Your home is your castle, but sometimes, the relics of the past need to be remodeled.
If your bank account is a little lean, what changes can you make to increase your home’s value by a high amount?
First, you need to understand why you are doing a renovation, says Erin Dougherty, design coordinator at Distinctive Design/Build/Remodel in Charlotte, N.C.
“What is your purpose? Are you talking about financial value of the house or value for your lifestyle of how you want to live the next 10 years?” she says.
When deciding what remodeling project to do, remember that you’ll likely have to hire someone. And trying to find skilled labor these days is getting tougher and tougher because of a shortage of plumbers, electricians and other skilled laborers, she says.
“Material costs are going up everywhere, too. Plus, you will find that if you try to access a general contractor to do the remodel, it’s is going to be tough,” she says.
“The contractors we have been working with all these years say we are their first priority because we bring them jobs regularly. They can cherry pick their jobs.”
But Dougherty would rather buy a house that hasn’t been touched.
“I’d rather make changes that make sense for me. But it all depends on what people are looking for. Are they trying to get out and get the highest price possible, or trying to create an environment that they love and their families can create memories in for years to come? What value can you put on that?”
Her company does a lot of high-end kitchen, bathroom and whole-house remodels. For instance, many of the kitchens they redo start at $75,000. Dougherty just designed a small kitchen for a friend as a favor, and it was going to cost $55,000 to do.
Recent trends show that the cost of remodeling projects is rising compared to the resale value, but there are some inexpensive remodeling jobs that can add a lot of value. Realtors always talk about kitchens and bathrooms selling houses, Dougherty adds.
But even small remodels of these rooms can cost a lot of money, and these are personal places that may not hit the mark with buyers.
“I always tell my clients to choose timeless and classic, not trendy. You don’t want the design to have a dated look in a few years,” Dougherty says.
Here are some of the projects you can put the least amount of money in and get the biggest bang back:
Attic fiberglass insulation
This isn’t one of those exciting remodeling ideas, but with a median cost of $1,343, it will actually give you a 107.7 percent cost recoup if you sold your home. Plus, your utility bills will be a lot lower, and your family will be more comfortable whether it’s hot or cold outside.
Steel entry door replacement
This is a no-brainer. If you have a beautiful new door, especially if it’s painted a bright or welcoming color, it can bring a wonderful curb appeal to the whole house.
To make things even better, it only costs about $1,413 for the door and installation with a 90.7 percent cost recouped. That means it adds $1,282 back to the resale value of your home.
The best part is that a steel door is a safer addition because it is stronger and less accessible to break-ins.
Manufactured stone veneer
This one can enhance the front or backyard of your home. It has a median cost of $7,851, but you get an 89.4 percent payback of $7,019. Plus, you end up with a beautifully landscaped area that adds a lot of curb appeal and usage, such as a patio or sitting wall.
Garage door replacement
You’ll be writing a check for $1,749 to get that old garage door replaced, but you could see a 76.9 percent money recoup on that price once you sell your house. You’ll also get to enjoy the new addition to your house everyday as you drive into it after a long hard day at work.
Wood deck addition
Who wouldn’t like an outside space to entertain and relax on? A wood deck could cost a hefty $10,707 on average, but you’ll be glad to know that you can recoup 71.5 percent of that bill once you put your home up for sale.
Just think about all those great memories you’ll make sipping lemonade, talking with friends and enjoying an outdoor party. Now, that’s adding value in your life.