Home Improvement and Resale Value

Home improvement is a popular way to make a house feel like your own, but it’s important to consider how the project will impact resale value. Some renovations aren’t worth the extra cost and can actually decrease a home’s value, real estate experts say. Before making any major changes, discuss your plans with a realtor. He or she will be able to tell you whether your plan will boost or hurt the property’s resale value.

While many homeowners think a new master suite will boost their home’s resale value, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for all projects. Homeowners need to take into account the overall price of houses in their area and what buyers are looking for in a home, says Real Estate Witch. The goal is to get a good return on the investment in the long run.

The types of home improvements surging this year are mostly outside jobs, such as building decks and fences, Anderson says. That’s because more homeowners are staying put, deterred by historically high mortgage rates and the expense of moving.

Some homeowners may be tempted to go the do-it-yourself route with some of these projects, but hiring professionals with a track record for quality work can save time and money in the long run. And if the project goes wrong, you can file a claim against the contractor under Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act for actual damages plus a $500 penalty and reasonable attorneys’ fees, says Gordon.

Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you should skip a fancy bathroom renovation, such as installing heated floors or frameless glass showers. These features can be a turn-off for potential buyers, who may see them as excessive and expensive. Instead, you can improve a bath’s look for less by repainting the cabinets or adding new hardware.

One smart investment is replacing old windows with energy-efficient models, which can increase your home’s comfort while decreasing its utility bills, Fisher says. Depending on the type of windows, you can expect to recoup about 68 percent of the cost when it’s time to sell.

Other smart upgrades include adding a water heater and replacing old appliances with more efficient ones, which can help reduce the amount of electricity and gas used in your home. Buying a smart thermostat can also save you money on energy costs, and some models even allow you to control your heating or cooling from your phone.

Some of the most costly home improvements are those that add an outdoor living space, such as a deck or a pool. But those projects typically won’t recoup the full cost when it comes time to sell, Real Estate Witch reports. In general, it’s best to stick with updates that are likely to appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. That way, you can attract the highest-paying offers for your house.