When you are planning upgrades to your home, obviously you want to make a solid investment. But how do you know which ones will be a huge hit and which ones will be a total flop? Some upgrades such as flooring, cabinetry, and appliances are timeless and are always worth the investment. Others, however, are a waste of time and money. When planning your upgrades, most real estate professionals suggest that you focus on projects that have mass market appeal. Targeting your projects around what appeals to future buyers, gives you a better chance of getting most if not all of your money back when you sell your home. Whether you are planning to put your home on the market now or just looking to freshen things up, you should plan your investment wisely. Here are three projects to avoid, and three projects guaranteed to give you the best bang for your buck
3 Projects Worth The Investment
1 – Kitchen Upgrades
You can’t go wrong if you start your updates in the kitchen. Consider upgrading the appliances to newer models with more features. Kitchen cabinets are another option to consider when planning your upgrades. Avoid going overboard with high-end cabinetry. Upgrading to semi-custom cabinets will give your kitchen a designer look without the big price tag. With semi-custom cabinets, you’ll have more finish options and higher quality materials from which to select. You’ll also have the chance to add custom elements that will set your house apart from the rest. Features such as ceiling height cabinets, deeper drawers and pull-out pantries provide that coveted extra storage that many buyers want. Also, make function and usability a priority when making updates to the kitchen. Consider rearranging the layout to make things more accessible. You might also consider opening up the room and tying it into an adjoining family room to give you more entertaining space. And open layout kitchen also allows you to keep an eye on little ones in the family room or be a part of the action while you are cooking.
2 – Energy Efficient Upgrades
With the cost of energy on the rise, take advantage of projects that will save you and a potential buyer money. Tankless water heaters help conserve water and don’t require as much energy as traditional water heaters. They also take up less room which gives you the opportunity to reclaim valuable space once you remove the old water heater. Programmable thermostats are another project that can help you see an immediate return on your investment. With a programmable thermostat, you won’t waste money heating or cooling an empty house. This handy device automatically heats and cools your home when you are there, and turns itself off when you are away. You can even create custom programs to adjust the temperature based on the time of day or day of the week. Most programmable thermostats on the market can connect to smartphones which allow you to control the temperature in your home from anywhere in the world. Though not considered one of the more “sexy” projects, upgrading the insulation in your home will help keep money in your pocket. You won’t need to tear out the drywall for this project either. Simply updating the insulation in your attic and crawlspace to insulation with a higher R-value will give you instant savings on your energy bill.
3 – Paint
As one of the quickest and least expensive upgrades, paint can make a dull and dated room feel like new again. Try to avoid bright, bold colors, and custom finishes. Many buyers won’t be able to see past it and may even consider it a hassle to paint over it. Instead, stick with neutral colors that give you and a future buyer a wider variety of design options. Colors such as off-white, light gray, and earth tones work well in any room. If you are painting a small space or a room without a lot of natural light, go for lighter colors that make the area feel brighter and more open. For larger rooms, in particular, rooms with high ceilings, choose darker colors that make the room feel cozy and inviting. Also, resist the temptation to paint each room a different color. Stick with a color scheme that makes the house feel cohesive. You can add variety by using different shades of the same color in each room.
3 Projects To Avoid
1 – Custom Room Conversions
Bedroom conversions may give you a new office or a workout room, but they take away from usable living space. Removing a bedroom can make a buyer feel cheated. If you live in a neighborhood where three-bedroom homes are the norm, buyers may feel cheated if you take out that third bedroom. Not only that, they may not appreciate or feel the need for your custom conversion, especially if it requires extra work on their part to convert it back to a bedroom. That’s not to say that you can’t use one of your rooms for another purpose. The point is, however, that you shouldn’t go overboard and tear out walls, install specialty outlets and light fixtures or drywall over a window. When it comes time to sell the house, you should be able to quickly and easily convert it back to a bedroom so that buyers can see the full potential in the room.
2 – Additions
There’s no denying that master suites have gained increased popularity over the years, and builders are incorporating them into the newer homes by default. If your house does not have a master suite, the temptation might be to add one to compete with surrounding homes. Unfortunately, it is a project that will have disappointing results and can put your home at a severe disadvantage when it comes time to sell. Rarely does an addition fit seamlessly with the rest of the house. From the outside, it makes the house appear unbalanced. To a prospective buyer, it comes off as an afterthought rather than a feature of the home that has been there all along. In the end, it takes away from the original charm and character of the house. If a new master suite is what you are after, it is often more cost-effective to use that money towards a new home that has the features you want.
3 – Over The Top Outdoor Living Spaces
Outdoor living spaces are an extension of your home. They offer extra entertaining space and allow you to enjoy the outdoors year round. Be careful, however, with how much money you spend in your effort to create the perfect outdoor oasis. What might seem like an extra amenity, may be a turn off to potential buyers. Hot tubs and pools, for example, require regular maintenance and upkeep that many buyers don’t want. Stick with upgrades that are timeless and useful. A deck or a patio for example still gives you an entertaining outdoor space, but requires little maintenance, and gives your buyers the most options to customize the area to their preferences. Also, stay away from specialty landscape elements such as statues, waterfalls or ponds. They are often too taste specific for most buyers.
Upgrading your home is a wonderful way to freshen things up and add more features. With the right upgrades, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your home and see an immediate return on your investment. Not only that, you may even recoup most if not all of your investment when you sell your home.