Home renovation is a big undertaking with considerable costs and time commitments. False starts or changes in the middle of a project can be expensive. It pays to consider your options and plan everything out ahead of time, to decide on exactly the kind of renovation you want — and then commit to the plan.
Home renovations are going on all across America, and let’s face it: Some are going better than others! The process of renovating your home—whether it’s a minor bathroom update or a full-scale addition—has the potential for all kinds of problems and challenges. Building materials and workmanship, sizing and dimensions, and budgeting are just some of the renovation roadblocks that can appear.
Of course, figuring out the best plan for you involves a number of variables. Your budget, the current state of various areas of your home, the size of your family and the unique requirements you have for a living space—these are all important things to factor in.
If you’re looking to sell in a few months or even a year’s time, talk to a real estate agent before you start making any major improvements. Oftentimes, it’s better to save your money on minor fixes and repairs that would get flagged in the home inspection and put the for-sale sign up, rather than drag out your listing with last-minute renovations. But there are certain renovations that people generally report being happy with. Here’s a list of what many Americans consider the most useful and valuable home renovations you can make.
- The Bathroom
- This is actually the clear winner. According to some figures, over three quarters of all renovations in the United States are focused on bathrooms. And why not? People spend quite a bit of time there, and a freshly remodeled bathroom—or an additional new bathrooms—can add definite value and enjoyment to a home.
A more efficient bathroom will save you money in the long run and reduce strain on the environment. Remodeling the bathroom gives you the chance to replace the old inefficient pipes and fixtures that save on the electricity bills and curb water usage. A brand new bathroom also helps inspire offers on your house, and small, inexpensive updates to this space could help you fetch 2-3% more for your house.
- The Kitchen
- This is another popular choice as the kitchen is considered the center of the home. A clean, modern kitchen with a functional design is a pleasure to spend time in. It’s where everyone congregates. Many homebuyers make their home buying decision, assuming the house in their budget and in their preferred neighborhood, based on the outside curb appeal and the appearance of the kitchen. Real estate agents know that newer kitchens command higher home prices. Plus, with newer kitchens come modern, high-efficiency appliances, saving you money and making cooking and spending time in the kitchen even more enjoyable. Eat-in kitchens and kitchen islands are especially popular in recent years. The kitchen is the heart of the modern home.
- New Siding
- A fresh exterior adds that ever-important curb appeal to a home, which increases value. However, new siding is a popular choice even for owners who have no plans to sell. The siding on your house and garage isn’t just for looks. Regular upkeep of your home’s exterior is essential to the integrity of your entire structure. If the structural components of your home have prolonged exposure to the elements, it will result in deterioration of the frame and lead to a much more expensive problem.
- Doors and Windows
- People are often surprised what a different a new door (especially an entry door) or new windows can make. They can also increase heating and cooling efficiency. When Correctly installed, high quality windows and doors will reduce outside noise and increase your homes privacy since closed windows and doors screen out noise pollution. Achieve consistent performance in your home and start feeling more comfortable throughout the entirety of your house.
When you update older windows by replacing them with new energy efficient vinyl windows, most homeowners will notice significant savings on their energy bills. By upgrading all of your windows at once, you will maximize the money you save immediately and for years to come.
- Decks and Patios
- These additions can potentially add a great deal of function to a home without putting too much strain on the budget. A gorgeous deck can increase the value of your home and an old deck in disrepair can be dangerous. Make sure you have adequate deck lighting, and your rails are up to the newest safety standards. adding a fire pit along with an outdoor bar can extend the length of the season you can enjoy and entertain in your backyard. Add a retaining wall for beauty and extra seating.
For the ultimate in extending your patio’s seasonal use, consider wrapping it with walls and building a screened in patio. A screen and roof can be attractive and low profile, while providing shade and keeping out insects. This can be an especially welcome feature in warmer climates.
- An Attic Bedroom
- Could that dusty attic space actually become a bedroom? In many cases it can, adding a bright and livable space that wasn’t there before. Converting your attic into a bedroom can add a lot of value to your home. A new bedroom will result in a larger return on investment when you decide to sell. According to the National Association of Realtors, homeowners that had an attic bedroom conversion saw an average return on investment of 61% when they sold their house.
- A Refinished Basement
- Many houses have a dank, musty basement just waiting to be renovated. The space can be transformed into a recreation area, kids play area, organized storage space or a little retreat for visiting guests. This can be one of the more costly renovations, but that investment can be recuperated in terms of market value. Although it may not be considered “livable square footage” by the MLS, a finished basement does offer a great return. In the United States, on average, finishing a basement will give you a return of 70 to 75% of your investment.
Which Renovation is Right for You?
This is just a list of the most popular and routinely successful home renovations. When it comes to your individual home, the number of possible renovation projects is virtually endless.
Whatever area of the home you decide to renovate, proper planning is essential. Whether you’re going the DIY route or bringing in a professional, it’s a good idea to consult someone who knows home renovations, has done them before, and can advise you on how to stretch your renovation dollar to the max.