If you own a home, it’s likely your biggest and longest-term investment. Whether you’re sprucing up your home to sell or planning a renovation for personal reasons, even relatively minor changes can net you some big gains in home value. So what areas should you focus on to get the most efficient return on your reno dollar? Here’s how to make smart home investments and avoid fixes that can fall flat.
DO: Install an energy-efficient steel door. Selling your home is all about making a good first impression, and first impressions start at the front door.
DON’T: Install a fiberglass front door. The higher cost won’t mean a higher sale price.
DO: Add a spare room. Converting unused basement or attic space into an extra bedroom opens your home to exponentially more buyers.
DON’T: Add an extra bathroom. Plumbing, wiring and tiling make these small spaces extremely expensive add-ons. (However, if your home has only one bathroom, adding a powder room can be a major selling feature.)
DO: Paint. The cheapest and easiest way to refresh a room is with a new coat of paint. If you do it yourself, the only cost will be for paint and brushes.
DON’T: Wallpaper. Anyone who’s had to remove old wallpaper knows what a dreadful task it can be.
DO: Replace cabinet hardware. Changing the handles in the kitchen and bathroom is a cheap and easy way to add some flair.
DON’T: Remodel your home office. Many buyers will look at built-in shelving and desks as something they’ll have to spend money on converting back to a bedroom.
DO: Landscape your property. A mix of hardy perennials and some vibrant low-cost annuals will give your home that all-important curb appeal.
DON’T: Install an in-ground pool. Many buyers will balk at the ongoing maintenance and be fearful of long-term repair and replacement costs.
DO: Make minor repairs. Scour your house from top to bottom for chipped paint, missing or cracked outlet covers to replace and so on. These low-cost DIY tasks will reap untold rewards.
DON’T: Add a sunroom. They’re expensive to install and, when dated, buyers will be leery of the cost of replacing aging windows.
DO: Upgrade your appliances. Energy-efficient ones may qualify for a tax credit or rebate (check out this state-by-state directory of available energy incentives), and you’ll cut back on your utility bills for as long as you’re in the house.
DON’T: Add a backup generator. While the peace of mind may help you weather any storm, buyers typically will not pay a premium for this addition.
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By Allan Britnell