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Making Good Upgrades

If only you could just watch HGTV to learn everything you need about remodeling your home… sadly this isn’t the case. Whether you’re getting ready to list your house in the near future, or just wanting to get the most out of it- upgrading your house’s features can be tricky. What is going to be the wisest use of your resources? Should you replace some of your home’s carpet with hardwood floors? What about those laminate countertops you’ve been dying to upgrade to granite since day one? How do these improvements affect the overall value of my home?

Like most major decisions, evaluating which home upgrade to tackle is best done with serious preparation and study. Ask around first. Have any of your friends or neighbors recently completed any home improvements? Keep in mind that certain upgrades don’t always compare apples to apples. The property type, location, and price point all have influences on your home’s value; similarly, these things factor into the added value that new bathroom remodel you’re considering. Also, how recently the home improvement was completed determines how much its cost is recouped. The sooner your appraise or sell your home after an upgrade, the more effect the upgrade has on the home’s overall value. HGTV recently posted a great article about this very topic.

As a very general rule, kitchens and bathrooms are the two rooms in the house where upgrades count the most. It’s where builder’s spend the most per square foot to wow their buyers; therefore, it’s where homeowners spend the most on their existing home. Especially true in hot real estate markets like Middle Tennessee, homeowners can see returns of over 100 percent of the cost of their kitchen or bath remodel! This is not; however, a sure thing. Always check with your real estate professional before undertaking a major home project investment; have them look at value analyses on homes with and without your proposed improvement.

One of our client’s recently completed kitchen remodel.

A much more inexpensive possible investment into your home is additional insulation. Last year, Remodeling Magazine reported that new attic insulation was one the most effective ways to improve your home’s value. This is a clever choice, since this upgrade has a payoff even if you’re not immediately selling your home: increased energy savings.

Does your home have any room for additional square footage? The National Association of Realtors published a study back in 2005, where they claimed that every additional 1,000 square feet added 30% to a home’s value. While there aren’t many of us that have an extra 1,000 square feet we can finish out and add to our house… you might have a few hundred square feet of attic, basement, or garage space that we can convert.

Improved landscaping, replacing your roof, new siding… all these are options for upgrading the exterior of your house. But how does one quantify something as subjective as curb appeal. It’s tricky! Some of these projects can get quite expensive and without much payoff; however, if you’re trying to sell your home… ugly landscaping can scare away buyers before they’ve even had a chance to see your newly remodeled master suite! More on this topic later…

Regardless of your budget, home improvements are to be carefully considered. I’ve been in residential construction since I was 12 years old, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of home remodels. If you’re needing immediate help, contact me for more information, or for some of my recommendations on contractors and vendors I’ve had good experience with.



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