Americans spent $326.1 billion dollars on home remodels during the first 10 months of last year, according to the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report. Yes, that’s a lot of sawdust and new tile, but why should you care?
Because you’re selling your home or considering renovations and need the best bang for your home improvement bucks. You see, not all upgrades are created equal. Depending on where you live in the country, and the current condition of your house, strategically spent remodel money can recoup beaucoup bucks when it comes to time to sell.
Basics are a Must
Fancy additions mean nothing if there are holes in your roof. Handle basics, says HGTV, before adding in luxuries. Prospective homeowners don’t want to mess with leaking basements or crumbling foundation. First things first, even if it’s not as sexy.
Curb appeal is real. Take down that janky ‘70s siding and replace it with an updated look to pack a powerful resale punch. On the West Coast, manufactured stone veneer siding recouped 118.2 percent of the home improvement cost and was the top hit after insulating the attic.
Add a Bathroom
An additional bathroom can up the stakes if you have an older home with only one commode. Before you upgrade to create your dream bathroom, consider if what you really need is a second powder room in your pad.
Replace the Garage Door
Talking about curb appeal, a new garage door looks sharp and creates a sense of security. In the South Atlantic region, this improvement ranked right up there at a 91.3 percent recoup of costs, while nationally it brought back 91.5 percent of an investment.
Insulate the Attic
Nationwide, adding fiberglass insulation into empty attic space, or replacing old insulation is a surefire winner. Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report (which will surely be your new best friend), shows putting in insulation is the number one return on investment for a home improvement at 116.9 percent of the cost recouped.
Put in a Steel Door
Your family will be safer while you still live in the home, and potential buyers will love knowing it’s there. Realty Times touts putting in a steel door as the second best investment nation-wide after attic insulation—returning 91.1 percent of the total project cost. Also, a new door looks pretty.
Pro Tip: More expensive repairs ≠ more resale value. Often the smaller projects (<$5,000) reap greater cost to benefit ratios when putting your house on the market.
Notice this doesn’t say complete renovation! Making cosmetic updates to the kitchen keeps your costs low while giving it a more polished look and improved functionality. House Logic shares that refacing—not replacing—cabinets has a better ROI, and kitchen upgrades don’t have to include the very top of the line appliances to be worthwhile. Nation-wide, for minor kitchen remodels, the Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report estimates that $20,122 of work will recoup $16,716—an 83.1 percent return. Maybe taking a small hit, but can that number really capture your day-to-day increased happiness in a kickbutt kitchen?
Strategic Bathroom Upgrade
Be a savvy remodeler when you’re thinking about a sale down the line. You want a luxurious sunken bath, but upgraded showers have more resale value. Architect Steve Straughan for HGTV reminds clients that tubs takes up more square footage, in addition to the fact that many people are too busy for baths.
Pro Tip: Keep kitchen and bathroom makeovers classic, unless you’re planning to stay long-term. Forgo the crazy custom tile and instead let your personality shine by way of unique decor until it’s time to move.
On average, the best money to project ratio for any type of home addition is a wood porch or deck. HGTV reports that every 1,000 square feet added to the house increases value by 30 percent. Get clever and expand for less cost. Maybe the percentage won’t increase as much, but at $8 to $35 per square foot for outdoor space vs. $150+ per square foot for interior additions, it’s certainly tempting. Besides, it only makes more sense to add a rocking deck with the 2016 Report that wood porch additions give the greatest return on investment at 75 percent.
If you’re not moving for a few years, put in changes that you’ll love. The quality of life you may receive from adding a special tile to the kitchen or bath may not give a direct hit back in massive financial terms, but your personal joy at being home will be priceless.