Across the country, there is currently a limited supply of available homes on the open market. This gives prospective sellers the upper hand in real estate negotiations, so many homeowners are looking to increase the future value of their home even further.
With a few strategic home improvement projects, you can not only increase your quality of life in the near-term future, but also add tremendous property value when you’re ready to sell. But which upgrades are the most likely to pay off down the road?
Below, 14 members of Forbes Real Estate Council share the best projects and room renovations to invest in right now.
Kitchens sell homes! The largest sell is absolutely the upgrades in a kitchen. The culture today is cooking from home as minimizing dining out can save money over time and be safer for families. A great benefit in renovating the kitchen now is that the homeowner can enjoy it, and the following year when they decide to sell, it can still be marketed as recently upgraded. – Christine Nieva, Nieva, Inc.
2. Home Office
Who hasn’t been on an important Zoom meeting when a family member comes in and says, “Did you feed the dog this morning?” despite the sign on your door that says, “Do Not Disturb!” I think a home office with one wall painted with green screen paint is called for. I’m over having Zoom meetings showing bedrooms with unmade beds! – Eileen Lacerte, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Island Lifestyle
3. ‘Tiny Home’ Backyard Offices
Well done kitchen and bathroom upgrades always make a home more livable, but recently, homeowners are buying tiny homes and prebuilding office space to put in the backyard to accommodate the new work from home trend. There are easy to get required permits for and it adds significant value for needed extra living space with an affordable price tag. Tiny offices cost around $8,000 installed and hooked up. – Timmi Ryerson, Smart Property Systems – Property Management
4. An Additional Room
When you are unable to easily increase the square footage of your home, adding an additional bedroom or bathroom will raise the property’s value. This can be done by converting an area in the home into an additional conforming bedroom or bathroom. Appraisers compare properties based on a multitude of factors, some of which are the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. – Mor Zucker, Team Denver Homes – RE/MAX Professionals
5. Everyday Hardware
Doorknobs, light switches and AC thermostats are items we interact with every single day, yet we rarely replace them. Upgrading the hardware used every day gives your home a more modern feel. To go the extra mile, add items that connect to WiFi. Both potential buyers and your family may appreciate not having to touch or disinfect them as often—especially during a pandemic. – Rodolfo Delgado, Replay Listings
6. Paints And Window Treatments
People are very sensory and visual when it comes to a home. Buyers know within the first 10 seconds of walking into a house if it feels like home. Economical options are to paint to brighten the space via light or warm colors. Update your window treatments to allow light into the home, and deep clean or replace your flooring. Odors, regardless of aesthetics, could make a home less desirable. – Bobby Bryant, Ask Doss
7. Fast Broadband Internet
With the rise of working from home, fast broadband is a necessity, not a luxury. Properties in some locations don’t always enjoy the best broadband availability, and the cost of a dedicated leased line has historically been prohibitive. However, there is now a legitimate argument that this is now more of an investment which can enhance the desirability and market value of a home. – Jonathan Hopper, Garrington
8. Energy-Efficient Equipment
As we move into the future, new homes are mostly equipped with energy-efficient equipment. Upgrading existing homes to be ultra-efficient with a combination of state-of-the-art energy-efficient equipment, as well as renewable energy systems will allow homeowners to have an improved quality of life and potentially increase their home value. – Marco Del Zotto, High Elevation Realty – RE/MAX Alliance
9. Garage Door
When looking at return on value, your home’s garage door(s) is one upgrade that returns higher than the average value. Not only does it provide a quality of life upgrade, but the curb appeal aspect entices the buyer as they can see the home has been taken care of before even stepping inside. Additionally, it makes for great professional photos for buyers looking at your home online. – Don Wenner, DLP Real Estate Capital
Update broken appliances every 10 years or so. People like to live in modern-feeling spaces. A nonworking stove or refrigerator screams neglect to renters touring a home. For first-time homebuyers, some expect modern appliances such as a washer or dryer. Modern appliances increase the quality of life and add home value for a rental or sale. – Chuck Hattemer, Onerent
11. Utilities And Roofing
Upgrade systems like plumbing, heating and air conditioning for your enjoyment and future resale. Also upgrade the roof and associated gutter system. This is not sexy, but really matters the most. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties
Bringing any home into a modern, yet timeless look is going to be beneficial. Updating kitchens and bathrooms are great ideas, but changing the flooring throughout a house has a huge impact as well. You can make rooms seem larger and brighter if you’re picking the right touches. – Marshall Friday, ADT Security Services
13. Organizational Systems And Outdoor Spaces
Typically one would think kitchens and bathrooms, but two top trends are shining through as value-add projects. First, with the rise of Marie Kondo and the prioritization of organization, high-quality organizational systems in closets and pantries are highly sought after. Second, with remote work and quarantine time at home, high-quality outdoor spaces and home offices have also become very sought after. – Matt Weirich, Realync
14. Home Improvements Recommended By Local Realtors
New roofs. New plumbing. Added bathrooms. Generators! It’s hard when you have a home as we want the look to be ours, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s a waste of money. I’d speak to a few realtors and ensure your area will benefit from extra home perks before you sink money in. It’s always smart if you are being conscious instead of decorative. – Heidi Burkhart, Dane Real Estate
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