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Several current television programs depict home-flippers who buy a run-down property, do some remodeling and then sell it for a substantial profit. Many homeowners watching get the impression they can easily duplicate those results.
While virtually any home improvement adds value to a home, the catch is that the value added by the upgrades usually does not equal the amount spent on the project.
Attorney and home expert Ilona Bray, writing for nolo.com, explains that professional home-flippers have contacts and experience that give them an edge. She writes rather than planning to make money on remodeling projects, the goal of most homeowners should be to enjoy the improvements while they live there.
Here are some suggestions for home improvements that will add value and enjoyment without sending you to the poorhouse.
Start with maintenance
There is little point in spending $40,000 on an amazing kitchen remodel if your home’s roof is leaking. If you want to boost the resale value of your home or just make it better for your family, hgtv.com recommends hiring an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. A trained inspector can find hidden problems that could negatively impact your home’s value. Small problems like a minor water leak can become big, expensive problems quickly. Focus on the structure before worrying about design.
Improve curb appeal
“Your house makes a first impression quickly, so sprucing up its outdoor appearance is a smart investment,” writes Bray. You can start with a landscape upgrade by trimming overgrown trees and bushes, adding colorful flowers, edging sidewalks and driveways, and just making sure everything looks tidy and neat.
Garage door replacement
Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value report showed homeowners can expect to recoup more than 90 percent of the cost of replacing a garage door. That was the higher-return for projects on upscale homes and significantly higher than a major kitchen remodel, which returned 61.5 percent of its cost, or a basement remodel which provided a 70.4 percent return on cost. Best of all, a garage door replacement is among the least expensive improvements included in the report.
Today’s garage doors come in a range of styles and materials. Steel, wood, aluminum, vinyl and fiberglass are all options, as well as insulated, uninsulated and wind load models made to withstand severe weather. An experienced garage door retailer can help you find a door that matches your home and your budget.
Bathrooms and kitchens on a budget
While luxury bathrooms and beautiful professional kitchens make homeowners and buyers swoon, full kitchen and bath remodels carry hefty price tags. Instead of trying to make wholesale changes, hgtv.com suggests you “start by swapping out just one item, such as a stained sink or ancient microwave for shiny new stainless models.” Painting or refinishing existing cabinetry will cost less than replacing them with custom and can still give your kitchen or bathroom an newly remodeled vibe.
Whether you are replacing a garage door or adding on a new master suite, Bray cautions home improvements should conform to the existing style of the home and of the neighborhood norms.
“A general rule is that the more personal your choices are — meaning they’re made to suit your particular lifestyle or taste — the less likely they are to have a positive effect on resale value,” she writes.