7 Home Renovations That Add Major Value, According to Real Estate Experts
Increase your home's value with these remodeling ideas guaranteed to be worth the time and money.
By Sheryl Geerts Updated May 23, 2020
Whether you're preparing for a move or looking to update your home, remodeling can be a huge undertaking, so it's important to know if the reward is worth it. Knowing what renovations will yield the highest return for the money is key so that when it comes time to sell, you can demand a higher price. Ultimately, you'll want to make the best home improvements to add value to your home. Before you decide on a remodel project, evaluate its cost versus its value, and decide if the renovation you want to do is a worthy investment of your time and money. So what renovations offer the biggest impact on a home's value? Six Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate experts weigh in on what projects are actually worth taking on. Here are the best home renovations for resale that will raise the value of your home.
1. Create an Addition As your family grows, why shouldn't your home?
Consider building an addition to add major value to your home plus increase square footage. Maximize your investment by selecting the perfect materials and details to enhance your home's value and character. "Any kind of physical expansion—whether it's a new bedroom, an extension of a living room, or whatever space you desire—has a huge impact," says Joe Rand, managing partner and general counsel at Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty. "If you can add square footage to a house, you always add value. Size matters!"
2. Redo Your Kitchen
The kitchen is the hub of the home, so functionality is a top priority. Remodeling a kitchen can be exciting and satisfying, especially when it's designed to meet your needs and desires. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s 2019 remodeling impact report, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 52% of the cost of a kitchen upgrade if they sell their home. "Updating the kitchen with new appliances and bathrooms with new plumbing fixtures may seem trivial, but it's a must," says Brad Carlton, sales associate at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers. "Currently, there are many kitchen features that are trending in the Atlanta area, such as wine refrigerators, drawer-style microwaves and dishwashers, commercial-style ranges, and hidden outlets."
3. Renovate a Bathroom
An updated bathroom is a major selling point for any home. When renovating, incorporate sleek surfaces for a sparkling space that makes cleaning a cinch. According to the same report by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 57% of the cost of a bathroom renovation if they sell their home. "If a home has only one bathroom or at most a one and a half bathroom, adding a shower to a half bath, or adding a half bath to a living area for guests immediately improves the appraised value of a home," says Jody Steinberg, realtor, LaVista Hills Team, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers.
4. Update Your Home’s HVAC
Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are the components that keep your home operating. These are some of the most critical items in your home to maintain. Plus, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 85% of the cost of a HVAC replacement if they sell their home. “Buyers are often taken aback when upon inspection, a home’s heater, air conditioner, and roof, are found to be old or in poor shape," says Derek Whitner, realtor, Team Whitner, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers. "Studies have shown that millennials are unwilling to overlook old mechanicals, even if the seller is offering a home warranty as a way to compensate for the age of these systems.”
5. Amplify Outdoor Living Space
Nothing beats the option of entertaining outdoors. An outdoor living space will make your home a relaxing destination for get-togethers and add major value. No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to update your backyard, porch, or patio. "Tap the outdoors for extra living space," says Mary Hutchison, senior sales executive, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes. "In the old days, just about everyone had a front porch or screened-in area to shade themselves from the Midwestern heat, and these classic features are still in demand. A screened-in porch or backyard patio—especially one that includes an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill and small fridge—makes a wonderful additional entertaining area."
6. Make Your Home More Accessible
Home renovations should be made with universal design principles in mind. That means creating a space for people of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities. Take careful inventory early in the planning process of all intended users' capabilities, preferences, and tastes. “If it is possible to make your home more accessible, your home will be more welcoming to guests, more marketable to the largest audience, and best of all, you will be able to age in place," says Steinberg. "Do this by widening doorways, changing a main-level tub to a shower, and clearing a path to a stepless entrance (or by adding a door to the back or side of your house).”
7. Update Your Light Fixtures
One of the simplest home upgrades that provide added value to your home is lighting. You'll be amazed by how well-placed pools of warm light can make your home inviting and user-friendly. Consider the design, as well as function, when choosing the right light fixtures for your rooms. "Updated styles of interior and exterior light fixtures are readily available at big box stores and online retailers for a bit of pocket change," says Robin Wolfram, realtor/designer at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate All Seasons-Rochester. "It can provide the big wow factor many homes would otherwise lack. If shopping online, be sure to look for any 'open box' pricing: an undamaged item that was returned simply because someone changed their mind.”