Increase home value with wise remodeling

December 23, 2018

Some remodeling choices may add value to homes, and others can actually subtract value, and some choices, such as a built-in aquarium, may make a property extremely challenging to sell.

Most remodeling projects cost more than the amount your home’s value will increase, so you shouldn’t assume that you’ll recoup every cent you spend on a home-improvement project. However, some types of projects come closer to paying for themselves when you eventually sell.

When you’re considering selling a home, it may make sense to undertake a particular project to make the house more attractive to buyers. When you’re living in a home and will be for some time, the best reason to remodel is to get more pleasure and functionality from your home. While you’re at it, making wise choices can pay off in the long run.

Here are some of the best ways to get the most value from your projects:

Homeowners use kitchens to entertain. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home — the place people like to gather. So it’s no surprise that upgraded kitchens can be a great remodeling project.

Solid-surface counters in granite, marble, Corian or Silestone are hot, as are professional-quality appliances. Stoves with more than four burners and cabinets in maple, cherry and birch make even the most jaded homebuyer swoon.

Bathrooms have become private havens, and more people are adding luxury master baths with jetted tubs or steam showers like the ones often seen in spas.

Natural materials or synthetic materials that look natural (like laminate flooring) will attract buyers.

A fresh coat of paint or a new color can do wonders for your home. And if you don’t like the color, just paint over it.

Make sure your home looks great from the outside, because a well-kept home is more attractive to potential buyers. Drive down your street and check out the neighbors’ yards. Then grab those hedge clippers and get to work. Think landscaping isn’t a big deal? Mature, beautiful trees can add thousands of dollars in value to a property, according to appraisers. Lush grass is preferable to compacted dirt. Trimmed bushes and edged grass make the whole yard look better.

If your home has a porch, clean it up and make it useable. Front and back porches are selling points.

It sounds obvious, but fix what needs fixing. If something’s broken in your house — however minor — it can make your home less appealing and detract from the value if it’s not repaired. Even if you’re not selling in the near future, little problems don’t fix themselves and can quickly turn into big problems and a more expensive solution.

Also, if you’re going to have to lay out some money to fix a problem before you sell your home anyway, you might as well fix it as soon as it breaks. That way, at least you get the benefit of the repair while you’re still living in your home.

Visit your neighbors’ remodeling projects and tour model homes and furniture showrooms to check out current design trends and identify styles you like.

Make a list of the improvements you want to make. Then rank them in order of importance. You might love to take a jackhammer to your kitchen, but your priorities might depend on your budget, in which case you may have to start with painting the trim.

Ask a Realtor

The value of improvements can vary from region to region and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Ask a Realtor when you’re thinking about a room addition or kitchen remodel if you want an opinion on how it might affect the resale value of your home. And if you’re getting ready to sell, a Realtor can give you advice about which remodeling projects might help your home sell faster or increase its value.

For the best resource in Texas for buying or selling a home, please visit HAR.com.

Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, with JPMorgan Chase, is 2018 chair of the Houston Association of Realtors/HAR.com.

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