Remodeling Your Home: Best Home Improvements That Add Resale Value
By James Winston
Let’s face it: Any home improvement will add value to your home. But certain projects will give you more bang for your buck. Those are also the remodeling projects that will give you the most enjoyment until it’s time to sell.
Before hiring a contractor, make a checklist of indoor and outdoor improvements that you dream about, those you must have, and those you can afford. Neighborhood aesthetics is also part of the equation. Return On Investment calculators gauge whether the expenditures will pay off in the long run.
Here are the best home improvements to get the highest return on investment:
Garage Door Replacement/Garage Conversion
New garage doors are one of the first things people see when looking directly at the house. Replacing rotted wooden doors with today’s newer models (like slatted doors with galvanized steel tracks) increases your home’s curb appeal. Consider painting it black. Garage and front doors painted black add value to a home.
Converting an unused garage into livable space is a way to make the most of your property, especially if the house is on a small lot. Before making plans for a game room, office, apartment, or anything else, make sure your city or municipality allows garage conversions.
Building a backyard patio, deck, or covered porch boosts the property value of your home, and even more so if you add an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, or built-in barbecue.
In the backyard, a clean deck or patio is what brings buyers to the back door … they want to use automatic sunshades, windows, lighting, and heaters during all seasons. Smart home devices are a big draw. Patio covers keep the California sun at bay.
Does your home have a swimming pool? If not, it’s something to consider because to many people, California living means taking a dip on a hot summer day. Pools may add value, but it generally depends on how well maintained they are, what buyers want, and if they’re popular in the neighborhood.
The most glamorous backyard isn’t worth much if the landscaping is shabby, or even worse, dried out and susceptible to fires.
Fire-resistant landscaping is a plus for homes in Los Angeles and surrounding areas (where wildfires tend to flare up, even in safe California tree zones). Fire-resistant plants store water in stems and leaves, are drought tolerant, and have deep root systems.
Energy efficiency saves you money in the long run, and makes the house worth more. Indoor improvements could include neutral paint, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and new hardwood floors. Sealed windows, wall and attic insulation, energy-saving appliances, and a well-tuned HVAC system are on the list.
Large open-air kitchens with roomy countertops are comfortable to hang out in, especially when you just want to eat, cook, and socialize. Tearing out your entire kitchen isn’t always practical, but you can paint or replace cabinets, drawers and pulls, replace light fixtures, and chipped sinks.
Bathrooms are the most used spaces in the house -- there’s a lot of wear and tear going on in there. New fixtures, cabinets, shower doors, tiles, and toilets give the bathroom a refresh. Small changes in the bathroom mean a higher asking price.
Older houses don’t have built-in capability for home automation or instant Wi-Fi, but today’s technology lets us control all our gadgets from a tap of a cellphone. Wire the house for smart technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Another way to showcase your modern home is to set up a power station for juicing up tablets, phones, and computers.
How Home Improvements Off
When the time comes to put your California home on the market, you’ll already have given it a reboot. Upgrade now so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
James Winston is a home stager and freelance writer. He enjoys upgrading homes with all the latest gadgets and improving landscapes.