Every homeowner wants to update and improve their home. But some
renovations and improvements can make a big difference in the
potential resale price of a home while others don't. Here are some
expert tips on the improvements you should make versus the ones you
Let's be honest, everyone wants their own bedroom. But what
makes more sense, renovate an existing bedroom or add a new
Add a new master bedroom suite.
While this project might make waking up every morning a little
bit easier and more enjoyable, it doesn't make as much sense from
an investment standpoint.
According to Remodeling magazine's
Cost Vs. Value Report 2011-12
(© 2011 Hanley Wood, LLC.), the average master suite addition cost
over $106,000, but only adds $62,874 to the resale value of the
home. That puts it at the bottom of
list for return on investment along with a sunroom addition and a
remodel. All of these projects will add to your home's resale
value, just not enough to offset much more than half of their high
Turn an attic into an extra bedroom.
Go green when renovating: Choose deconstruction
Remodeling's report estimates that an attic bedroom will set you
back just over $50,000 on average. However, this additional
sleeping space can add over $36,000 to your home's resale price,
allowing you to recoup 72.5 percent of the cost -- a far better
return on your investment
If you're planning on selling your home, your property's
exterior is a potential buyer's first impression. That said, some
curb-appeal improvements are more cost-effective than others.
Overpay for a front door.
You can spend more than $8,000 on fiberglass doors that can make
your entranceway look like a castle gate. But in tough economic
times, homeowners have a more cost-effective option, says Steve
Melman, director of economic services at the National Association
of Home Builders.
(Photo at right courtesy of Pella® Windows and Doors.)
Install a steel replacement door.
One of the most effective returns on your investment is to
install a secure, attractive front door. Your front door, like your
landscaping and paint job, is what potential homebuyers notice
first from the curb. Melman says some potential buyers may bypass
your home entirely based on the look and condition of your front
According to Remodeling's report, a new steel entry door can
cost upwards of $1,200, but will add an average of $900 to the
resale value of your home. A fiberglass replacement door costs an
average of $3,536, while recouping only 56.3 percent of the cost.
New garage doors are another solid investment, Melman says,
recouping close to 75 percent of their cost.
Who doesn't want a new kitchen? But when it comes time to
upgrade, is it best to go all out or simply make a few cosmetic
Expect a big return from a new kitchen.
Full-scale kitchen renovations cost a lot, but typically add
less than two thirds of that cost to a home's resale price, says
Deb Kearse, vice president for Kohl Building Products in Reading,
Concentrate your efforts on highly-visible
A nice light fixture can make a big difference on how your home
appears to prospective buyers, says Michael Labout, branch broker
for ERA Shields Real Estate, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"Granite countertops are becoming the standard," says Labout.
The cost of granite is now about a third of what it was just a few
years ago. Stainless-steel appliances are favored over all other
colors, he says. "You could have the best black Bosch dishwasher in
the world -- for most buyers the perceived value will be higher
with a stainless steel Whirlpool," says Labout.
New windows might not be the most glamorous improvement you'll
make to your home, but they just might be the most practical.
Replace old windows with cheaper, inefficient
If there are new homes for sale in your area, chances are
potential homebuyers have had to listen to a real estate agent's
spiel on the new home's
features. That said, don't be surprised if a potential buyer grills
you about the insulating value (otherwise known as the "R-Value")
of the new windows you just installed.
(Photo at right, Andersen EcoExcel 400 Series Double Hung
Window, courtesy of © Andersen Corporation.)
Chose energy efficient windows.
If you're planning to replace your windows anyway, consider
paying a little extra for energy-efficient windows. The windows
cost a little more, but they'll save you on energy costs and can
pay for themselves in as little as four years.
Go big when going small
If you can't afford a large-scale improvement project, you can
still add value to your home by simply taking basic home
improvements one step further.
So, if it's time to replace the siding on your home, consider
upgrading from vinyl siding to durable cement fiber board or adding
a layer of continuous insulation under the siding. If it's time to
replace plumbing fixtures, consider water-saving faucets that can
help cut your water bill. These upgrades add to the resale value of
your home while saving you some money on your utility bills in the