Top Real Estate Renovations with the Best ROI

Posted by Larry Tollen on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 at 9:57am

Top Real Estate Renovations

Top Home Renovations/Improvements

With so much time indoors in 2020, we know many of our clients are looking for ways to get more enjoyment out of their home. As you prioritize your remodel plans or wishes, it is always a good idea to consider the potential resale value. With nearly 75 years of combined residential real estate experience, we have seen renovations that help sell a home and increase it's market value, as well as renovations that limit a home's broad market appeal in equal measure. While many sellers are under the false impression that renovation projects such as major kitchen and bath remodels, master suite additions, and swimming pools, will substantially increase the value of their home and this isn't always the case. Major renovations/improvements like these undoubtedly increase a homeowners enjoyment and if they are done with the homeowners expectation that they will be living in the home for another 5 years or so, then there's no reason not to consider them. However if a major reason for undertaking renovations is for resale value and broad market appeal, then they may not make good financial sense. Buyers can have differing tastes and some things that you may find to be desirable in your home, others see as undesirable. Below are our suggestions for the renovations that offer the top return on investment (ROI). Please note where we list specific figures for renovations, these are based on the national average costs reported in Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs Value Report and are may not represent the actual costs or anticipated returns here in the Research Triangle. Please contact us for referrals to contractors and our trusted vendors!

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home in the Coming Year

When you are selling in the year, and looking for a new home, there are some minor renovations that can definitely make your home more desirable than others on the market. A more desirable home leads to multiple offers, better terms, and a quick sale. The current market conditions are such that even less desirable homes are often being sold at above market value in record time, because the inventory is constricted in Research Triangle {Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh metro area}. Nonetheless, here are our suggestions for renovations if your plan is to sell your home within the year.

  1. Kitchen: Minor Kitchen Remodel: What is a minor vs major kitchen remodel? This can be a numbers game, but generally we are referring to the replacement or Updated Kitchenrefinishing of  cabinets, countertops, fixtures, and some appliances. Depending on exactly what you do (and the size of your kitchen) this can cost as little as $8000 and as much as $25,000. Modern, up to date kitchens will always be high on homebuyers "want" list and are near the top of the list in terms of increasing market appeal. Depending on what you do and spend you can anticipate a ROI of between 80-120%. Keep in mind, even in a minor remodel, sticking to neutral tones and natural finishes is your best bet.

  2. Siding Replacement: New siding increases the curb appeal of a property and its value. Whether you are using Fiber Cement Siding or Vinyl siding, you will recoup between 75-80%. Fiber Cement siding is more popular because it looks more natural and does not suffer from bad weather. Residing will definitely increase marketability but typically you'll only recover approximately 75% of the cost. If your current siding is in generally good shape; you may want to consider having it repainted before listing your home. Repainting can run between $4,000 - $12,000 depending on the size of your home and the condition of the siding and how many coats are required. A good professional paint exterior paint job will also increase your home's marketability and you'll see a return on your investment of between 80%-125%

  3. Garage Door Replacement: Garage doors are functional and greatly increase curb appeal. The average cost of replacing a garage door is between $2500 and $4000 and you stand to recoup 90% - 100% of the cost

  4. Refinishing Hardwood Floors:Refinished Hardwood FloorsRefinishing hardwood floors is a great way to increase curb appeal. Figure it will take a week. This is a project that should be undertaken by a professional to properly prepare the floors and seal them. Here in the Research Triangle market figure it will cost roughly $3.50 per square foot. If your floors are scratched and scuffed, it's definitely worth considering as it makes a noticeable difference in how a home is perceived by potential buyers. As we tell our sellers, people buy with their eyes and newly finished, hardwood floors absolutely grab buyers attention. We typically see homeowners getting a return 100% of the cost when they do this.

  5. Steel Door Replacement: Insulated steel doors add security, increase energy efficiency, and overall are a relatively inexpensive upgrade. The average steel door replacement costs between $1500 - $2000. In terms of ROI figure you'll recoup roughly 70% - 75%.

Prior to listing your home, there are a number of basic steps to take for increasing curb appeal. Since we outlined renovations, here's some simple inexpensive tips guaranteed to make your home stand out from the competition, generate more interest and net you a higher price.

  1. Painting: If you have painted rooms in colors that are specialized, or if your home's interior hasn't been repainted in the past few years we do recommend repainting prior to listing. While this is something you could do yourself, it's important to do a quality, professional job. This means, taking the time to properly prepare the walls, patch and sand where necessary, tape off the trim and ceiling edges and make sure the walls are well lit (many pros use spotlights for this) and allow enough time to do the job to be done correctly. If you don't have the time or experience, by all means use a professional. Be sure to use flat paint colors for all interior walls, as even the slightest gloss will highlight all imperfections. Gloss does make a painted surface easier to clean and in some paints adds some anti-microbial properties. The only places you may wish to use a low gloss paint (Often referred to as eggshell) would be in bathrooms or other high moisture areas. A good professional quality paint job offers the best ROI there is as it will easily generate 150% return on the cost. If your home's interior paint is scuffed, dirty and beaten up the ROI could be as much as 200%

  2. Power Washing: A simple power washing, everywhere, is a great way to help your home look its best. From sidewalks to the exterior, power washing is one of the items Defined Landscape we recommend to all sellers. Power washing typically runs between $400 - $1000 depending on the size of your home and what you're having done. Power washing is what we consider a no brainer as you'll easily get a return of anywhere between 100% to 500%.

  3. Landscaping: Landscaping for a home can be very expensive, but mulching, trimming, definition and  edging is not. Prior to listing, and especially prior to photos, have a landscaper redefine your beds with edge and mulch. If your back yard is part lawn and part woods make sure this cleaned up so that each area is clearly defined. Trim overgrown shrubs, and low hanging branches or branches that overhang or touch the exterior of your home. Depending on your time and interest this can easily be a DIY project.

  4. Fixtures: If you are remodeling or refreshing areas of your home prior to listing, do not forget the fixtures. Within a room the knobs, light and plumbing fixtures and any accessories like towel bars, toilet paper holders shower curtain rods should all have the same finish whether it's chrome, brushed stainless steel, etc. In this vain all of the outlet and switch plate covers should be the same color and that color really should match the actual switches or outlets. Brown electrical outlets or switches with white or almond colored cover plates look bad.

Long Term Improvements (when selling is 3+ years out)

If you were a first time buyer, or are considering expanding your family in a several years, or you would like to care for aging family members and are considering more space, there are some renovation tips that will increase the return on investment. These suggestions increase curb appeal, resale value, and your enjoyment!

  1. Kitchen Remodel: Upgrading appliances, upgrading fixtures, upgrading flooring, and moving towards a better layout, increases your enjoyment and increases the resale value of the home. While major renovations are not recommended prior to listing a home, if you plan on being in the home for years, you will get to enjoy a new kitchen.

  2. Crown Molding: Molding finishes a room. It can make a room appear larger than it is, it can increase the impact of a paint color, and it can cover imperfections. Investing in crown molding increases ROI and enjoyment.

  3. Hardwood Flooring: Hardwood floors are easily one of the most popular selling features of a home. Additionally, they are desirable to live in. According to CNN, they increase desirability by 3-5%. They cost on average $7-$10per square foot, but the majority of this cost will be recouped when selling your home.

  4. Quality Painting: We recommend painting at any stage of renovation, whether you have 3 weeks to list your home or 3 years. Good paint jobs can last longer than 5 years, and they can change appearance and desirability, drastically

  5. Roofing: A roof in good repair adds value to a home. Recently here in the Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham area depending on the type of roof and how long ago you roofed we see sellers recouping between 70-85% of the cost. This is a big ticket item and one that buyers are keenly aware of. With the expenses related to buying a home, a New Roofs increase marketability and resale pricesignificant number of buyers simply don't have the extra cash to handle replacing a roof in the first year or two of home ownership. This means a number of potential buyers are likely to pass on your home who might otherwise make an offer. Keeping a roof in good repair is an essential part of home maintenance. When there is a threat of storms or inclimate weather, a roof in disrepair can cause a lot of unnecessary stress, headaches and expense.

  6. Window Replacement: Replacing your windows with Vinyl is an excellent upgrade that typically recoups between 70-75% of your investment. Not only is the replacement aesthetically pleasing, new windows are more energy efficient.

  7. Deck Additions: Adding deck space is a fantastic addition as they increase your livable space. Buyers love the idea of outdoor living space, outdoor kitchens and screened in porches. Don't wait to to this for the buyer, do it 3 or more years in advance and enjoy them. Prices can vary quite a bit depending on a number of factors, but in general you can safely count on recouping at least 70% of the cost.

It's always to your advantage to consult an experienced Realtor if you are looking to sell within a year to get market specific insights about what the other homes on the market are selling for and what upgrades are popular with buyers in your area. If you learn that your home is likely to get top market pricing without the improvement or renovation, consider listing right away. If some sprucing up and improvements are suggested; when you have a remodeling budget, you'll know you are spending it wisely, even if you are not immediately considering resale. Contact My NC Homes  to discuss the value of your home on the current market, and what the added value would be in your neighborhood in particular. We are seeing homes go under contract sometimes within a matter of hours after listing, and we are happy to provide you with a complimentary pricing analysis. Call My NC Homes today!

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