Clients often ask me which home renovations, remodels and improvements will add the most value to their home when it comes time to sell. More accurately, the question is: which projects will provide the best return on investment (ROI). I have opinions, of course. But now I have some facts to back those opinions up.
In the January issue of Realtor magazine, an article entitled "Small Projects, Big Bang" summarizes the results of the Remodeling Cost vs Value Report 2009-10. The report outlined a number of different home improvement projects, costed them out in different metropolitan areas around the US and calibrated a percentage ROI on each one. There's a lot of detailed information in the Remodeling Cost vs Value Report 2009-10 article (and helpful hints on smaller projects) but here's my summary for the Phoenix market:
Curb appeal has always been important. A little front yard landscaping can go a long way to making a good first impression on buyers. However, you might also want to give your front door a good look. Replacing the front door with a mid-range product (approximately $1200) had the best ROI of all the improvements at 128%.
Several of the most worthwhile improvements are, not surprisingly, centered on the kitchen:
· add a breakfast bar (this can be as simple as cutting an opening in a wall, adding a bar and a couple of stools)
· upgrade the kitchen counter to granite tile (12" tile is a very affordable option compared with granite slab)
· cabinet fronts (check into refacing or replacing doors or perhaps just the hardware)
· tidy and organize kitchen cabinets (Yes, buyers open them so adding a roll-out tray or lazy susan can create the illusion of more space.)
• retile the backsplash to freshen or brighten or just clean up the look of your kitchen
Updating light fixtures is also a very cost-effective way to add value. Installing recessed canned lights on a dimmer switch can make any room more interesting. Pendant lights over a kitchen island are also appealing.
Look into replacing your single pane windows with energy-efficient dual or even triple pane windows. The energy savings alone make this a great investment while you are living in your home, but buyers also seem to really value this upgrade.
If you need any more information on remodeling or renovations, I keep a list of reliable vendors who could estimate your job for you. And I'm always happy to talk to you about plans for your home with a view to selling at a later date. But remember, don't make a change solely for the sake of resale. This project needs to be something that you and your family will enjoy for the length of time you live in your home.