Before embarking on any kind of home renovations, it pays to know what will add the most value to your home. Although there are many surveys and rating systems available, you need to take some of them with the grain of salt as they may not be as impartial as you think. And let's face it, it is very hard to quantify the intangible value of home owners' enjoyment from living in a newly renovated and often more energy efficient and healthier home.
According to Phil Spencer, the author of the book Adding Value to Your Home, It is more practical to evaluate the value of renovations from a home re-sale perspective. It can be reassuring to know that certain home renovations will attract more potential buyers when you decide to sell. Here are some key home improvements that will add value to your house by improving its re-sale value:
1. Home Additions and Extensions
An addition adds more space and that brings the biggest re-sale return and adding a second story, or extending a bungalow is worth the investment. The home addition itself may be daunting, but its impact is huge. Bedrooms, living room and your kitchen are most likely the best candidates for a home addition. This is because these areas are commonly used at all times. However, the home additions should be well designed and integrated with the existing structures. It should not be an obvious home addition rather it should look as if it was part of the original design.
2. Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations
Kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular renovations and tend to add a good value to your property. A well designed kitchen can dramatically increase the functionality of the kitchen and rejuvenate your home improving re-sale value if you want to attract prospective buyers.
3. House Exterior Improvement
The front of the house needs to look smart and the first impression counts. Improving the look of your property always provides added value because how you present your home from the outside forms the first and lasting impression with potential buyers. Some of the exterior renovations project that will bring the highest re-sale value is siding (stucco), window replacement, entrance door, professional landscaping, fence, patio or a deck.
4. Basement Remodel
A basement development or renovation is also a sensible use of your dollars. The money spent to convert it are easily recouped in resale value. Buyers are looking for added family space and home theaters, which are easily accommodated in remodeled basements.
5. Going Green
Eco home improvements will boost your green credentials and cut down on your energy bills at the same time and create a healthier living environment. As the cost of energy increases and people are more conscious of resource saving, incorporating energy saving devices can pay off on several levels. However the benefits from energy savings will occur over a longer-term.
When choosing the green materials for renovating your house, you would find lots of natural materials that are not only safe for the environment but also more durable and easier to maintain, as compared to the traditional renovation materials. Apart from employing green home renovation materials and products, there are numerous other ways in which you can make your house environmentally sound. For example, for brightening up your house, you can install skylights that use the natural sunlight, rather than the traditional lighting which consumes a lot of energy.
Other green renovation ideas could include considerations such as passive solar principles, the reuse and salvaging of building materials, opportunities for natural drainage, use of eco friendly materials in renovations, and the conscientious use of natural resources.
There are many improvements that enhance the property for the owners but serve as a liability when it comes time to sell. Improvements like pools, waterfalls, spas, hot tubs and sculptures—can be too personal for some buyers' tastes. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself how long you plan to stay in your home. If the answer is 10 years, make the improvements that benefit your family. If you intend to stay 5 years or less, don't add high-end items like pools and spas.
Phil Spenser, Adding Value to Your Home, Phil Spenser and Cheryl Markosky 2010