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What Renovations Add Value To My Home?


In order to increase your home’s value before selling, you may consider renovating. The right renovations can help you sell your home for a higher price, so you can put that money towards a new home. However, not all renovations will actually get you the payout you’re hoping for. Before you start tearing down walls, it is important to evaluate whether the renovations will provide you with an efficient return on investment. This means that the money spent on the renovation itself must not outweigh the perceived value added to the home. So, which renovations are actually going to get you your money’s worth? Let’s look at what renovations do and don’t add value to your home. 


The Big 5

The five renovations listed below are a great place to start if you are looking for a high return-on-investment. 

  1. Fresh coat of paint- A fresh coat of paint is the easiest and most affordable way to spruce up a room. This will make the room look cleaner and brighter, and is one less thing for the buyer to worry about. Choose white, off-whites, light browns, or light greys in order to appeal to most buyers and keep the room looking bright. 

  2. Floors- If your floors look old and worn-out, this may be the perfect renovation for you. It is recommended to put down hardwood floors in the kitchen/living room and put down carpet in the bedrooms. Try not to mix and match too many types of flooring- it is better to have consistency throughout the home. 

  3. Master bath- How does your master bathroom look? Updating a bathroom is a relatively large project, but if done correctly, can be a great investment. Large mirrors, effective lighting, and updated fixtures are a great starting point. 

  4. Kitchen- While it is a huge project, a kitchen renovation has the potential to transform your home- nobody wants a cramped and outdated kitchen. Consider adding an island for extra counter space/storage, as this is typically a huge selling point for the buyers.

  5. Curbside appeal- Don’t forget about the outside of your home! Curbside appeal can be a very simple yet effective job. The front of the house is the first thing your buyers see and a great way to make a strong first impression.

If these areas of your home are already looking great, or you have more room in your budget, you may decide to take on larger or more unique projects. These projects should either improve the function, flow, or appearance of your home.


Improve Function


Modern Faucet


A low-risk renovation is one that adds function to the home. If there is something broken, such as plumbing, electricity, etc. it is best to get that fixed so that it doesn’t scare away potential buyers. However, if you are not a professional, you will need to hire someone to take care of these jobs. Next, look around the house- is there anything about the house that is missing or simply doesn’t make sense? Maybe there are many bedrooms but only one bathroom- adding a bathroom could be a profitable investment. An unfinished basement is another project that would improve function by creating more livable space. If the renovation seems necessary, then it is a relatively safe bet. 


Improve Flow


Modern Kitchen


Another way to get your money’s worth through renovation is to improve the flow of the house. Most people these days prefer a somewhat open concept layout. If there are many walls everywhere making the space look small, consider opening up the space. Whatever you do, make sure that the layout is practical and has a natural flow. You may hear real estate agents say something like, “and the kitchen flows right into the living room.” They say this because it is a quality that many home buyers are looking for. They want their living space and kitchen to feel connected in some way. This makes it easier to watch kids, or simply connect with the family while cooking. While there are people who prefer separated rooms, open concept is especially popular at the moment- and anyone can appreciate a practical layout. However, there is always risk when taking down walls or messing with the foundation of the home. Therefore, it is important to have a contingency budget in case you find any unfortunate surprises. 


Improve Appearance


Installing New Doors


Lastly, you can choose to tackle a renovation based on improving the appearance of your home. We have already discussed adding a fresh coat of paint, redoing floors, and updating curbside appeal, but there are many other ways to spruce up your home. Another way to improve appearance is by adding windows, or even updating lighting fixtures, to help make the space look brighter, happier, and larger. Make sure that if you choose to update appearance that you do not spend too much money, as looks are subjective. What you like may not be what your buyers like. Therefore, it is recommended to only renovate for appearance if something is especially hard on the eyes and scaring off buyers. 


Don’t Start High Risk Projects


Swimming Pool


Now that we have gone over some good potential renovations, let’s discuss what not to do. Renovations can be risky, so you may want to avoid huge projects that will cost a ton of money. For example, if you want to add an additional room, make sure you consult with an expert to see how much this would add to the value of the home. After crunching numbers, you may realize that the addition will not be worth it in the end. An example of a project to avoid would be adding a swimming pool. Not only is this a huge, expensive project, but it is also not a necessity to the home. In fact, many people avoid houses with pools because of safety concerns or maintenance costs. It is much more practical to stick to renovations that improve the function of the home.


Don’t Make Risky Design Decisions 


Bright Living Room


As previously mentioned, not everyone has the same style. Be careful when renovating so that you do not spend too much money on appearance because this is something that the buyers may end up wanting to change anyway. If you do need to spruce up the appearance, choose relatively minimalistic and neutral design choices. While you may love funky designs and bold choices, it is not the best decision for the purpose of improving the value of your home. 


Overall, make sure that your renovations are necessary and perform a cost-analysis to determine your return on investment. Keep your buyers in mind when making appearance decisions, rather than choosing what you think looks good. This may go against your natural instincts, but it will be what’s best to sell your home for a great price! Renovations always come with risk, so plan ahead with a contingency budget in case anything goes wrong. It is also a great idea to speak with a professional to see what they suggest for your particular home. Real estate agents and interior designers are great resources for making these decisions. Once you have done your research and made your decision- it’s time to renovate! 


Also checkout: Should I Buy That Fixer-Upper?


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  1. Kevin Lofstrom on

    A great article. The points were right on. One added touch would be to make sure that if you are doing the renovation yourself and feel better with a professional contractor checking the work, or, hiring a professional; contractor to do the work MAKE sure the contractor is qualified, insured (General Liability and Worker's Compensation)and has references, both for financial (supplier accounts) and past clients. Contractors from your Home Builders Association are usually the best way to go, check your local Association. Do the homework, your piece of mind and your home deserve it. Best of luck and enjoy.
    • Marketing Department on

      Absolutely- this is a great note! Thank you for sharing!