Does remodeling pay off?

Remodeling for Resale

Every year, Remodeling Magazine publishes a report about the home improvement projects that make the biggest return on investment, and every year I shake my head because "manufactured stone veneer" siding tops the list. Don't do it!

But there are some gems in there for homeowners considering a future sale, including the following high-impact projects that should pay you back down the road:

  • Minor kitchen remodel (116% return on investment): think painted cabinets, new hardware, countertops, kitchen sink/faucet, and appliances. Think of it as a renovation of your kitchen--not a remodel per se. In other words, don't get new cabinets or change the layout.
  • Garage door replacement (141% return on investment): if your garage door is in front of your house, this one makes sense. Just be sure you don't install the cheapest one they offer and try to match the overall style of your home.
  • Wood deck addition (107% return on investment): don't do this one simply for the sake of ROI. If you're going to stay in the home for a while and enjoy the deck, go for it and invite me over for a beer! Creating useful outdoor space is the idea here and it can be created with other landscaping options like pavers too.

Here are a few other simple, practical ideas that I often share with my seller clients:

  • Paint or replace the front door: focus on the first thing the buyer will see. Paint is an easy way to spruce up a nice old wood door. If you have a lousy front door and a nice home, spend the $750 it'll cost to get a stained or painted wood door and some timeless hardware.
  • Basic bathroom renovation: this is the same idea as the kitchen renovation mentioned above. Replace your decades-old tile, swap out your vanity and faucet, update your lighting, and paint the bathroom a nice, light color.
  • Landscaping: can people see your house? Make sure the landscaping is at scale with the home; trim overgrown bushes and trees; and plant some colorful flowers and bushes to frame your entrance. You can do a lot of this yourself, and the work is mostly labor, so it's less than other projects.
  • Maintenance: the most common mistake homeowners make is getting behind on home maintenance, and it shows when buyers visit your home. Sellers should take care of inexpensive maintenance items to make sure buyers aren't deterred by the amount of work the house might need (e.g. service the furnace; clean the gutters; replace the 25-year-old water heater; replace the light fixture that hasn't worked for years; replace the foggy windows; pressure wash the walkways and driveway).

Even in this seller's market, preparing your home properly will make a big difference! Don't worry--if I help you sell, we'll make you a list of high-impact repairs and improvements, and I'll help you schedule the work.