From a strictly dollars and cents analysis, almost all (but not all) home improvements make no sense (DIY projects should be judged differently than home improvements done by professional contractors, since they will have an inherently higher ROI on dollars invested).
In most cases, you are not going to get the money back you put into them. But is a home improvement going to perk up the quality of your life, make you proud of your house, improve your lot with the neighbors, make your life more fun? You cannot put a price tag on those.
However, be aware that even that emotional boost aka “enjoyment factor” will not always make a home improvement worth it. Take a hard look at the real estate market in your neighborhood before plunging into a major home remodeling upgrade.
If all the houses in your area sell in the $150,000 range and you undergo a major makeover to increase the value of your home to $225,000, you may have priced yourself out of the resale market.
Also be careful of altering your living space if doing so violates the integrity of the house.
A bulky room expansion to a classic bungalow, for instance, will destroy its eye appeal to buyers in the market for period-appropriate houses.
On the other hand, time matters. If you are planning to stay in your home for a long time, the cost of some remodeling upgrades and renovations will start to look good, both in your pocketbook and your pride of ownership.
If you are looking to sell in the near-term it may be better to restrict your efforts to a freshening up, take a realistic price and let the next owner sink money into major improvements. Your best financial play may even be just offering a discount or credit for a major repair.
So knowing that you are likely never going to see the money you put into a home improvement going in, let’s look at what you can expect from some common home improvements…
1. Steel entry door. Ah, yes, the portal to your soul. An attractive entryway is never a bad thing. But to return the bang for your buck go with a modern insulated steel door. The energy savings and fresh look will return anywhere from 70% to 100% of its cost, depending on how grungy the front door looked at the beginning of the project.
2. Siding replacement. If your house’s skin is showing its age, new siding is a rational choice. It will bring back between 75% and 80% of its installation cost, more for fiber cement than vinyl among the mainstream siding options.
3. New roof. It does not matter what return this brings you. No one is going to buy a house with a leaky roof. The return a new roof brings you is the ability to sell your house and move.
In the warmer climates of the South and Southwest where outdoor living is a way of life a deck will absolutely help at selling time. Plus, a deck is a great enhancer to your life while in the house as well.
5. Kitchen Remodel. The kitchen is the most popular target for upgrading – and also the biggest money pit. You may be lucky to get back 50 cents on the dollar if you go in for all the fancy bells and whistles for an extravagant kitchen and then have to sell your house in a bad market.
A better option is a partial makeover (think $20,000 range) that concentrates on improving the work flow in the kitchen space known as the “golden triangle” – the ideal positioning of the cooktop, refrigerator and sink.
Make your kitchen an efficient workspace marvel and you can see an 80% to 85% return on your buck. And make your own kitchen time that much more pleasant as well.
6. Bathroom Remodel. Everything said about a kitchen upgrade holds for the bathroom, the second most fussed over room in the house. Think mid-range and sensible improvements and you will get a bigger bang for that dollar.
Your bathroom is the first thing you see every day. Bleary-eyed and groggy. And you are tired of it! What can you do? First, come up with between $6,000 and $20,000, which is the low-end cost most homeowners can expect to pay for a moderate bathroom makeover this year. Then consider the following upgrades many of which can be completed by a handy “Do It Yourself” enthusiast such as yourself! 😉
When it is time to upgrade the industrialized look of your bathroom, a new finish to fixtures will put an exclamation point on any bathroom decor.
Chrome is still the shiny finish of choice, but the market leader is being elbowed by brass and copper and nickel and oil-rubbed metals. Depending on your taste, a finish can be shiny or matted, or even textured! The customized finishes can run from $40 for chrome to over $500 for nickel fixtures.
ROI: Your return on investment is the pleasure you get with handling a beautiful spigot handle several times every day. 😉
2. Fancy Faucets:
You can get a quick jolt to the look of your bathroom with an eye-catching new faucet. Go with a modern update of the classic spouts or search for antique replicas that are constructed from solid brass or nickel. An import from Europe can release your inner avant-garde. Expect to pay many hundreds of dollars more than your average water spout. Put on all the fancy fixings and an new sink complex can run in the range of $5,000.
ROI: You may not get all your money back, but an updated look on your faucet will absolutely raise the value and enjoyment of your bathroom!
3. Saucy Sinks:
The sink will often be the style leader in any bathroom makeover. A pedestal sink will give a old-timey look to a bathroom, as will a console sink with basin and legs.
Note the handy lack of under-sink storage space with these models. Textured drop-in sinks impart a contemporary look and feel. A countertop vessel sink with waterspout can make a statement about the American frontier or an upscale European resort. Price options range from $100 and up.
ROI: A sink replacement will likely be part of an overall bathroom decor overhaul, which seldom pays for itself.
4. Welcome storage:
It is easy to get carried away with the glamorous options to outfit a bathroom and forget about the importance of storage. A vanity cluttered with cosmetic bottles and stacks of toilet paper on the water closet comprise any decor.
New cabinets can cost as much as $2,500 or more to be installed, if a lot of custom woodworking is required for tight spaces and depending on the woods selected. At the low end, expect to pay between $2,000 and $4,000.
ROI: The full cost may not be recouped at the time of sake, but the utility of bathroom storage space is priceless. 😉
5. Elbow Room:
Why would you punish yourself like this!?
That space premium holds for counter space as well. The days of the double sink have vanished in favor of more counter space. The range of vanities is limited only by the imagination, from high style to refinished salvage models. Installing countertops at the low-end will cost between $900 and $2,500.
ROI: New buyers always like to see extra space that can be used to plop things down on. Modestly-priced vanities will likely pay for themselves both in current use and future value.
6. Smart Lighting:
Bathrooms are workspaces above all – shaving, makeup application, etc. Lighting should always be functional, but it can be attractive as well. First off, do not put a light above the bathroom mirror since it will cast shadows onto the face.
Start by making sure all task lighting is properly oriented over the toilet and shower and then turn to accent lighting and decorative lighting for visual impact. New lighting fixtures can be installed for under $1,000 or as much as $4,000.
Ready to create a kitchen that will really impress with its versatility, design and style? If so, our DIY home improvement guide to kitchen renovation and remodeling projects will be a great starting point for you! 🙂
Your kitchen may be the most important room in your home this year! It is a now a multipurpose space for working from home, connecting with family, entertaining, and is the heart of a healthy and vibrant lifestyle. Kitchens have anywhere from a 60%-100% return on investment, assuming you make the right choices. 😉
Whether you’ve got a micro-loft or mansion; your kitchen has to look great and function efficiently. So what’s trending in the latest kitchen design? Which kitchen remodeling projects deliver the best value? Which projects can be tackled by a crafty DIY enthusiasts? How can you get the most out of your renovation budget?
What will you do to make your kitchen amazing this year?
Getting Started Planning your magnificent kitchen makeover starts with:
Clearing out the old to create a clean slate
Getting up to date on emerging design trends
Deciding what you want your kitchen and remodel to do for you
Creating a budget
Visualizing your new look
A midrange kitchen remodel can run from as little as $15,000 to over $55,000. The average spent is $25,000 to $30,000.
Hanley Wood 2018 Cost vs. Value Report estimates an upscale kitchen remodel can run up to $125,700, with only a 53% plus return on investment when it comes time to sell.
A Realtor survey and accompanying Return vs. Joy report and info-graphic ranks both a kitchen upgrade, and complete kitchen remodel as delivering some of the highest ‘Joy Scores’ at 9.4 and 9.8 respectively. This makes it one of the best rooms to makeover if you’ll be staying there for a while.
Did you know: If you are planning on selling your home any time soon, you should know that a kitchen can instantly make or break a home sale.
So what’s in, what’s out, and what are the hacks for a higher ROI remodel project?
Aside from cabinets, kitchen countertops can be one of the largest investments in this space. It is also one renovation item that few property owners should ever consider taking on themselves. So calculate in installation at around 20% of your total costs.
However, do note that there are many online and in-store design and concept visualization services and tools that can be leveraged for free. These can be used even if you purchase your materials somewhere else, or find your own contractor for the install.
For the fashion conscious, a kitchen island and countertops should be covered with quartz or quartzite, not the common granite. For those on a budget and who are more green minded, consider recycled countertops, butchers block from sustainable forests, or concrete.
Cost: Countertop costs can range from around $15 per foot for laminate to $140 per foot for quartz.
ROI: New countertops may not add much tangible value to your home, unless the previous ones were damaged or dysfunctional. However, they will make you feel a million times better about your kitchen, and can absolutely make a world of difference in real estate for sale ads, and when showing a home for sale.
2. Kitchen Islands
The kitchen island is now easily the most important feature in a home. It makes or breaks real estate advertising and sales.
If truly amazing is a must; then go all out with a unique kitchen island. Double it as an entertainment bar and pro serving station by building in a bonus sink, cooling station for garnishes, wine, and making fresh sushi. Or add heat lamps and a warming drawer to keep brunch hot and fresh, and your plates up to par with restaurant quality.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association also reports that “desk or home office space has been created in a majority of new kitchens being designed by their members — approximately two-thirds of them. This space is also likely to include a docking station for recharging mobile devices.”
The basics of a kitchen island are the cabinets, and countertop. Size and quality of materials are the biggest variables, followed by installation. Use the cabinet and countertop costs in this report to calculate a rough estimate for your custom island.
ROI: Adding an island may not increase your home’s appraised value, but it will definitely make a massive difference in appeal. You’ll love using it. Prospective buyers will be drawn to your home listing, and given the importance of the island today it could absolutely generate higher purchase offers and create bidding wars over your property.
3. Upgrade Kitchen Cabinets – DIY Option!
Many property owners will find that they can get away with simply upgrading current cabinets, rather than splurging on brand new ones.
According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association this part of the kitchen can soak up as much as 30% of the total budget. So this is a great place to save big. Think refinishing or replacing cabinet doors and hardware. To really take it to the next level visually (without breaking the budget) consider smart under cabinet ambient lighting, and tablet holders for an affordable, but hi-tech look.
Cost: $200 to $5,000+
ROI: 70% +. The ROI on making existing cabinets look brand new can be huge. You can essentially get a brand new kitchen at the fraction of the cost. Expect to get virtually all of your money back in a sale or lease.
4. Replace Kitchen Cabinets – DIY Option!
Installing kitchen cabinets is another major task which most DIY enthusiasts will be glad they hired out for, instead of tackling it themselves.
Via BiggerPocket some real estate investors are reporting that Ikea kitchen cabinets have worked just fine for them.
Individual cabinet doors from Ikea start around $10 to $100. However, these can be a contractor’s worst nightmare. They reportedly arrive in many boxes, with many parts. Think of it as a kitchen sized Rubik’s cube. That can destroy your budget if your installers are working by the hour.
Alternatives include purchasing stock cabinets from home improvement stores, semi-customizing stock cabinetry, and fully custom built cabinets. Individual stock cabinets may start at under $100 per piece. The sky is the limit for high quality custom carpentry and exclusive materials.
Hot kitchen colors include black, white, and retro pastel colors. HGTV says “gray is the new white.”
Cost: A new set of cabinets can run from $1,200 to $18,500+
ROI: Up to 70%. There is really no tangible home value difference between low end and high end cabinets. The return is in the personal enjoyment, and in the appeal and emotional value which can drive more, and higher offers when marketing a property for sale.
5. New Kitchen Appliances- DIY Option!
New kitchen appliances can make a massive visual difference. The best part of making an investment in new appliances is that you can take them with you when you move.
New energy efficient and smart appliances can help owners and renters to cut energy bills, reduce grocery bills, enjoy more productivity in their lives, and live more environmentally friendly. Top of the line fridges can now run tens of thousands of dollars.
Note that many of their top tech features still require manual input. That means they may really be most productive for those with a housekeeping staff to operate them. In terms of style; stainless steel is heading out, and colored appliances are back in.
Note that those simply staging homes for sale can often rent appliances short term for showings. Look for appliance outlet stores and special sales days to get even more out of your budget.
Cost: $400 to $50,000+
ROI: 100%+. The return here is really a matter of the personal use you get out of them. However, with energy savings and portability property owners can find they see all of their investment returned, and more.