Home Improvements: Which ones pay off and which ones are just for looks?

By Erik Folgate



If you are a homeowner, and you are planning on making a home improvement, consider some of these tips from smart money before going ahead with mounting the plasma television in your bathroom.

The Kitchen
According to Smart Money, the home improvement that will give you the best return for your money when reselling is a Kitchen Improvement.  Remodeling magazine says that the average upgrade will cost about 42 grand, but I think you can do that for cheaper if you do many of the upgrades yourself.

The Bathroom
Upgrading your bathrooms is nice, but ADDING another bathroom is invaluable.  The average bathroom addition costs about $22,000, but it recoups its cost by about 86% at resale.  If you are going to add a new bathroom, don’t go cheap.  Add a roman tub, double vanity, and nice tile flooring.

This is the most bang for your buck.  You can build a very nice deck for about $6,000 and it adds square footage to your house.  Plus, it is very appealing when showing a house.  People like the idea of grilling out on the deck and drinking a beer.

Any Additions
This is obvious, but any time you increase the square footage of your home under air, you will increase the value of your house greatly.  Also, changing a drab floor plan by knocking out a wall here and adding a wall there can also add some good value to your home.

New Windows
First of all, it will help your utility bill greatly.  People that know something about real estate will definitely look to see if the windows have been updated lately.  They can be redone for about $7,000 to $8,000 and they recoup about 85% of their value.

Swimming Pool
It’s better to have one of these if you live in warmer climates, but buyers love to see a swimming pool in the backyard.  They are costly to maintain, but well worth putting one in to boost the resale value.

I think this is good information in soon-to-be slower real estate markets where it will be harder to sell homes.  Think of creative ways to set your home apart from others.  Even basic improvements and yard maintenance can help a home to hold or increase its resale value.  I HATE going to look at a house that has a crummy yard.  It tells me that the current owner had no pride of ownership.  Again, most of these were common sense, but sometimes we get caught up in gimmicky home improvements rather than the staple improvements that give solid resale returns.



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