9 Home Renovations That are Worth the Money

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Renovating your home is a tricky proposition. Not only does it require time, money, and sacrifice, but it’s also a major inconvenience.

Although it’ll be a relief when it’s finally over, sometimes homeowners regret having decided to make certain updates in the long run. They enjoy the improvements to their home, but often wonder whether their money might have been better spent in another capacity.

Let’s face it: Some renovations are more worthwhile than others. You don’t want to invest in work that will bring only a small amount of satisfaction and little extra monetary value.

Here are some renovations that tend to be a good bet.

1. Bathroom Updates or Additions

When homebuyers look at a house, the first thing they ask is how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has. Multiple-bathroom homes are especially attractive these days.

An affordable bathroom addition can add serious value to your home. Updates to your existing bathroom can also increase the value. Don’t waste money on top-of-the-line products, but paint, tile, fixtures, cupboard doors, and more can go a long way toward raising the reasonable asking price on your home.

2. Painted Door

For $30, you can easily paint your front door, and add serious visual appeal to your residence. It adds charm and makes the exterior of the structure look nicer.

If the door is old and flimsy, painting it might not be enough to persuade a buyer, though. You might look into replacing it with a steel reinforced door, which will always attract a higher price at closing.

3. Windows

Windows make a huge difference as well. They not only trap conditioned air inside, but they keep bugs, dust, and allergens outside where they belong.

The difference in the comfort of a home is palpable, so it’s something buyers look for. Window installations can be expensive, so think about replacing a few windows at a time instead of all of them at once.

Start with the main living areas and bedrooms, where buyers are most likely to notice them.

4. Fiber-Cement Siding

It’s not worth it to replace siding that’s in good condition, but if yours is old and in need of replacement, fiber-cement siding is a great move.

It has the look of wood but the durability of brick. The return on investment for fiber-cement siding is 90 percent of the purchase price, so you’ll see high returns when you’re ready to sell your home.

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is another one of the first things most homebuyers look at. Modern kitchens with great space planning and stainless steel appliances tend to recoup more value than outdated spaces.

However, a major kitchen remodel can cost tens of thousands of dollars and not recoup the full value. Your taste might be different than what homebuyers might prefer, and you risk getting only half the value back when you sell.

A minor kitchen remodel, on the other hand, can be a safer investment. Resurfacing cabinets, buying new appliances, giving your countertops a facelift, and re-flooring the space can make buyers drool when they walk in.

6. Refinished Attic

Attics were once used as lofty storage spaces, perfect for tubs of photographs and old clothing, but they weren’t made for living. Now, more homeowners are insulating their attic and turning it into a living space.

Whether your attic is converted into a bedroom, family room, or playroom for the kids, when it’s a living space, it adds additional value to your residence for a relatively small cost.

7. Garage Door Replacement

If your garage door is outdated, not automated, or plain, a brand new garage door can give your home’s exterior a much-needed facelift. Most updated garage doors will recoup almost 100 percent of their value upon resale.

If you can’t afford to replace the garage door, repaint it. For the cost of a can of paint, you’ll have an effective curb-appeal enhancer that buyers will covet.

8. Basement Remodel

In many homes, basements hold potential to become living spaces you can maximize for resale. But be aware that this isn’t a cheap remodel.

The average cost of creating a basement entertaining space with a bathroom is about $62K. You’ll get about 80 percent of that price back, but many homeowners feel this is only worthwhile if they get plenty of use out of the new basement first.

9. Egress Windows

If you have a finished basement that lacks egress windows, that’s another opportunity to increase the value of your house. You can’t legally claim additional living space (especially bedrooms) in the basement without egress windows.

This is an affordable update that makes your downstairs living areas much more appealing and safe! Buyers who tour your basement will be impressed by the additional lighting and exit route(s).

Don’t make the mistake of renovating something you’ll regret later. The list above includes safe bets if you want to make updates before you place your home on the market.


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David Jackson, MBA

Financial lending analyst
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