Upgrades That Improve Your Home’s Value vs. Those That Don’t

Read the Do's and Don'ts of upgrading your home.

When investing any amount of money into a remodel or home improvement, you want to believe you’re increasing your home’s value so that when it comes time to sell, you may recoup some of your costs – or even make gains. The truth is that some investments pay off in spades while others will net you zero ROI. If that Italian marble in the bathroom or hot tub set into the deck is something that’s important to you regardless of future sale value, then by all means, go for it! You want to enjoy your home to the fullest. But if you’re looking at a variety of options and prefer the investment with the highest return, our guide will point you in the right direction toward improvements that both enhance your life and attract buyers.


The Open Space Concept

Open floor plans are the order of the day, and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down. In the real estate world, “open space” is a buzzword that nearly guarantees interest in your home. It doesn’t cost much to take out a wall, say between the dining room and living room, but it has huge impact on your home’s appeal and value. For just a few hundred dollars you can custom create that open, airy, continuous space feeling that house hunters look for.


House interior with open floor plan. Kitchen and living room


Light It Up

Dovetailing on the bright, open concept is the use of a lot of natural light. This can be achieved by larger windows, adding light fixtures and installing high wattage bulbs (which are still economical to operate, with today’s advanced CFL and LED bulbs), or installing sun tubes – a modified version of a skylight, which uses a simple tubular path through the roof, finishing in a regular ceiling-mount light fixture cover. A bright, cheerful atmosphere is attractive on its own, but with more natural light, potential homebuyers will also see that they’ll enjoy savings on their electric bill.


Open plan living room, dining room, kitchen and atrium in modern townhouse


Floors Matter

Brokers estimate that new flooring can provide double the ROI when it comes to home valuation. Particularly if your carpet or tile colors are very specific to a unique taste, they’re unlikely to appeal to the general house hunter. And if the floor clashes with the rest of the room – even if you’ve got brand-new everything else – it creates an even worse impression.


Carpeting has lost its luster for many people due to allergies and maintenance concerns. If you’ve got hardwoods under that pile, invest your home improvement dollars into ripping up the carpet and refinishing the original floors that lie beneath.

Hardwood floor sanding
A hardwood floor is sanded for refinishing


Consistency Matters Too

Brand-new stainless steel appliances in the midst of a painfully dated post-war kitchen will stand out like a sore thumb. Likewise, any over-the-top upgrade is going to appear inconsistent in an average home and may even bring the value down rather than boost it. Keep things as even as possible across each room, and your home as a whole.


House interior. Open floor plan panoramic view


Swimming Pools

If you install this expensive home improvement, it should be solely because you want it, not because you think it will raise your home’s future sale value. Many people see a pool as a liability and don’t want the hazard or the maintenance that comes with it.


An image of a swimming pool with outdoor poolside patio furniture


Don’t Neglect the Basics

You may be tempted to make extravagant upgrades in an attempt to increase your home’s value, but don’t forget that prospective buyers are going to come in expecting the heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical to already be in top notch working order, without necessarily being willing to pay more because of it. Make sure you keep on top of leaky sinks and the like so that the foundation of your home’s function is solid, before worrying about putting in new tile or nicer faucets.


Plumber fixing under the sink


When it comes to home improvement projects, it’s a matter of deciding what your main priorities are projects that are solely for your own family’s enjoyment should be just that, while there are other things you can do specifically for the purpose of increasing your home’s sale value even if you’re not planning on going anywhere for a few years.

DISCLAIMER: Readers proceed at their own risk if they attempt to replicate any activities described here.

Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com

Next: The 10 Most Interesting Homes in the World