Renovations: The Dos and Don't's For Adding Value To Your Home

Whether you plan to sell your home soon or just someday, you’ve likely considered renovations that will add to its value. It’s a bonus, of course, if those renovations improve your own experience of your property in the meantime. But before you install granite countertops in your kitchen or add a home movie studio, consider some “Do’s and Don’t’s” advice from home value experts.

Good Housekeeping has posted a video online that outlines some of the concepts behind value-driven home renovations. According to the video, when it comes to home sales it’s often necessary to spend money in order to make money, and the following basic premises and advice will help you make smart renovations:

  • Be aware of what your neighbors are doing. If your neighborhood includes a lot of upscale homes, your home will do best if you “keep up with the Joneses.” If you know that most of the homes include high-end kitchens and bathrooms, you’ll do best if you can renovate to a similar level. This works both ways, however: if the homes on your street are older, moderately priced and don’t include the latest innovations, you could be wasting your money if you upgrade too much. Buyers might not be willing to spend more than the average cost of a home in your neighborhood.
  • Talk to a realtor. It’s not always possible to know what the interiors of neighboring homes are like, or what the expectations of buyers in your area might be. A realtor will likely have the answers to these questions and will be able to offer you solid advice on renovations.
  • Focus on the outdoor appearance of your home. Sometimes homeowners make the mistake of installing a beautiful new kitchen or bathroom and fixing up the interior of their home without paying much attention to the exterior. First impressions are important to buyers. It could be a worthwhile investment to improve the landscaping around your home, pave old driveways, or install updated siding. Exterior decks are also a draw; if you have one that needs to be repaired or re-stained, it might be a good idea to fix it up.
  • Make a plan and stick to it. After considering the other homes in your neighborhood and perhaps consulting a realtor, make a renovation plan that fits your budget and then stick to it. Often consultations with contractors, landscape companies, or other vendors can lead to the temptation to do more than you planned for. Remember that the point of your renovations is to add value to your home, and return on your investment will be diminished if you spend too much money in the process.

The Learning Channel offers some additional suggestions in an article titled “Top 10 Ways to Add Value To Your Home.” According to the article, the following summarized changes might be worth your investment:

  • Add more space and light by opening up the floor plan, if possible, widening doorways or even adding rooms.
  • Create a home office out of an extra room, because more buyers might be working from home in the current economy.
  • Pave a driveway or walkway that is in need of repair to boost that ever-important first impression.
  • Add a sunroom to appeal to buyers who might be hopping on the current bandwagon of enjoying “outdoor living” spaces.
  • If you don’t have an always-desirable deck, add one.
  • Paint! One of the least expensive ways to boost a buyer’s first impression is to apply new coats of paint to interior rooms.
  • Consider hiring a landscape designer to help you improve the landscaping around your home.
  • Remodel your basement. If you don’t want to add an extra room, transform an unused basement into a family room, recreation room, or “man cave.”
  • Update your bathrooms, or even add one. If they are in line with your neighborhood and your budget, updated bathrooms can be a huge draw for buyers.
  • Update your kitchen. The kitchen is known as the heart of the home, and if potential buyers see a beautifully designed cooking and eating space, their interest is likely to be piqued (but again, remember to keep renovations in line with your home and your neighborhood).

At COIT, we’d like to offer one more piece of advice when it comes to preparing your home for a sale: clean! Call 1-800-FOR-COIT and schedule a carpet cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, and a drapery/blind cleaning. Buyers will be impressed by the look of a clean, fresh home – and so will you!