February 5, 2018

Home Improvement: Is it Worth It?

By Jessica Elgin, Realtor

The most frequent question I get from clients is which home improvements are worth it, and which aren’t. If you are considering selling your home in the next year, you want to focus on those improvements that help the appearance. If you just moved into a home that needs a little TLC or just needs that “touch” that makes it yours, remember that it is cost of enjoyment versus how much you will get back when you sell it.

According to HGTV, here are the top remodels for best return on investment. I’ve added my favorite upgrades under each category with options under $100 and options for a more expansive budget


1.Minor bathroom remodel (102% return)

Under $100 –     Remove dated wall coverings and add fresh paint or subway tiles

Sand and paint existing cabinets and add new hardware

Larger Budget – Replace tub with tile surround shower or re-glaze the tub


2. Landscaping (100% return)

Under $100 –     Trim overgrown shrubs and trees, add flowers for color

Larger Budget – Add a walkway or fountain, seal flagstone to give wet look and enhance color


3. Minor Kitchen Remodel (98.5% return)

Under $100 –     Sand and paint existing cabinets and add new hardware

Larger Budget – Tile backsplash

Replace vinyl with inexpensive granite counters

Replace black or white appliances with silver appliances


4. Exterior Improvements –Vinyl siding, paint, updated front entry (95.5% return)

Under $100 –     Remove old awning from windows and doors

Paint your front door and replace broken screen doors

Larger Budget – Add a pergola

Replace old wrought iron railings with real wood supports


5. Attic Bedroom Conversion (93.5% return)

Under $100 –     Remove dated wall coverings and add a fresh coat of paint

Larger Budget – Replace flooring and paint the walls

Add attic insulation

Add additional HVAC system if needed

6. Major Bathroom Remodel (93.2% return)

Under $100 –     Add subway tile to sink area

Replace existing wall mirror with a framed mirror from a second hand store

Larger Budget – Replace existing sink with a pedestal sink

Replace laminate countertops with inexpensive granite

Replace laminate flooring with wood-like water resistant flooring or tile


7. Major Kitchen Remodel (91% return)

Under $100 –     Replace backsplash with white framed tile or tin ceiling tiles

Replace can lights with drop lights above islands

Larger Budget – Replace worn out cabinets

Extend backsplash over all counter tops

Replace laminate countertops with inexpensive granite.


8. Deck, Patio or Porch Addition (90.3% return)

Under $100 –     Add a gate from a second hand store to courtyards

Larger Budget – Add a back patio


9. Basement Remodel (90.1% return)

Under $100 –     Scrape ceilings and repaint

Larger Budget – Replace old flooring

Add heating or cooling ducts to older homes


10. Replacement Windows (89.6% return)

Under $100 –     Paint the trim around all windows inside and out

Larger Budget – Replace windows with low-e glass

Replace small windows with larger windows


11. Family Room Addition (83% return)

Under $100 –     Remove dated wall coverings and add fresh paint to an existing addition

Larger Budget – Replace subfloors so existing additions transition smoothly from room to room


12. Bonus Room Updates (72.8% return)

Under $100 –     Redecorate for your target market

Larger Budget – Add electric outlets and recessed lighting for office space

Add a mini kitchen


13. Living Room Updates – Décor (66% return)

Under $100 –     Remove dated wall coverings and add fresh paint

Larger Budget – Replace carpeting with wood or wood like tile floors

Add larger windows when possible


14. Bedroom Updates (52% return)

Under $100 –     Swap old light fixtures for a small chandelier from a second-hand store

Larger Budget – Stage! Buy new bedding and scale window coverings to your room size

Replace worn out flooring


15. Living Room Updates – Walls and Floors (40% return)

Under $100 –     Remove dated wall coverings and add fresh paint

Paint trim and caulk any spaces between trim and walls or ceiling

Larger Budget – Sand and seal existing wood floors or add wood floors if they are concrete

Replace baseboards with taller, flat baseboards


Hopefully these tips will help you decide which areas and items are worth putting the time and effort into upgrading this year!

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