With home prices up in some areas, the return on remodeling investments at resale can be good. Making little changes can have big impacts when it comes to remodeling your home to sell.
Some updates will return as much as they cost in hotter markets, but unless your home is in a rapidly inflating city, you may not get enough bang for your buck.
But the lesson isn't to avoid remodeling your home. It's to rethink your expectations. Do you want to enjoy your updates for a few years? Or do you want to make your home more immediately appealing to homebuyers?
If you're remodeling for your own household, updating a home has a legitimate purpose that is unquantifiable. When you add square footage, update systems and fixtures, or rearrange traffic flow, you improve the functionality of your home. Refreshing wall colors, window coverings, and flooring adds to the beauty and enjoyment of your home. Many would consider that money better spent, and if you decide to sell in a few years, you'll be ahead of the game in terms of updates that will appeal to homebuyers.
But if you're remodeling strictly for the next buyer, there's some risk. Will you choose the right elements to appeal to the next buyer? What if they don't share your taste or appreciate the areas where you allocated your remodeling budget?
Start with what absolutely has to be done, whether you plan to stay in your home or not. You may be tempted to put off replacing the roof for an average of nearly $20,000, because Remodeling Magazine says it will only return approximately 72 percent of costs. But a new roof could make the difference in whether or not an FHA or VA buyer can buy your home and pass government inspection.
Otherwise, stick to smaller updates that can yield big impacts in terms of curb appeal, safety and building integrity. The top five cost-to-value projects that netted the most return in 2015 were:
- Replacing the front door with a 20-guage steel door - 102 percent.
- Manufactured stone veneer -- 92. 2 percent
- Fiber-cement siding -- 84.3 percent.
- Garage door replacement -- 82.5 percent
- Wood window replacement -- 78 percent.
As you can see, the most lucrative projects for resale were all about curb appeal. Seal the deal with a new welcome mat, new sconces to complement the new steel door, and potted plants for color. Wow your buyers on the outside and they'll be more likely to choose your home over the competition.