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Renovations That Do and Don’t Increase Your Home Value

You’re thinking of renovating your home. The question that HGTV host Mike Holmes, a contractor, would ask is, “Why?” “Is it to improve your home so you can enjoy living in it, to save money by adding energy efficient windows or insulation, or is it to make money?” Holmes asks in his column, Holmes Inspection.

Once you’re clear about your reasons for considering renovations, you can assess the wisdom of various changes and upgrades. The average home renovation costs about $15,000, so you want to be comfortable about how you’re spending your money.

The renovation that will provide you with the biggest payday is the separate suite. Whether you finish your basement and turn it into an apartment or create one on another floor of the house, a secondary suite will provide regular income to offset your mortgage payments or pay for that winter getaway to a tropical beach.

Renovations With Reward

An income-producing suite isn’t a renovation that you can personally enjoy, however. The usable renovation that offers the most monetary return when you sell your home is the kitchen. Homebuyers assess kitchens and bathrooms first when they are considering a purchase, and kitchens today have become gathering places. Open plan layouts place the kitchen at the center of activity. Therefore, a modern kitchen adds to the value of your home.

How Much Does it Cost to Renovate a Kitchen

Remodeling magazine cautions, however that if you’re remodeling with an eye toward resale value, it might be more practical to give your kitchen a facelift, rather than a wholesale renovation. Their annual analysis of cost versus value indicates that you’ll get a better return from the former, which includes painting, new surfaces and up-to-date appliances.

“If you take $20,000 and spend it judiciously on a kitchen, you can make it look a million times better,” Remodeling senior editor Jim Cory told “The design and product selection are key.”

Bathroom Renovation Ideas

Bathroom Renovation Ideas

Bathrooms are second on the list of renovations that provide a return upon resale. Although you shouldn’t compromise bedroom space to add a bathroom, you may be able to find some dead space that will accommodate a three-piece bathroom. Perhaps there is enough room under the stairs, or maybe there is a closet that isn’t necessary.

If you can add a bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower to your home, it should increase your sale price. A tip to remember: using glass walls for your shower gives the illusion of more space.

Impractical Upgrades

If adding resale value to your property is uppermost in your mind as you consider renovations, there are a number of upgrades and changes you should cross off your list. A swimming pool tops the list of sinkholes for your money. Unless you are installing it because you wish to enjoy it, a swimming pool, which costs anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000 to install, is an impractical addition to your property, one whose value you usually won’t recoup. In fact, it may turn potential buyers away.

Impractical Upgrades-Swimming-Pool

Swimming pools can be expensive to maintain and buyers may view them as dangerous. If there are children in the family, supervision, and safety are always issues, and lawsuits loom large in some people’s minds. Sometimes, buyers offer for homes on the condition that an above-ground pool be removed or an in-ground pool be filled in.

Extensive landscaping may also warn off potential buyers. As lovely as your property may look with all the horticultural niceties, not everyone wants to devote their free time to the upkeep of groomed walkways or myriad beds of flowers. They may view it as a burden or an expense, if a gardener is required to keep it looking fresh.

Once upon a time, people dreamed of having wall-to-wall carpeting in their homes, but today, it’s an investment that generally won’t pay for itself. People are much more conscious now of the chemicals used in processing carpeting and the allergens that it may trap. Conversely, installing hardwood floors in your home is a desirable upgrade; these floors can add to the value of your home, especially if they are original, rather than a new material.

Consider Bones, Not Cosmetics

Mike Holmes, the contractor, cautions anyone doing renovations to consider practical upgrades along with the income-producing changes. Anyone buying a home will expect the furnace, air-conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems to be in good working order, so it’s important to ensure that any problems are addressed. Consider these investments as part of the home’s regular maintenance.

“Make the house better than it was when you bought it,” Holmes says. “Then once you’ve done that, make it look good.”


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