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Home Renovations That Really Pay Off

Show of hands… how many will admit to being a home renovation/design show addict? It seems that HGTV and DIY networks are the background noise of my life. I especially love Bang For Your Buck, a show that follow three different homeowners with identical budgets, renovating a room in their house and then revealing which renovation increased home values most. Secretly, I think I could host this show. I’ve seen hundreds of renovations (some great, some not so) during my years as a Realtor and I’ve often wished I’d been able to advise homeowners BEFORE they started their renovation.

Many people renovate their homes because they have specific needs for distinct areas of their homes. I’ve seen formal dining rooms converted beautifully to functional office spaces and I’ve seen two story family rooms closed in to create a cozier atmosphere and more living space on the second level. Yes, a renovation should always create a better living space for you and your loved ones, but it’s also important to consider how that renovation is going to pay off (or cost you) if you decide to list your home for sale.
Still others will begin a renovation knowing that they are preparing to sell their home and wanting to showcase their home in the best possible light. If you’re considering a mini home makeover (as opposed to a specific room renovation – I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of that in future blog posts), focus on the following ideas as you renovate and increase the value of your home.

  1. Let’s be honest. Most houses have some wasted space… plain walls on either side of a fireplace or an expanse of open space above kitchen cabinetry. Transform that wasted space into functional and fashionable space. Create a display showcase on those blank walls with crisp, white, open shelving. Extend cabinetry to new heights, banish the dust catching tchotchkes that used to live on top, and front those taller cabinets with glass doors to create a modern, clean appeal.
  2. Think about the areas of your home that have always appealed to you and then accentuate them further. If you loved the high ceilings in your living and dining rooms, create a dynamic impression by adding beaded board paneling and deep crown molding. Highlight a favorite chandelier with an impressive medallion that ups the elegance of your home.
  3. Want to add instant warmth and create a vibrant focal point in a room that lacks panache? Install a gas-log fireplace with a tasteful surround and classic wood mantel. Spring for realistic looking gas logs and watch the entire room transform into a masterful and captivating space.
  4. Add depth to a boxy room by changing a large standard window into a box or bay window. Add bench seating that opens for storage and you’ve not only added extra seating, but created a whole new impression for a room that was once ho-hum.
  5. Speaking of windows… replace old, drafty windows with energy efficient ones. Not only are new windows designed for easier cleaning and maintenance, but they’ll also cut your energy bills by hundreds of dollars each year and are a great selling point to discriminating home buyers.
  6. Hardwood floors create a beautiful foundation for your home, but if they are scratched and damaged, they may create an impression that your home hasn’t been properly maintained. Refinishing and refurbishing hardwood floors will enhance the look and value of your home.
  7. New lighting can transform a room from blah to brilliant. Pendant lighting over a kitchen island or a trendy chandelier that replaces flush mount lights in a home office adds flair and style. It’s a simple way to update rooms that might feel dated and will definitely yield a great return for your renovation investment.

Before you begin any renovation, consider consulting a Realtor (in addition to a designer) and ask for honest opinions about your ideas. We’re in the business of selling homes at the best possible price for our clients, so we’re always interested in helping you increase and maintain the value of your home.

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