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Seven Savvy Improvements for Boosting Your Home Value

Alison Rosenow

When we talk with homeowners about putting their homes on the market, we are often asked for advice on what improvements will best boost their home value.

The most important thing we want homeowners to know is that regular maintenance of your foundation, roofing, windows, and doors must take priority over anything else. Think of it this way – a big sexy remodel of your kitchen is something almost everyone can get excited about. But, if there are visible signs of a leaking roof or a foundation that is in disrepair, that big, sexy kitchen is not so alluring anymore.

Potential buyers do not want to be saddled with major repairs. They want to have confidence that you have maintained your property. The number one priority should always be maintenance. If a buyer feels your home has been neglected, a spa bath or granite countertop will quickly lose its appeal.

This brings up the question of return on investment. Keeping in mind that your returns depend on the values of the homes in your specific market, just exactly what improvements will offer the greatest opportunity for protecting your investment? These are the latest figures, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2015. You can find the complete report at

  1. Steel/Fiberglass Entrance Doors
    This fairly simple and relatively low-cost improvement not only returns nearly every penny back but offers curb appeal to entice potential buyers into your home.
    Payback estimates: Local = 100%, National 101%

  2. New Garage Doors
    The second of the 2 lowest cost improvements, new garage doors also are an important component of curb appeal and are considered an indication of how well you have maintained your property.
    Payback Estimates: Local 114%, National: 88%

  3. Stone Veneer Accents and Decks
    Stone accents and decks run neck and neck in return but both can be an important detail to draw in a buyer.
    Payback Estimates Local: 91%/93%, National 92%/80%

  4. Window Replacement
    Windows are one of the larger investments we make in our homes but are considered a major indicator of how well you have maintained your home and increase your home's energy efficiency. This can be an important factor in the decision making process for new buyers.
    Payback Estimate: Local = 81%, National = 79%

  5. Siding
    Replacing faded and damaged siding on the exterior of your home can bring benefits in terms of energy efficiency and curb appeal.
    Payback Estimates: Local = 79%, National = 81%

  6. Kitchen Remodels
    Kitchen remodels still top the lists. The important thing to keep in mind is the scale of your improvement. Midrange remodels can bring as much as 92% of your money and bath remodels will offer similar paybacks.
    Payback Estimates: Local = 80%, National 79%

  7. Roofing Replacement
    Replacing your roofing may not seem as exciting as a, but we can assure you that if you ignore the basic structural components, buyers will most likely not be interested in walking through your doorway.
    Payback Estimates: Local = 64%, National = 72%

It's important to be smart about your renovations and remodeling. Think traditional when you are looking at a kitchen or bath remodel and stay in that medium-range budget. Don't go overboard, but don't use cheap materials either. If you only have one bathroom, consider a 2nd bath rather than making your only bath super luxurious. In a National Association of Realtors study recently conducted by professors G. Stacy Sirmans and David Macpherson of Florida State University, the sale price of a home increased by over 8% nationally with the addition of a bathroom.

Even with the smartest of improvements, there are many variables, including the quality of materials and your unique local market that can affect your ROI. It's also a good idea to keep in mind how long you plan on staying in your home. If you are planning on selling within the next six months, your priorities may be different than those you would have in a forever home.

We always encourage you to consult with your Realtor if you are looking to make additional investments in your home. Educating yourself on trends and values in your local market will make it much easier to determine how to best boost your home value.

Wednesday August 15th, 2018#home value