If you’re considering a full or partial home remodel, you probably have several goals in mind—improving the functionality of your home, making things cleaner and more attractive, and perhaps most importantly, improving the value of your home. With the right approach, you can ensure that your project returns as much in the total value of your home as it cost in upfront expenses; this ratio is called your return on investment (ROI).
So what steps can you take to ensure you get the best ROI from your home remodeling projects?
Choosing the Right Projects
The first step is to choose the right projects, as not all home improvements yield the same value. The best home improvement projects can return up to 107 percent of the total costs at the time of resale, and some of the other top contenders can easily yield 80 percent or more. That doesn’t even include incidental returns you might get in the meantime—such as utility cost savings with energy-efficient installations.
These are some of the best projects you can choose, in terms of ROI:
- Kitchen remodeling. Kitchens are a high-traffic room, and one that forms the first impressions for many homebuyers. A few new appliances and high-quality installations can make a dramatic difference.
- Bathroom remodeling. Similarly, bathrooms have the power to dazzle or underwhelm. Updated plumbing and superficial features can make a house look far more attractive.
- New windows. New windows look good, open easier, and most importantly, vastly improve the indoor climate by providing better insulation. They not only increase your home’s value, they lower your utility costs as well.
- Attic finishing. Turning the attic into a well-insulated room can greatly improve the versatility of your home, outweighing its initial costs.
- New front door and garage door. You can also improve your curb appeal, and form better first impressions by installing a new front door and new garage door—especially if yours has suffered from wear and tear.
Trends and Longevity
No matter what type of project you start with, you’ll have a wide variety of options to choose from, including finishing, colors, and materials. It’s tempting to go with the latest trends—especially for high-traffic, trendy rooms like the kitchen—but before you jump on any decision, consider the lasting power of the options you’re choosing.
For example, over-the-range microwaves were a major fad for about a decade, but they’re starting to fade out of fashion in favor of more universal design principles. It’s tough to tell which trends are mere fads and which ones have the power to last, but when possible, opt for evergreen alternatives.
Avoiding Patchwork Fixes
If something breaks or wears down in your home, it’s tempting to break out a roll of duct tape and apply a patchwork fix—something to prevent any further damage, or perhaps make the home look presentable enough to sell. However, it’s usually better to invest the extra money and make sure you apply a permanent fix; otherwise, you might spend more in continued temporary fixes, and miss out on the potential value increase to your home.
Considering Your Options
Next, you’ll need to choose whether to hire a contractor or do the work yourself. There’s no single “right” answer here, but there are a handful of general considerations to keep in mind.
For the most part, doing the work yourself will be less expensive; you can buy all the materials you need for a lower price, and save the cost of labor. However, if you do something incorrectly, it could cost you even more money to have a professional come in and correct your mistake. Even worse, amateurish labor could result in damage to your home.
Working with a contractor might be more expensive upfront, but you’re more likely to get high-quality work done. Just make sure you spend some time looking at your options, and get multiple quotes before finalizing your decision.
Picking the Right Order
Finally, you’ll need to prioritize your home upgrades. Updates that have the potential to save you money over the course of living in your home, such as window upgrades, and those that have the longest lasting power, like roof replacements, should be prioritized. You should also try to group your planned upgrades; it makes more sense to remodel your bathroom all at once than it does to replace your shower, toilet, and sink all separately.
With these strategies, you can maximize your ROI, returning most or all of your investment to you in the form of additional home value. Take your time, plan out your projects carefully, and you can enjoy the quality and aesthetics of your home improvements without spending money unnecessarily in the process.