Home Projects: Which Ones Increase (and Decrease) Property Value?

Home renovation. To some, these two little words are exciting and invigorating, but to others, they can be cringe-worthy. No matter how you feel about home renovations, (whether you’re all about that DIY life or would rather watch paint dry than actually painting a wall in your house) be sure you’re making smart choices when starting a project on your home. Read below to find out which projects and renovations pay off in the long run, and which ones just end up leaving a dent in your wallet.

5 Projects That Can Increase Property Value

1) Updating your kitchen and/or bathroom
Investing cash in these spaces can substantially increase your return when selling your home. A good rule of thumb: remember to keep things classic; anything too niche or trendy won’t appeal to the majority. Staging your home and decluttering the space during home-showing appointments are nearly as important as the renovation itself and can greatly increase your chances of receiving a quality offer. On a budget? A fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, and updated hardware can work wonders and don’t cost a fortune.

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2) Adding energy efficient features
Updating your home with energy efficient features not only saves you money, but is also enticing for potential buyers. Consider replacing air conditioning units, furnaces, and hot water heaters if they are old or in poor condition. Before you replace anything, have a technician come out who specializes in load calculation to determine what size unit is appropriate for your home. There are also smaller, less expensive ways you can help your home maintain a comfortable temperature. Window treatments, for instance, can help retain cool air inside and deflect outside heat. Ceiling fans are another relatively inexpensive way to help keep energy costs low.

3) Creating an open-concept layout
A home’s floor plan is one of its most significant and permanent qualities. A closed off, segmented floor plan makes a home feel smaller and outdated, which is a turn-off for potential buyers. Consider opening up the floor plan by removing non-load-bearing walls or creating openings in shared walls (ex. An internal ‘window’ from a kitchen to a living room). If it’s not possible to create an open floor plan, adding mirrors or repainting the space with lighter colors creates the illusion of size and depth.

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4) Lighting is key
Lighting is a substantial component of influencing the ambiance and vibe of a space. The ability to adjust the lighting in a room will help your home appeal to a wider range of prospective buyers, and elements like dimmer switches and accented lighting features are a plus. Outdoor lighting can add drama to the façade of your home, as well as an added sense of security. An abundance of natural light is also a benefit when selling your home, so adding skylights or extra windows are almost always a good idea, if feasible.

5) Modern technology
Technology is the future, and in recent years, there have been countless advancements in the way we use technology to secure and add convenience to our homes. Products such as electronic door locks and thermostats, smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and advanced security systems are often at the touch of an app and make it especially easy to manage and protect your space. Young buyers especially look for updated technology features and could even consider more traditional features to be outdated or unacceptable during their search.

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5 Projects That Can Decrease Property Value

1) Too much personality
Sellers often want to show off their home’s character and make it stand out through unique landscaping, exotic décor, or vibrant wall colors. However, your personality probably isn’t going to appeal to everyone else. Instead, it’s best to focus on neutral colors, simple landscaping, and modest décor. This allows potential buyers to envision how your home would look as their own. If you still want to add a little flair or personality to an area, consider jazzing up temporary items such as rugs, pillows, or other accent pieces.

2) Freshening up your fireplace
Some people think renovating a fireplace will make their home seem contemporary and updated, but older fireplaces can help make a house feel like a home. Modernizing your home is beneficial for a number of other features, but a brand-new fireplace could actually be a deterrent to buyers. A rustic fireplace is both natural and intentional, and many believe updating them eliminates their allure and charm.

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3) Making small spaces seem smaller
Maximizing space in a home is imperative. There are several features that can make a room feel substantially more cramped, especially lethal in tiny bathrooms or kitchens. Highlighting crown molding, excessive décor, window treatments, and dark paint colors can all contribute to visually shrinking a room. Instead, try keeping windows uncovered and stick with lighter paint colors so natural light can create the illusion of more space.

4) It’s all in the floors
One heavy influencer of whether or not a home looks outdated are the floors. While wall-to-wall carpeting may appeal to some, its upkeep is expensive and can quickly look worn down or shabby. Wood floors are a popular and appealing alternative to carpet, but only if they’ve been well-maintained. To help increase value, regularly clean your floors or have them polished or refinished prior to showing your home.

5) A pool can drown your value
While having a pool can be an advantage during hot summer months, many potential home buyers don’t regard them as a perk. Instead, they can be viewed as dangerous, expensive, and a burden to maintain – especially in areas where warm weather is seasonal. Additionally, trying to remove a pool from a property is an arduous and expensive process. 

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Although investing in home improvements does not always equal added property value dollar-to-dollar, the reason they enhance value directly relates to demand and popularity. Before starting any home improvement project, it's important to do your research to see which projects have the potential to have the best return on investment.

Kim Hill