Home improvement is a popular hobby, and there’s no shortage of inspiration from TV shows like Fixer Upper or This Old House. But it’s important to understand what projects will add value and which ones you should skip. Otherwise, you might be stuck with a renovation that doesn’t pay off when you decide to sell.
It’s also important to consider the costs and benefits of each project, and know that you may end up spending more than you expect — especially when it comes to hiring contractors. A reputable contractor will provide a detailed estimate before starting work, and they’ll keep you updated on a regular basis as the project progresses. In addition, they’ll be able to answer any questions you have along the way.
The most common projects homeowners undertake include refreshing shower areas, replacing vanities and toilets, laying new tile and installing countertops. But these upgrades can quickly add up. When remodeling your bathroom, stick with midrange fixtures and materials to avoid overspending.
A fresh coat of paint is another quick and inexpensive upgrade that can brighten a room and make it look brand new. It’s a good idea to use neutral colors that will appeal to the majority of buyers, says real estate agent Benjamin Ross.
Replacing windows is a more expensive project, but it can increase your home’s energy efficiency and lower utility bills. It’s a smart investment, says Scott Ewald, director of brand and content marketing at Trane, the HVAC company.
Another big home improvement that typically adds value is a room addition, says real estate agent Jordan Weissman. Adding an additional bedroom, bath or family room increases living space and adds function to the home. If you’re thinking about adding a new addition, be sure to consult with a licensed builder to avoid any issues that could delay your project and cost more money.
A dated kitchen or outdated bathrooms are the biggest turnoff for potential buyers, according to real estate agents. A full kitchen remodel can be costly, but a simple update can be less expensive and still have a major impact. Replacing cabinet hardware, updating light fixtures or adding decorative molding can be a DIY project that makes a big difference without breaking the bank.
When it comes to home improvements, it’s important not to go overboard or you might outpace your neighborhood’s values. For example, a luxury hot tub or an elaborate fountain in the backyard might appeal to you, but they might deter a buyer from choosing your property over others on the block.
It’s also best to avoid going into debt to pay for home repairs or upgrades, unless it’s absolutely necessary. You’ll lose out in the long run if you put your home up for sale and you don’t have enough money to cover the sales price, taxes or closing costs. A loan also has interest payments, so paying cash for the project is usually a better option.