There are dozens, if not hundreds, of potential home improvements to consider in your house, from upgrading the windows to renovating the bathroom. But with so many options and with so many different ways of tackling those projects, it’s hard to know what’s worth the money.
Is there a simple formula for determining whether a home improvement project is worth the investment and time?
Excellent Options for Home Renovations
To start, these are some of the best home renovations and improvements you can buy.
Bathroom renovations are both common and extremely valuable, despite the fact that they can also be somewhat costly. With a single bathroom renovation, you can instantly make your bathroom look cleaner, newer, and more inviting. Depending on the scope of changes you introduce, you might even get access to new functionality; for example, you could install a bathtub or shower in a bathroom that didn’t have one before. This should greatly increase the value of your home while simultaneously making it more livable.
Similarly, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house, so it stands to reason that a major renovation in this area could make a huge impact. A new set of appliances, new cabinetry, and new countertops can instantly make your kitchen feel new again.
If your windows are so old you can feel the breeze through them on cold days, or if you can no longer get them open, it’s probably time to replace them. Replacing windows greatly increases the value of your home while simultaneously increasing the insulative capacity of the structure and thereby reducing your utility bills.
Almost anything you invest in landscaping is going to return its value to you eventually. Better landscaping greatly improves the curb appeal of your home, making it more visible and attractive to buyers. It also gives you more aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable outdoor space to relax in during your personal time.
Replacing the roof
If your roof is doing its job and is less than 10 years old, it probably doesn’t need replacing. After that, replacing a roof becomes a serious consideration. This is an expensive project, but a totally worthwhile one; your roof is responsible for protecting your home, so it’s important to keep it up to date.
Finishing the basement or attic
Finishing the basement or attic of your home is going to increase the total square footage, add new space to explore, and potentially serve as an extra pseudo-bedroom to a prospective homebuyer in the future. Plus, if you plan on staying in your house a little while longer, you can take full advantage of this extra space however you want.
A new front door
A new front door doesn’t exactly qualify as a full renovation, but it’s an inexpensive home improvement project that can add considerable value to your house. This is especially true if your old front door has started to show significant signs of wear.
A fresh coat of paint, applied to either the exterior or interior of your home, can make it look newer, cleaner, and more vibrant. This is also an opportunity to paint with a more neutral hue, so you can increase your overall appeal and sell the home faster. This incredibly inexpensive job can make a big impact on your home value and sale price.
A Simple Formula for Evaluating Home Improvement/Renovation Value
You can tell if a home improvement project is “worth it,” generally, by estimating its total return on investment, or ROI. Here’s how to do it:
Estimate the costs
First, it’s important to estimate the costs. Get a list of all the materials you’re going to need or get quotes from multiple contractors. Then, increase the total estimated costs to make your estimate more conservative; underestimating costs can ruin an otherwise profitable project.
Estimate the time and effort
Also factor in the time and effort required by this project. How much is this going to disrupt your life?
Estimate the home value increase
From there, you can speculate about the potential home value increase you’re going to see. Most improvement and renovation projects won’t completely pay for themselves, but this is unnecessary anyway; any project with an ROI of 80 percent or higher is definitely worth considering.
Estimate the practical value
Finally, consider the practical value of your project. Is this going to give you new functionality while you continue living in the home? Is this going to save you money on your utility bills?
Once you have all these figures, you can compare them and combine them to figure out the overall ROI of a given project. If this project is estimated to increase your home value by $10,000 and increase your quality of life while you live there the next 5 years, it’s probably worth spending $12,000 or more on it – but if it costs $50,000, the conclusion is less clear.
It’s not always easy or straightforward to tell which home improvements and renovations are going to provide significant value to you as a homeowner. But if you’re willing to make some accurate estimations and crunch the numbers, you can get a better feel for whether a project is worth taking on.