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Home Upgrades With The Best Returns

Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives Elite Ltd.

Let's face it - the real estate market is still in trouble. While we wait for things to improve, you may want to consider only those changes or upgrades that will guarantee to pay off later when it's time to sell.

So, which home improvement projects will give you the most bang for your buck? Here are our top 6:

Painting, inside or out, offers the most dramatic results for the least investment. If you plan to hire a professional, you should expect to pay anywhere from $3600 - $6000 for an average interior (2400 sq. ft.) and $5000 or more for the exterior.

A person will make a decision about your home in 8 seconds -- starting with it's curb appeal. Focus on the yard from the curb to the front door. If budget is an issue, spend most of it on perennials that come back year after year.

New windows not only add to curb appeal, they will save you money on your utility bill and make it more energy efficient. Although it can be a big investment, you can be sure to realize a 81% return. Remember: be sure to check with your accountant as you may be eligible for a tax credit.

New fixtures can provide a solid return on your investment (68-78%). It is important to think long-term, however, and not get too trendy. A jacuzzi will never make or break a sale! If a new tub is not in the budget, resurfacing is a great option.

The most important thing to remember when remodeling your kitchen, is to stick to high-quality fixtures (stainless steel and granite). The biggest mistake that most homeowners make is to splurge on fancy appliances and fixtures in smaller homes. You can be sure that you will never get your money back.

If done right, a basement renovation will be the best investment you can make in order to increase the value of your home. It can also reap the greatest return -- anywhere from 50 to 100% depending on the quality of the materials. Before you consider any remodel, however, make sure you start with a dry basement and call in the pros if necessary.

Upgrades to avoid include: boldly colored finishes and materials or loud patterns -- they can be a put-off to many prospective buyers; tennis courts, basketball courts and swimming pools - they take up too much space and not everyone is a sports fan; wall-to-wall carpeting - wood floors in good condition are usually more desirable; home offices - especially if it eliminates a bedroom; concrete patios - those that are utilitarian can be unattractive, are guaranteed to crack and almost impossible to repair.

Bernadette Flaim, and her partner, Susan Corbo are Interior Redesign and Professional Organizing Specialists as well as Accredited Home Staging Professionals. Their Leonia, NJ-based business, Attention2Detail, provides quality interior redesign, professional organizing and real estate staging solutions for homes and businesses throughout the NY metropolitan area.

They can skillfully refresh, refocus and redesign any space, residential or commercial. Whatever the need, the results will be simply amazing! Attention2Detail can dramatically enhance any environment - beautifully reflecting your taste and lifestyle, while meeting all of your design objectives!

April Solomon
Keller Williams Professionals - Swannanoa, NC

I have been showing homes to a buyer lately and the comment I hear the most from her is the kitchen has not been updated.  So after showing her a couple of homes, I mapped out one's to show her that the kitchen was fully updated.

Sep 05, 2009 01:04 AM
Janice Ankrett
Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Well done Jennifer. All good suggestions. I had a client recently that was considering opening up the interior - a major expense. I recommended that he concentrate on the bathrooms and kitchen since he plans to sell soon. Opening up the interior means engineers and steel beams etc. It's ok if you are going to live there for a while and enjoy the effect. By removing walls he would also lose a feature of the home -from living room and family room to a great room.

Sep 05, 2009 01:52 PM
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


I question why homeowners undertake any repairs or renovations at all, if they don't even get their money back. Just about everything comes in at a loss, from an investment perspective.


Sep 08, 2009 02:39 PM