Remodeling for resale value is a tricky evaluation. The amount of the increase will depend on the area and quality of the remodel. For example, projects like kitchen renovations will return (on average) 90% on the investment. As the property value increases, so does the return on the investment in your remodel.
#1: Are renovations worth the money?
The answer to this question, like many other remodeling quandaries is, it depends! Yes, remodeling is worth the investment for the increase in satisfaction with your living experience. Is living in a house you spend a lot of time in worth the renovation investment? Based on the American Time Use Survey, we spent about 62% of our waking time at home. In contrast, we only spent about 50% in 2019.
Before you decide what areas of your home need renovation, ask yourself how much value you assign to being happy and comfortable in that space. Renovations are likely to increase the resale ability and value of your house. We all know that updated attractive homes sell quicker than outdated homes but be sure to evaluate your value before the potential return on investment.
#2: What renovations increase home value the most?
- Kitchens and bathrooms are the front runners, but their renovations typically come at a higher cost. However, buyers see remodeling these spaces as incredibly impactful because they are the rooms in a home with the highest use. Kitchens and baths, remodeled nicely, typically return 85 -100 % on the investment.
- The entry and garage doors have the highest return on investment and immediate impact on the buyer's eye. The investment is relatively small, and the value is significantly more than the cost. Replacing a front door alone will typically return between 110 - 130% on investment – It’s the first thing people see, and it sets the mood for the rest of the home.
- Renovating a bedroom is less costly than a kitchen or bath project but may only return 60-70% of the investment.
- In a scenario where you may only have one bathroom on the upper level of your current home, adding a first-floor bathroom can add a lot of value. However, this project will require a sizeable investment of both your money and time.
- Determining the “best” updates depend on what the market looks like. For example, in a sellers’ market, the aesthetic piece isn’t as important as it would be in a buyers’ market where you would want to update eye-catching “basics” like fresh paint in a neutral color, new neutral carpet or flooring, etc.
#3: What brings down property value?
While it may not be in the budget to do any major renovations, there are a few things to keep in mind that may drag your home value down.
- Removing bedrooms can be a detriment. For example, converting a 3-bedroom home into a 2-bedroom home with a walk-in closet or turning a bedroom into a dedicated office space could decrease value.
- Removing a bathroom to make a closet or other space will have a significant negative impact on your home value.
- Taking out the only bathtub in the home may not reduce the value of the house, but it may narrow the number of people who would be interested in the home. People with young kids or those considering starting a family will want at least one bathtub in their home. You may be excluding valuable buyers.
- Too much personalization in the décor, finishes, countertops, cabinets, etc. can also impact the number of people who would be interested in purchasing the home. When someone walks into a house and all they can see is everything they will need or want to change, it’s a harder sell.
- Unsightly curb appeal can immediately set a negative tone for the buyer. Remember, this is the first thing people see when they arrive at your property. If you have a broken front doorknob, broken gutters, a yard full of weeds, and a cracked driveway, those are all considerations the buyer will weigh when deciding to make an offer or not.
#4: What percentage of house value should be spent on renovations?
There isn’t a set rule of thumb on how much you “should” spend on a renovation. This is an individual decision depending on property location, the condition of the house, the neighborhood and nearby school system, how much value the investment will add to the property, and what value you assign to an update.
Just because 50% of your house value is $500,000 doesn’t mean you have $500,000 to spend on a renovation. Alternatively, maybe you do have $500K to remodel with if you purchased your house at a good price and the neighborhood would support the added value. Having the money to remodel with, however, doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth spending.
We recommend consulting with both your real estate professional and a trusted building professional when deciding if renovating to sell is in your best interest.
#5: What do appraisers look for?
Appraisers are looking at not only the space but the quality of the space. Professional appraisers can tell a well-executed remodel from a poorly executed remodel. This is why you should heavily consider the costs and benefits of remodeling options and always work with a trusted professional builder. Pouring the money into a renovation that ends up working against you is heartbreaking.
A few of the basics appraisers are looking for are:
- Number of Bedrooms
- Number of bathrooms (½, ¾ or full)
- Square footage (both built home and total property)
- The quality of the finishes in a home (hardwood, carpet, tile vs. laminate, granite vs. marble)
- Exterior items like structural cracks, roof quality, and driveway condition
- Overall condition of the home or potential maintenance issues
Remodel for your value
There is never a guarantee that your property value will increase based on the updates you put into the home. However, well-done remodeling projects typically return 80-90% of the cost of the project to the value of the home immediately. The additional value you get is the enjoyment of living in a beautiful and functional space. Homeowners should remodel for their own value, not for resale value.
When you’re ready to begin planning your renovation project, we’ve created some tools to help you along the way. Download our eBook, "Space Planning 101: How to Renovate Your Home Layout to Improve Functionality."