennial buyers often ask for multiple years’ worth of utility payments. They ask for the R-Value on the home’s insulation and whether or not the windows have low-E coatings. These are two of the most common and easily added forms of energy conservation.
On top of that, an updated water-heating device – which will run you from $1,800 to $2,400 – can be a real tool to impressing prospective buyers.
Other options that you have when it comes to upgrading your home to be as energy efficient as possible is to consider high-efficient windows, or LED lights. Both can be relatively affordable upgrades that can not only save you money as you live in your home, but add to its value should you decide to put it on the market.
5.Make Your Home Accessible to All Ages
This may not seem like a natural thing to focus on, but it is wise to consider the fact that by the year 2040, there are expected to be almost 80 million seniors accounting for 21 percent of the population. Current houses are not well-equipped to accommodate that many older people due to steep staircases, narrow doorways, and slippery showers, bath tubs, and more. If you are looking towards the future and keeping your 30-year mortgage in mind, you can make changes such as these to widen the net of potential buyers far down the line.
Things to focus on when it comes to these types of changes include a walk in shower – which can also be a fantastic addition to a tired-looking bathroom, having the master bedroom on the main floor which means residents don’t have to worry about climbing stairs early in the morning or late at night to get to and from their bedrooms, and comfort-height toilets, which makes getting on and off the pot safer and easier.
6.Paint Can Pay Dividends
A fresh coat of paint can keep your home looking its best even if other aspects of the property are lacking. The right color, especially if it is a fresh coat can really brighten up the room, make it feel newer, and allow any prospective buyer to really see themselves in the home as opposed to thinking about past residents. A great tip is to instead of painting every surface of your home, focus primarily on high-traffic areas such as kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and major hallways. It is also a good idea to consider repayment the outside of your home if it has been a while since you have done so.
Things to focus on when considering a paint job is to opt for neutral color schemes. White and off-whites will forever by the top-selling interior colors and will appeal to most prospective buyers.
It is also wise to opt for high-quality paints as opposed to cheaper materials. First off, they simply look better. Second off, prospective buyers that are either starting or considering starting a new family may very well ask what kind of chemicals their future children may be inhaling or coming in contact with. If you used cheaper paints, they may not like what they hear.
7.Don’t Forget Your Home’s Surroundings
Your home’s property can be an incredible asset, or a great hindrance to you depending on how you approach it and how you care for it. If you have a nice yard or wooded area, orient your home towards it with big windows that bring in loads of refreshing natural light. Also, make sure to take care of the areas. Have someone come and see if you can plant trees, perennial plants, or shrubs to make it feel more alive. Keep your grass healthy and your lawn clear to make it look its best.
Also, think about building a deck or patio will really be an added asset for you when it comes time to sell your home.
While previous generations loved to fill up available outdoor space with a pool, millennials and Gen Yers are much more likely to enjoy a blank slate area where they can set up their own seating area, perhaps situated around a cozy outdoor fire pit.
Another thing to keep in mind is to stay away from lush landscapes that require huge amounts of upkeep and watering. That ads to the cost and can be a real issue if you are living in a potentially drought-sensitive region such as Southern California or the American West.
Things to keep in mind when you are looking to sell is to optimize your curb appeal. That means spending the time and/or money to make the outdoor areas in front of your home look their best. This will be the first thing a prospective buyer comes in contact with when they are visiting an open house and as they say, you can’t get a second chance at a first impression!
8.Keep Your Tech Smart
‘High-tech’ home features often have very bad returns on investment because of how quickly technology evolves and changes these days. One of the biggest drop-offs in value has been seen in the audio and visual department of home entertainment. A room such as a home theater used to be seen as the lap of luxury. Now it is often seen as just a waste of a room and a place that will require added upkeep for not a lot of output. Beyond that, most forms of home entertainment have gone entirely wireless. If you’re thinking of adding anything that has to do with home entertainment, really look at what is new, what is old, and what you think is bound to be replaced by the next cool gadget.
That being said, some ‘smart’ devices can actually be seen as a real addition. Devices such as upgraded thermostat systems, new security systems, and similar technology can be wise considerations.
In fact, some home-flippers will install a Nest thermostat right off the bat because it really does give the entire home an updated feel.
Another wise thing to consider is a whole-house generator. Not only can they be great if you live in a location prone to power outages, they can also add a lot of value and give a prospective buy one last thing to worry about.