Which home updates will pay off when it’s time to sell?
by Lisa Iannucci
Are the kids out of the house and you’re ready to downsize? Maybe you want to stay put and simply desire an upgrade that will pay off down the road. Whether now is the time to stick your ‘for sale’ sign in the grass or you want to remodel for your benefit, take a good hard look at the outside of your home. What would a potential buyer see? If your home is more fixer-upper than move-in ready, it’s time to spruce it up, but where should you put your money that will get you the biggest bang for your hard-earned bucks?
“Most interior or exterior fix-ups are first done out of necessity and then done to improve your home’s curb appeal,” said Texas designer Pablo Solomon.
Updating the natural curb appeal of your home could mean up to a 120 percent return at resale, 20 percent more than the initial investment, according to Kayla Hein, creative director of Modern Castle in Ludlow, Mass. “Being the first thing that a potential buyer sees, the exterior is a worthwhile place to drop some cash.”
Hein said that when renovating your home’s exterior, there are two areas where your money can go – into the house or into the landscape. “It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint and some new door hardware can do for a home’s exterior,” she says. “It could also be as simple as freshening up existing beds with bright annuals and fresh mulch. With these quick fixes, you could expect up to a 200 percent return, receiving back twice the amount that you initially put into the project.”
You may also want to consider adding interesting elements like cedar planter boxes, accent shutters or new light fixtures to highlight special areas of the home’s exterior. “Something like this should yield 150 percent return from the initial investment,” Hein says.
Is your home hidden under natural overgrowth, such as trees, vines, or shrubs? “Be sure to remove those so the house stands out,” Hein says. “This is a simple fix, typically with no actual costs, but getting a buyer in the door can sometimes be the hardest part.”
You can immediately improve your home’s curb appeal by eliminating your old worn front door and replacing it with something more attractive. “Say goodbye to an old wood or steel door and say hello to a new steel entry door,” says Rhianna Miller, home and garden improvement expert at Rubber Mulch. “It may be hard to believe, but the single largest ROI comes from an entry door replacement. You’ll recoup around 90 percent of the $1,400 you pay for the door.”
What other projects have a high ROI? According to Remodeling’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, projects such as a backyard patio and the addition of a deck actually recoup less money this year than they did last year. For example, a backyard patio costs approximately $54,130 and recoups only $25,769, a 47.6 percent ROI. The addition of a composite desk can run home sellers around $17,668 while only recouping $11,239 or 63.6 percent of an investment.
“The important thing to understand is a deck, especially composite, is definitely a higher end addition that can run upwards of $15,000,” Miller says. “However, today’s homebuyer is most likely looking for this element in their future home.”
The good news though is that the addition of a wood deck – a $10,950 project – can recoup a whopping 82.8 percent of the costs.
What other projects have a high ROI?
1. New garage doors
“Older garage doors can be a real eyesore,” Miller says. “They typically lack proper insulation and other modern qualities. A new garage door will run approximately $2,000 and you can look forward to a 77 percent return.”
2. New roof
Replacing a roof dropped in recouping its costs in Remodeling’s survey, but if yours is really in need of patching, you may want to consider a full replacement. The last thing a potential buyer needs to see is worn shingles that cause leaks when it rains. “A new, well-maintained roof protects an entire home from weather damage,” Miller says. “The new roof can also vastly improve your home’s curb appeal and is often something that prospective buyers will want inspected. A mid-range roof replacement will run about $20,000, but the return on investment is upwards of 69 percent.”
3. Updated siding
“Outdated, faded siding will bring down your home’s value at an alarming rate,” Miller says. “The good news is that new siding will total about $15,000 and the return on your investment is a whopping 76 percent.”
For more substantial upgrades, like masonry repairs, Hein said that you can expect a 100 percent return. Basically, you’re getting back the money that you would pay into the project,” she says.
Of course, you may not have enough extra cash lying around to complete all of these projects, so choose the one that will fix the biggest eyesore and get that buyer to make an offer and sign on the dotted line.