Renovations That Help Pay for Themselves
Whether you’re planning to put your property on the market this year or are thinking about the financial future, there are some home improvements that represent a better buy than others. Here are a few ideas for homeowners who want to get a robust return on their renovation dollars down the road.
Replace the door: Year after year, replacing the entry door with a steel model ranks near the top of the list when it comes to home improvement projects that offer the most substantial return on investment. This year, it offered a 91.3 percent investment on a national average project cost of $1,471, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, trailing only garage door replacement and the addition of manufactured stone veneer in the percentage of project costs it returned in resale value.
Opt for energy-efficient lighting: LED lighting is a strong selling point for people who put energy efficiency on their purchasing priority list. To take advantage of this movement, you could replace indoor and outdoor fixtures with LED options or, in some cases, simply replace existing bulbs with their LED equivalents. LED bulbs are affordable and offer a much longer lifespan than their conventional cousins, so you’ll also save some money and maintenance if you don’t plan to sell your home right away.
Make it pop with paint: Fresh paint makes everything look better and also protects surfaces from wear and tear. If you are painting in preparation of a sale and are short on time or money, focus on repainting high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom, and touch up areas that show obvious scuffs and scratches. Invest in high-quality paints in neutral colors to give your property the best projection and most appeal to the widest possible variety of buyers, advises Consumer Reports.
Stress-free structural systems: New shingles and systems aren’t the sexiest upgrades, but they can pay off when you put your property on the market. A fresh roof, a new heating and cooling system, and recently-updated plumbing and electrical systems are big selling points for buyers who likely devoted most of their savings to a down payment. Their new homeowner budget might not have much room for major repair costs early on, so be sure to highlight any recent upgrades to these basics.
Smart technology: While you’re at it, research smart home technology and install products that will give you the biggest rate of return. For instance, you can purchase a programmable thermostat for a few hundred dollars, and many utility companies offer rebates to help cover part of the cost.
Savvy shopping: Making these upgrades before breakdowns or other unforeseen events turn them into emergencies has added advantages. You can enjoy the savings from higher-efficiency systems while you are still in the home and take your time researching the best and most cost-effective providers in your area, which will make your return on investment even higher.
For instance, one of the most common roofing scams is the fluctuating bid, also known as the elevator ride. This happens when one roofing company offers a low bid that beats others in the area only to claim extra expenses and unexpected problems are increasing costs once the job is underway. Homeowners can protect themselves from this and other scams by doing their homework before hiring. They should also make sure their roofing contract contains a section that details the total cost of labor and materials, as well as exactly how the contractor will handle damage to the roof’s decking that might be discovered after the project has started.
Consider making these home improvements if you plan to plant a “For Sale” sign in the yard soon. Until then, you can enjoy the results of your renovations big and small.