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2021 Best and Worst Home Improvements

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2021 Best and Worst Home Improvements

The home-selling market is expected to pick up as 2021 goes on. Certain kinds of homes are in high demand, while others are being left behind. How can you be sure that your home will sell at the right time?

The truth is, there are a few guaranteed home improvements to add value to your home before a sale.  It can be hard to figure out which ones are worth your time, though. That’s where we come in.

This article will break down all the ways you can add value to your home through renovations. We’ll also tell you which ones to avoid! Certain renovations will be nothing but a time sink and wallet strain.

If you’re ready to find out the best home improvements to add value to your home, keep reading.

Why Home Renovations are Important

If you’re a first-time homeowner, you may wonder if you already have to worry about renovations. Home improvement is a job that never stops! Taking care of and upgrading your home to keep up with the market is vital.

Home improvement projects keep your mind active and keep your home looking beautiful. In addition to routine maintenance, renovating parts of your home will make its value appreciate. When you’re ready to sell, you’ll have no issue finding a buyer!

Making sure your home stays beautiful takes money and time. You’ll have to invest both your finances and your time, but it will be worth it in the end.

The Pros of Home Renovation

If you’re balking at the price of a home renovation, don’t worry. Later in this article, we’ll discuss the ways you can pay for your home improvements without going broke! But first, we want to convince you.

Here are a few reasons home renovation is worth it.

  • Higher market value: you can post your home for a higher sale price if there are modern renovations
  • More beautiful home: who doesn’t want to live in a more aesthetically pleasing home?
  • Custom home layout: through renovations, you can adjust your house into a dream home
  • Increased comfort: home improvements greatly increase your quality of life
  • Faster sales: having a modern, attractive home will make your buyers more competitive about the sale; they’ll move faster to close on the house, making the whole selling process easier

As you can see, home improvements do more than just make your home look nicer! They directly correlate to the value of your home and your own happiness. If you’ve been spending more time at home than ever, you understand the importance of a beautiful space.

The Cons of Home Renovation

There are a few downsides to home renovation, though. Home improvements can drag on sometimes and aren’t cheap. There’s a lot that can go wrong, especially without proper planning and preparation.

Here are the downsides of pursuing home improvement projects.

  • Upfront costs: home improvement aren’t cheap, especially if you want them done right; however, there are loans and grants available to homeowners to ease the financial burden
  • Uncertain return on investment: even the wisest renovations may cost more than you’ll recoup in the sale
  • No accounting for taste: unfortunately, the buyer’s market in your area may not like the same things you do; there’s no way to build a home that will appeal to everybody
  • Possible complications: there is a lot that could go wrong during the renovation process; this is why you have to work with a professional that you trust and make sure your homeowner’s insurance is up to date

However, these downsides shouldn’t deter you from pursuing home improvements you truly want. On the whole, home improvements will increase the worth of your home, but you have to choose the right projects.

Let’s dive into which home improvements are wise and which you should avoid.

Home Improvements to Add Value to Your Property

So, which home improvements are actually wise investments? Which ones are attractive to modern buyers? The 2021 market will be hugely competitive; make sure you stay ahead of the pack.

This list of home improvements is some of the best ones you can do. You’ll see the return when you try to sell your house! You can get up to an 80% return on your investment with these renovations.

We’ve included both major and minor improvements that can be made. Whether you’re trying to give your home a facelift or an entire makeover, there’s a renovation for you.

1. Bathroom Revamping

A remodeled bathroom is one of the most sought-after commodities in the housing market. Dated, old bathrooms are liabilities. They require tons of repairs and can discourage otherwise enthusiastic buyers from closing on your house!

Replacing the tiles, reglazing the tub, and putting up a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper can make your bathroom look brand new. Choose inviting colors that play well against each other and fit within the aesthetic of your home.

A minor bathroom remodels will be short and painless. It will also increase the value of your home by at least $10,000! You can expect to spend around $8,000 on a bathroom reno, making this a sound investment.

Average Cost: $8,000-$10,500

Average Duration: 1-2 weeks

Difficulty Level: Minor

Return on Investment: 100+%

2. Finished Basement

There are no limits to what a finished basement can be used for. An extra bedroom, gaming room, or just storage: the possibilities are endless!

When remodeling your home, you want to think about keeping the rooms as flexible as possible. You want future buyers to look at your home and imagine their own lives in it, not just remember yours. A finished basement is great for that.

On average, outfitting a basement will cost you around $50,000. This will take some time, as you’ll have to insulate the room and possibly put down new floors and lighting. But a finished basement can add an impressive $45,000 to a home’s resale value, and you’ll love the extra rec room!

Average Cost: $50,000

Average Duration: 2-4 weeks

Difficulty Level: Major

Return on Investment: 90%

3. Outdoor Deck or Patio

In the age of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, people are spending more and more time in their own backyards. This has created a higher demand for great outdoor living spaces. Therefore, adding a deck or patio to your home is a great idea!

Outdoor decks vary widely in price. If you build a small patio yourself, using tools you already have, you can spend less than $2,000! But if you’re not a carpenter, getting a deck built can run you $5,000 and up.

Depending on your deck’s size, material, and extra features, you can get up to a 100% return on your investment! Fancier decks command higher sale prices and make your house a commodity. You can add anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 to the sale price.

Average Cost: $5,000 and up

Average Duration: 1-2 weeks

Difficulty Level: Major

Return on Investment: 60%-100%

4. Updated Crown Molding

If you’re looking for a home improvement project that you can finish in a weekend, this is the one for you! Adding or updating your crown molding is inexpensive, easy, and can tie all your rooms together.

Crown molding can be added to your ceiling, floors, and doorways. You can find minimalist designs and intricately carved ones as well. Crown molding can be found at most hardware stores.

On average, you’ll spend around $130 per room. However, it will make your rooms look even better for photos and tours! It will add a slight bump to your sale price, but it’s so inexpensive it’s easy to recover the cost.

Average Cost: $130/room

Average Duration: 2-3 days

Difficulty Level: Minor

Return on Investment: 80%

5. New Windows and Doors

Did you know that old windows and doors are responsible for 25-30% of heat loss in homes? That means your heater and A/C are working overtime just to account for the windows! Today’s home buyers are environmentally-minded and want energy-efficient windows and doors.

Shop around for energy-efficient windows and doors. These will be insulated and will help keep the heat inside (or outside)!

Outfitting your home with new windows and doors will run you around $8,000-$10,000. However, you’ll qualify for a green tax credit and save over $500 a year on cooling costs! Having brand new windows will also allow you to add around $10,000 to your sale price, making this a great return on your investment.

Average Cost: $8,000-$10,000

Average Duration: 3-4 days

Difficulty Level: Minor

Return on Investment: 100%

6. Eco-Friendly Insulation

Like we said, modern consumers, are looking for energy-efficient homes. They want to know that their electric and heating bills won’t be exorbitant after moving in. Adding insulation to your home is an easy DIY home improvement that will make your home more valuable!

You can lay down insulation in your attic for less than $200, and then save up to $3,000 on energy bills in a year! Recently laid insulation can increase the value of your home by up to $5,000.

Buying environmentally-friendly insulation can also qualify you for a green tax credit!

Average Cost: $250

Average Duration: 1-2 days

Difficulty Level: Minor

Return on Investment: 200%+

7. Bathroom Additions

Adding more bathrooms to your home can greatly increase its value. If more than one bedroom has an attached bathroom, or you have multiple bathrooms on each floor, your home will be a commodity.

Adding bathrooms isn’t quick and can be expensive. However, modern buyers want more rooms and more space. Adding bathrooms for comfort is a wise renovation.

You can expect to spend upwards of $10,000 on bathroom additions. However, each extra bathroom directly increases the sale price of your home. You can recoup up to 130% on your investment!

Average Cost: $10,000-$15,000

Average Duration: 2-3 weeks

Difficulty Level: Major

Return on Investment: 80-130%

8. Kitchen Remodel

This is one of the most popular home renovations, and for good reason. You spend so much of your time in the kitchen; why not make it the best it can be?

Kitchen remodels are expensive, but they also draw a great price. A functional, attractive kitchen can add up to $40,000 to your sale price! You can recoup up to 200% of your investment if you’re smart about it.

You may be tempted to shell out for luxury appliances and countertops, but resist! Overly deluxe appliances are not great for increasing the value of your home. Instead, invest in a cohesive kitchen that’s great to cook in; design with function in mind, not frilly.

Average Cost: $20,000-$50,000

Average Duration: 1-3 months

Difficulty Level: Major

Return on Investment: 100-200%

Home Improvements to Avoid

Now that you know which improvements are worth your money let’s talk about the ones that aren’t. In order to sell to the new generation of home buyers, you need to know what they don’t want.

As you can tell, modern homebuyers are more utilitarian in their mindset. They want a home that will serve them well and present as few problems as possible. This may sound overly simple, but it manifests in different ways.

Let’s talk about what your potential buyers won’t pay extra for.

1. Sunroom

We know you imagine tranquil evenings watching the sunset. But sunrooms are quickly going out of style. Not only that, they’re stress on your home and heating and cooling system!

Due to all the windows and open space, sunrooms are difficult to regulate. They make the rest of your house colder or warmer, and your A/C will have to work overtime.

Sunrooms aren’t a hot commodity anymore, so you’ll only recoup about half your investment—if you’re lucky.

Average Cost: $46,000

Average Duration: 4-5 weeks

Difficulty Level: Major

Return on Investment: 40-50%

2. Grand Entrances and Decorative Doors

You may love the look of a grand entrance with windows and panels on the side. But here’s the bad news: they’re heat sinks, and they don’t add much value.

Grand entrances are unique doors are nice but don’t really improve the value of your home. Useful insulated doors and a freshly painted exterior will do more for your home than a fancy entryway.

Use the money instead to invest in landscaping and upkeep. Give your door a fresh coat of paint, and hang a wreath on the outside. Your buyers care more about the interior, anyway!

Average Cost: $5,000

Average Duration: 1-2 days

Difficulty Level: Minor

Return on Investment: 10-20%

3. Over-Customization

You may be tempted to paint a groovy mural on your living room wall or add a darkroom addition to your home. However, we encourage you to stay away from over-customization to your home.

You want to keep your home as open-ended as possible for the next buyer. Even if you want to install a permanent desk in your home office, the next owners may want to use that as a bedroom instead.

Plan your renovations around what will appeal to the most people. Resist the urge to over-customize your home!

Average Cost: N/A

Average Duration: N/A

Difficulty Level: N/A

Return on Investment: N/A

4. In-Ground Pools

Yes, they’re great in the summer. But the modern home buyers are disillusioned with in-ground pools. They know how much maintenance they take and don’t want to buy a home with that kind of liability.

If you really, really want a pool, put up an above-ground unit. But even this can actually detract from the value of your home. Some buyers do seek out homes with pools, but more will turn away.

Not only that, but you won’t get a good return on your investment. Due to the relative unpopularity of in-ground pools nowadays, you can maybe add $20,000 to your sale price.

Average Cost: $30,000-$70,000

Average Duration: 1-3 months

Difficulty Level: Major

Return on Investment: 30-40%

5. Whirlpool and Jacuzzi Tubs

These were huge in the nineties, but we maybe should have left them there. Modern buyers don’t want an oversized tub largely due to the maintenance they require.

Whirlpool tubs also don’t add value to your home. Even when coupled with a  fully refinished bathroom, a Jacuzzi may increase your sale price by $3,000 maximum. Installation alone costs close to $10,000, and it will raise your water bills considerably.

Average Cost: $8,000-$10,000

Average Duration: 1-2 weeks

Difficulty Level: Major

Return on Investment: 20-30%

Best Way to Pay for Upgrades

You may be thinking, “I don’t have nearly enough money in my bank account to fund renovations. How can I pay for it?”

Luckily, there are multiple ways to pay for home improvements that aren’t immediately out of pocket. You can apply for loans, lines of credit, and even government grants (if you qualify).

Here are some of the most popular ways to pay for home renovations:

  • Mortgage Refinancing: you can negotiate a lower rate with your mortgage company and use the extra money to pay for home improvements
  • Home Improvement Loans: offered by banks and credit unions, these loans are offered exclusively for home renovation costs.
  • Qualified Government Grants: if you’re a veteran, a new homeowner, or are installing forms of Green energy, you could qualify for a government loan
  • Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): these loans have lower interest rates and are easy to qualify for
  • Home Equity Loan: also known as a second mortgage, this loan is given out to help improve the value of your home

You may be wary of taking out loans to fund home improvement; that’s understandable. But now you know which renovations will be sound investments, and won’t waste the money you get! It’ll all pay off when you sell.

DIY Renovations vs. Hiring the Pros

For small and minor renovations, it may be tempting to attempt them yourself. If you have a background in construction or renovation, this can work amazingly! However, DIY home improvement usually leads to a bigger headache later on.

If your renovation has anything to do with electrical wiring or building, don’t attempt it yourself. These are too complicated for the average layman. Instead, shop around your local builders and renovation companies.

Even though you could save money by doing a project yourself, you miss out on experts’ craftsmanship. In order to guarantee a high market price, let the pros beautify your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where do I start?

When looking into home renovations, it can be difficult to know which room needs the most attention. Start with the most demanding repairs: replacing windows, adding insulation, etc. Then move on to the more cosmetic renovations.

2. How do I choose the right materials? 

You can never go wrong with natural materials. But if you’re unsure, talk to a professional. They can push you toward the longest-lasting materials for your home.

3. What can I expect to spend? 

It depends on the size of your house and the extent of the renovations. The cheapest of renovations usually cost between 8,000 and 10,000.

4. Should I follow the trends I see on TV? 

Not unless they’re truly timeless. Trends fade fast and can give your home a dated look. Stick with subtler designs that will age well.

5. What can I do myself?

Whatever you feel comfortable with! If you’ve made your own home improvements before, stick in your comfort zone. But never hesitate to call a professional; you may be in over your head before you know it.

Give Your Home the Roaring 2020s Treatment

Now you know all about the best home improvements to add value to your home! Redoing your house is a lengthy process; make sure that all your hard work pays off. Renovation and construction are not decisions to make lightly, but now you’ve done your research.

Before embarking on any renovations, make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy is up to date. Look to Lopriore Insurance for all your personal and commercial insurance needs. We can insure your home, your vehicles, and more!

Shoot us a message for a free insurance quote today.

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