Strategic Remodeling

imageStrategic home improvement choices can boost curb appeal and increase the value of your home. Navigating home improvement projects to choose the ones that will give you the biggest return when the time comes to sell your home can be overwhelming. Ever wonder how to make the most cost-effective improvements?

Cost vs. Value Report
Remodeling magazine recently surveyed appraisers, sales agents and brokers in order to determine which home improvement projects have the greatest return. Their 2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report was published in January 2011 and details the approximate construction costs that go into remodeling projects along with the resale values of the projects. This report found that the most cost-effective home improvements are exterior changes that aim to enhance curb appeal, as well as updates or replacements to an existing home feature. The overall appearance of a home is the first impression that potential buyers receive so it is logical that improvements to enhance curb appeal—and get more potential buyers to come inside—have the greatest return. Garage door replacement, siding replacement, the addition of a wood deck and window replacement are identified by the report as the strategic improvements to make when seeking to increase your home’s value.

Exterior Improvements to Enhance Curb Appeal
When it comes to undertaking these remodeling projects and choosing the level of detail you will pursue for each improvement, it is woth taking the following into account. For each improvement, there are many degrees of detail and quality. Many exterior home improvements are easy and low cost, and can still bring about a great impact. It is important that you are not choosing the cheapest alternative in cases where that might end up creating problems down the road when you try to sell your home. In some cases, though, it is fine and even smart to take a few calculated shortcuts or to opt for a more basic variation instead of a trendy luxury.

Consider garage door replacement, an improvement that the Cost vs. Value Report ranks as one with the biggest payoff. The new replacement door you choose should complement both your home and the homes in your neighborhood. If your home is a mid-range home for the neighborhood and you install an expensive, high-end garage door, you will be spending unnecessary money. A door that does not match the rest of your home may be noticeably odd and will detract from your home’s value. Instead, choose a standard garage door that can be purchased and installed for a little over $1,000. By taking the more basic approach to remodeling you will end up saving money on the project’s cost and still end up with a new garage door that enhances the exterior of your house.

Basic Kitchen Improvements
Exterior improvements will boost your curb appeal, but when it comes to interior projects that add value, kitchen renovation tops the list. The kitchen is an important room in every house and is a major selling point for potential buyers.

Making sure that your kitchen is up to date and attractive will often bring a good return on your investment. Renovating your kitchen doesn’t require a full overhaul because the improvements that make the biggest impact are simple and typically not expensive. The key upgrades to make are replacing cabinet fronts and adding new hardware, replacing appliances with energy efficient models, and, depending on the state of your walls and floors, repainting walls and installing new tile flooring.

Consider Your Average Buyer
Tailor your home improvements to both your preferences and the desires and expectations of potential buyers in your neighborhood. If you know that you won’t be putting your house up for sale in the near future, the improvements you make should be ones that you will be able to enjoy, but will still help increase the value when you decide to sell. Be careful with adding features and luxuries you want, versus the actual amenities potential buyers will want. Design trends and amenities you like could end up being a turn off for the buyer and might cost you the sale in the future. Always remember to consider whether the average buyer would see the additions and improvements you are making to be worthwhile or you may end up caught with costly renovations that don’t pay off.

Don’t Forget Factors That You Cannot Control
Choosing the right home improvements that will lead to the greatest recovered cost is a decision you can make with some planning and research, but you also must consider the factors you can’t control and might affect your return at resale. There are plenty of these to be aware of, including the direction of the national and local housing markets, the value of other homes in your neighborhood, and the time you plan to sell your home. The more time that passes between the renovation and the sale of your home, the more the importance and value of the improvements will decrease.
Remember, when choosing home upgrades with the goal of recovering the greatest cost at resale, planning and smart choices make a significant difference. You don’t need to go overboard with improvements; it is the cost-effective and calculated changes that make an impact and will pay off when you put your home up for sale.