Which home improvements are worth it now?
The quick answer: none will return 100% on your investment. None.
So if you are considering remodeling your house, realize you will not get all the remodeling money back when you sell your house. Still, some improvements pay off better than others.
Many times a realtor will encourage you to update your kitchen or bathroom to help sell a house. Perhaps you’ve heard, “Kitchens and bathrooms sell a house.” In today’s market you will recoup about 72% of a modest $20,000 kitchen remodel. So you ‘d lose 28% even if the house sells faster.
Remember realtors want a higher selling price because they get a straight percentage of the selling price. They don’t care if you recoup your investment in a remodel project. They just want more money in their own pocket.
Buyers Want a Low-Maintenance Home in Move-In Condition
Don’t assume you have to add granite countertops to sell. Regular laminate countertops are increasingly popular for ease of care. The trend of granite countertops and other high end finishes in kitchens and bathrooms is slipping. Also if you remodel that kitchen too far ahead of when you expect to sell, the kitchen could be out-of-date by then.
A swimming pool or high maintenance landscaping is considered a negative by many buyers. Who has the time for keeping up elaborate landscaping? Keep it simple and neat to appeal to buyers. Most buyers want a low maintenance house that is in move-in condition. Click here for low maintenance landscaping ideas.
Another trend: fewer people want a fireplace. So you don’t need to add one if you don’t already have one. They are added expense and maintenance that many people don’t want. Low maintenance seems to be a recurring theme.
Hardwood Floors Are In Demand
If you need to replace flooring anyway, consider putting in a hardwood floor. Wooden floors are more popular, according to research, than vinyl and even ceramic floors. I’m assuming that’s because people like how long a wood floor lasts. It’s real value in that you don’t have to replace it. Wood floors in some of the main areas of a house are going to help sell it. You won’t get back the full cost of installing a wood floor, but any other kind of floor will give back very little of its cost. In fact prospective buyers might think of other kinds of flooring as something they’ll have to replace. For bedrooms it’s cost-effective to put in inexpensive neutral carpeting right before you want to sell.
Most likely hardwood floors will not lose popularity for a long while, so it’s a remodel that should still be in style whenever you sell. Click here for a quick list of types of flooring and their costs per square foot. It shows installation of a hardwood floor as being a difficult DIY project. My husband put in 2 gorgeous tongue-and-groove oak floors with no problems. If you want an easier project, you could install a bamboo wood floor and be green as a plus.
Low-Cost Home Improvements that Pay-Off
There are some things you can do to help your house sell faster and they don’t cost too much. These are basics like painting walls to look clean, fresh, and neutral. Fixing anything like dry rot on the deck or broken hinges, etc. gives the impression that the house has been well-maintained. That helps sell a house more quickly.
Click here for an article at Zillow on how much you can expect to get as return-on-investment before you make costly renovations that could even lower the value of your house.
I’m adding my favorite category of home improvement: energy efficiency. Anything you can do to get your utility costs down can help sell your house. Be sure to keep those utility bills to show to prospective buyers. And the benefits come to you no matter if you sell your house or not!