Top 10 Home Projects That Add Value

How do you know which home improvement projects are the best ones to undertake? This will depend greatly on you goals. If you are not planning on selling your home for 5 years or so, your priorites might be different from someone who is trying to sell their home for as muc as possible within the year. If you're selling soon, focus on the projects a buyer would most likely want to do first, not necessarily the ones you've been wanting to do the most. You might have been dreaming about a custom bookshelf in the foyer or a new deck out back, but if your kitchen is more than 15 years old, you're better off spending your money there.Home Projects Image

Most buyers generally focus on kitchen and bathroom quality, as well as overall living and storage space. Kitchen and bathroom projects are generally disruptive and buyers appreciate work that has already been completed in those areas. The following are ten home improvement projects that are worthwhile and the percentage of cost typically recouped at resale (in a seller's market):

  1. Kitchen remodelling This area of the home tends to cost the most and can quickly run out of control. Be sure to carefully plan and shop to help minimize your costs. When renovating the kitchen, it is important to keep the project in line with the style and quality of the other homes in the neighbourhood. It would not be well advised to install a pricey granite countertop on old looking 1970s cabinets, and you wouldn't want to spend $50,000 on a kitchen in a $200,000 house. Payback: 68-120%.
  2. Painting Painting should be your first choice if you are only going to do one thing. Painting, inside and out, is one of the very few improvements on which you are most likely to see a profit, so long as you choose tasteful, current, neutral colours and the work is professionally finished. Payback: As much as 300%
  3. Bathroom addition If your home has less bathrooms than most of the homes in your neighbourhood, a bathroom addition should be one of your top priorities. You will definitely increase your property value by adding a bath. Payback: 80-130%.
  4. Bathroom remodelling Upgrading an old and dated bathroom will enhance the value of your home and add to your daily comfort and enjoyment. White porcelain is the safe, timeless choice here. Payback: 65-120%.
  5. Window/door replacement If your windows or doors are wasting energy or simply looking old and tired, having them replaced can be a great use of your budget. Stay with standard styles; odd shapes and highly customized arrangements add very little towards resale value. Payback: 50-90%.
  6. Finishing unfinished space Whether it be an attic or a basement, finishing these spaces can add significant value to your home, increasing liveable space without having to build. Payback: 50-90%.
  7. Additions of bedrooms, living rooms, solariums, garages, etc. Increasing square footage is almost always an excellent use of renovation money. Just be careful not to expand your home so much that there's little outdoor space leftover. Payback: 50-83%.
  8. Decks Decks are one of the few exterior improvements with a significant return, with the exception of painting. Payback: 65-90%.
  9. Home office renovation Quickly growing in popularity are home office renovations. Be sure to plan for plenty of electrical and cable outlets to accommodate for all the potential electronics. Payback: 60-73%.
  10. Energy efficient retrofits If your primary goal is to earn a return on your investment, proceed carefully. Some retrofits, such as better insulation and high-efficiency furnaces, pay for themselves relatively quickly. Solar panels, heat recovery ventilators, and tankless water heaters, may take years to pay for themselves. Payback: Highly variable.

A couple of projects that are unlikely to pay off when you sell are: swimming pools and excessive landscaping (buyers may admire it but few will pay extra thousands for it even if that's what you spent). Keep in mind that badly done renovations will cost you twofold. You'll not only be paying for the job itself; you'll be paying when buyers see a project that must be redone.