Tips for home improvements that drive resale values

| by Gary Wollenhaupt
Tips for home improvements that drive resale values

Today homes are priced based on size or square footage, number of rooms, size of acreage, if any, and location. A house with upscale finishes and updates can command a better price or faster sale time. But which improvements pay off?

In an exclusive interview with, Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada, a cloud-based home improvement and organizational software tool, talked about some of the improvements that can make a difference in value.

Some home improvements can help you sell your homes faster because the updates are current and new, giving new homeowners the option to buy a home without having to make the investment in home improvements. The new home buyers can make use of what money they have after buying a home to decorate and personalize their new space.

"Many of the things that provide the most value are very cosmetic oriented things such as updating curb appeal with doors and landscaping," Dodson said.

However, the thing homebuyers are willing to pay for are beginning to change.

"Some things are being valued, especially by younger generations is energy efficient appliances," Dodson said. "If you have newer equipment like HVAC and water heaters, it runs more efficiently."

What else can people do to make their homes more attractive, and comfortable to live in?

"I'm a big fan of whole house fans. In some areas where it does get hot during the day, in the evening it's cool. You can use the fan to pull in cool outside air in to the home to reduce the use of your air conditioning unit.

"More people are making investments in generators just in case the house looses power for whatever reason. The amount of electronics that we now have in our homes is so great that having a backup system will ensure that you can use a piece of equipment whether you have it through your whole hose or you've zoned the generator for specific rooms."

Dodson offered some additional insight on home features that can improve resale values.

Front Doors

Replacing an entry door can actually drive the most amount of return on your investment at 96.6% according to the Remodeling Cost Value Index.  This is not surprising as your front door has a direct impact on curb appeal.  When new buyers enter via a beautiful door, they gain the confidence that what is inside is as beautiful as this new door.  Front doors are also relatively affordable to replace with a cost between $400 - $1,000. 

Garage Door

Garage doors are similar to front doors as they can make the difference in the way your home appeals from the street. Garage doors are also relatively affordable in that a door could cost between $700 - $1500 with roughly an 84% return on your investment. 

Adding Space

Investing in more space in your home like converting an attic into a room or making a basement functional or even adding more rooms to your existing home can give your more value to your home. However that value might be in being able to meet market needs.  If your neighborhood’s average home has four bedrooms and your home has three bedrooms, adding another room could be the difference whether your home will sell for similar prices to your neighbor’s homes or whether your home will be considered in the initial viewing process by buyers. Adding space can actually become a simple project by managing the basics like framing, insulation, walls, and flooring without adding a lot of extras.

Structural Updates

Updating windows and roofs are great for resale because you may be asked to update these prior to selling by buyers, adding the project to your list of things to do.  Or buyers may ask to reduce the cost of the home by the costs of these structural updates so that they have the money to replace these items.  Without a strong foundation and good home structure, the home’s core value may go down.   Decorating or design projects can add value esthetically to a home but without the proper structure, the roof will leak and ruin walls and that brand new kitchen you remodeled or the windows are single pane and old and may let in so much wind and air that your electric bill has increased because of the inefficiency of the windows.  These can be fairly expensive projects but if you add these to your overall budget, you can also use these types of projects as opportunities to sell the recent updates and maintenance on the home which results in confident homebuyers.

Kitchen and Bath Remodels

Great kitchens and baths can be the rooms that can close the deal when selling your home.  Updated kitchens are rooms that are used for entertaining and gathering and have families spending a lot of times in these rooms.  Conducting a high end update to kitchen and expecting to get your full money back from these projects should not be the goal of updating a kitchen.  The same holds true with bathrooms.  These projects may help your home sell faster than others because of these updates. But you can update your kitchens and bathrooms with minor and lower end products to meet the same goal.  This will help manage your money and also help sell your home faster if that is your goal.

Adding updates to a home can help with the value of your home but it is not a guarantee to increase your home’s value.  Other conditions are to be considered like is your home in a hot market, what does the inventory of homes look like in your market, is your neighborhood a premier neighborhood,  what have been the overall updates to your home since it was originally built, how has your home been maintained and can you document the maintenance, does your home extra amenities like unique backyards and are you close to parks, schools, etc.   

Read more about green home remodeling.


Topics: Appliances, Building Green, Cost of Ownership, Going Green, Home Design & Plans, Maintenance & Repair, Remodeling

Gary Wollenhaupt

Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.

wwwView Gary Wollenhaupt's profile on LinkedIn

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Get the latest news & insights





Social Entrepreneur on the leading edge of best practices for the Tiny Home movement