4 Home Remodeling Projects That Can Boost The Value Of Your Home (And 3 That Don’t)

Kenneth Wilson

Home remodeling projects can help make a home more comfortable and enjoyable. If done right, it can even add significant value to a home. 

Some homeowners think that all home improvement projects can increase the value because if one thinks about it, spending money on upgrading should increase its worth, right? While there are renovations that can boost the value of a home, there are also some that won’t, or worse, reduce it.

If you want to make sure that your investment to improve your home won’t go to waste, here are 4 home renovation projects that can increase the value of a home and give a good return on your money and 3 projects that won't.

Kitchen Remodel

One of the most popular home improvement projects is a kitchen remodel. Why? Because even minor improvements can boost the value of your home. Some examples of small kitchen projects are resurfacing kitchen cabinets, updating countertops, replacing the flooring, adding a window over the sink, upgrading appliances, and repainting. Not only will these upgrades increase the value, but it will also make the kitchen more functional and beautiful, which can make homeowners happier.

With a minor kitchen remodeling project, you may get a return of investment of around 83%. So if you spend $1,000 on the renovation, the value of your home may increase by about $830. This is one of the best returns for any home improvement project, but this doesn’t happen for all kitchen remodeling projects. 

One still needs to compare the cost of the materials and the value, especially if you plan to completely renovate your kitchen. If you're going to spend five to six figures on your project, make sure that it won’t cost more than half the value of your entire home. For example, spending $100,000 on a kitchen remodel for a $150,000 home. Don’t go overboard, which means not upgrading your kitchen that it becomes fancier than your home or even the neighborhood.

If you do plan a complete overhaul for your kitchen, it’s going to cost two to five times more than a small kitchen project. A major project usually involves upgrading appliances, updating or adding an island, and replacing the flooring, countertops, and cabinets. This would also help increase the value, especially if you’re planning to make it look updated and modern. You could get 60%, or best case scenario, up to 120% return on a kitchen remodel.

But if you don’t want to spend too much on your kitchen remodel, you can start with minor projects as I mentioned earlier. Repainting is a less expensive upgrade that can do so much for a kitchen. By using modern colors, you can already update the overall look of your kitchen. You could also do simple renovations such as fixing the lighting or replacing the sink. Maybe even reuse cabinet hardware instead of replacing them. Get them repainted or refinished with new handles, doors, and drawers. Even small upgrades like these can help upgrade your kitchen and increase its value.

Bathroom Upgrade or Addition

Another home improvement project where you can recoup a high percentage of your investment is bathroom remodeling. You may get an 86% to 94% return, if you do it right and don’t go overboard. Similar to a kitchen remodel, you shouldn’t over budget or spend too much on bathroom remodels. 

Some minor renovations you can do to make the bathroom look better are adding a new mirror, fixing the lighting, installing new fixtures, repainting, and re-grouting the tiles or bathtub. If your tiles don’t look outdated, the plumbing is working fine, and fixtures just need a little shine, then you can save on reconstruction and demolition expenses. This will also make it easier to remodel since you won’t have to deal with all that dust and debris.

But if the entire bathroom looks outdated, you might want to replace the flooring, countertop, and fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Make the bathroom look bigger by using glass doors for the bathtub and shower, and save space by using dual-purpose amenities such as a mirror that doubles as a cabinet. 

Getting an additional bathroom can also boost your home’s value and make it more functional if you only have one. You get almost the same return on this investment, and you won’t have problems with the bathroom schedule anymore. 

Most homeowners use an extra room or unused spaces for an extra bathroom. It doesn’t even have to be a huge space, so you can use small areas such as below the stairs or an unused closet space. Consider a half bath, which typically requires around 18 to 20 square feet. Also called a powder room, it usually just needs a sink and a toilet, but some half baths use a combination of sink and shower, toilet and shower, or bathtub and toilet. On the other hand, a full bath usually requires around 30 to 40 square feet. This will contain more fixtures such as a toilet, sink, and a stand-up shower, bathtub, or both. 

Attic or Basement Conversion

Some homeowners want to add square footage to their home, which is an incredibly expensive project that can escalate beyond the original budget. You may get a good return on this investment, but the costs may also go beyond your control. An alternative to this is converting an existing attic or a basement, which is a great investment that can also increase the value of a home.

Instead of using the attic and basement as a dumping area for unused items and clutter, you can reinvent these areas into a practical space. By reclaiming these rooms, they can help make your home more functional and comfortable. 

If you have an unused attic, there are many options you can transform it into. If your children want separate bedrooms, you can turn it into another one. For those who love arts and crafts, you can turn it into a craft room. This will lessen the materials and other art clutter in other parts of your home, and you have a work area where you don’t have to worry about the mess. You could also turn into a home office, a quiet space where you can have meetings and work in peace.

Other room options, which you can also do for the basement, are a home gym, media room, game room, or a playroom for the children. If you want to set up a gym in the attic, make sure that the flooring can handle it. For the basement, you should have proper ventilation. Both rooms are perfect for the media room, especially since it’s easier to darken these areas. 

You can also turn the basement into a second living room or a bar. A small and simple basement bar with basic features costs around $2,000 to $4,000. If you want a larger bar, complete with marble countertop, sinks, and tile flooring, it’s going to cost three times more but it still won’t be as expensive as adding square footage.

But be careful not to make it too customized. Not just the rooms, but it generally applies to all home improvement projects. If everything is too customized to your taste, personality, or needs, it may negatively affect the value of your home. You may want a game room or need a music room, but if you plan to sell in the future, potential buyers may not want it. The cost of turning the basement or attic into any of these may not reflect on the value for them. Consider this, especially if you plan to sell or move out in the near future.

Deck Installation

If you want to expand your living area without spending as much money as adding square footage, consider getting a deck installed. It expands your outdoor living space and yields a high return on investment of around 65% to 80%. It varies depending on the location since the construction costs can be higher in some regions, but the return on investment also increases with it. If you have perfect weather for outdoor living and temperate climate year-round, then a deck will be a worthwhile investment.

When installing a deck, it will be more valuable if it contains unique upgrades such as a fire pit or built-in benches and uses quality materials. These are also the factors that will significantly affect the cost, along with the size and design. If you want to know about the different decking materials and their cost, check out this guide.

While these projects may seem doable to DIY, which will also make it cost less to around half the original price, it will be challenging to work on. You will need source materials and specific tools, which can also be expensive, especially if you’re just going to use them for once. You could do some minor renovations, but if you want quality output and results that will boost the value of your home, hire a professional.

It is also challenging to find a reputable contractor. You need to interview multiple contractors and compare prices. If you want to make this process easier, you can check out Networx. You can easily find licensed and insured contractors in your area, saving you time and effort on comparing quotes. 


Home Remodeling Projects To Avoid

Home renovation projects should boost the value of a home, right? Not always. There are also projects that won’t be worth it, especially if you plan to move out in the next two to three years.

While it is recommended to avoid these projects, it doesn’t mean you can’t do any of these. Just don’t expect that the amount you spent will have the same increase in value.

If you want to know which projects to avoid, here are upgrades you're better off not spending money, time, and effort on. 

New Master Suite

According to Remodeling’s 2020 Cost. vs. Value report, a master suite has the lowest return, especially an upscale one. On average, you’ll get around half of your investment with a new master suite. 

One possible reason for this is because customization and preference play a huge role in adding a master bedroom. You would probably be specific with the design and add your own personal touches, which other people will view differently. For example, a built-in closet is great but some won’t see the value of having one. If you do plan on adding a master suite, make sure that you won't be moving out anytime soon.

Over The Top Landscaping

Another remodeling where your personal taste will come into play is a landscaping project, especially an extensive one. It might not be worth the time, money, and effort, nor increase the value of your home. 

A better alternative to better landscaping is a well-maintained yard. Check out these guides on how to maintain a green lawn and keep your lawn manicured. If you choose to renovate your landscape, make subtle changes that won’t make your yard too personalized.

Luxury Upgrades

Some people think that using expensive materials or getting high-end upgrades will increase the value of a home, but more often, it does not. As mentioned earlier, a home that is too customized may negatively affect its value. A potential buyer may not find expensive or handmade designer materials for tiles, flooring, and wallpapers worth the addition to the price of a home. A luxury upgrade is only worth it if is for a high-end home. This is because buyers expect to see these luxury additions, but even then, it still does not guarantee a good return of investment. 

It’s better to invest in quality and not outdated materials, appliances, and upgrades. You should also make sure that your high-end additions won’t make give your home the highest price tag in the neighborhood. It’s better to be on par with your neighbors and not be the most expensive house on the block.

Kenneth Wilson
September 1, 2020

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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