What improvement will REALLY add value to my home?

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Unlike owning a car, owning a home can be a very lucrative investment—if managed properly. Large home improvement projects can be very costly—and some may not even add much value to your home at all. Knowing which improvements to do and how much value they will add to your home is key when managing you investment. We have put together a compilation based on numerous articles by US News & World Report and Better Homes and Gardens, home improvement “do’s” and “don’ts” based on their return on investment value.

DO:

1. Paint. Painting is the cheapest way to add thousands of dollars of value to your home. It is also one of the best DIY (do it yourself!) making it even easier and cheaper to do.

2. Remodel the kitchen. This does not have to be a complete remodel, but even putting in new countertops and painting the cabinets can add thousands of dollars to the value.

3. Install new flooring. Shiny new floors can really add pizzazz and value to your home. If you are looking to explore which type of floor, look at our FAQ article: “Is wood tile look alike easier to maintain than regular wood?”

4. Keep the yard groomed. The exterior is the first thing people see when driving or walking up to the house—you want to make sure all the vegetation and structures look good and are well maintained.

5. Open up space and let in light. Anywhere you can knock down a wall, open up a room and/or let in natural light, will immediately add appeal to your home—especially in main rooms like the living room or kitchen.

DON’T

1. Install a pool. Although a nice luxury, pools actually devalue your home as they can cost a lot to maintain and are a liability, especially in neighborhoods with families and young children.

2. Over-specialize. Installing overly specialized, non-traditional, or customized rooms. The more convertible a room is, the better. A potential buyer will not be impressed with a room that can only be used for one purpose.

3. Over-renovate. Especially with respect to the kitchen or bathrooms. Having stainless steel appliances in the kitchen with old linoleum floors (circa 1960) in the bathroom is not ideal. Keep the improvements streamlined and consistent throughout the house.

4. Let your house stick out. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners tend to make is renovating their home to a point where it looks gaudy and/or does not match the rest of the neighborhood. This is a big turn off to potential buyers, as they would rather see unity and uniformity of the neighborhood architecture.

5. Convert the garage. Sometimes homeowners see an opportunity to convert the garage and use it as another space—if this conversion becomes permanent, a potential buyer may be turned off by the lack of parking options.

We know you want your house to be both a place for you to call home as well as a lucrative investment when you decide to sell. Whether you tackle these projects on your own, or decide to hire outside, Totalhousehold's extensive database of certified contractors is the best way to get started.

—Carrie Pope

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