9 Improvements that Add value to Resale

Guest blog by Emila Smith

For many people, a home is the biggest investment they will make. While it is always exciting to make property improvements that make it feel more like home, it’s always a good idea to consider whether the money you are spending will convert into added value when it comes time to move on and sell.

In September 2021, the median property price of properties in Shelby, North Carolina was $181.3K, up a staggering 45% year-over-year. 

House prices are on the upward trajectory, but to add value through renovating, you need to not only recoup any money invested in the improvements, but add value over-and-above the amount outlaid. 

Whether you want to make improvements for the sole purpose of adding value, or you’re  renovating regardless and want to add value as you do, here are nine improvements that are virtually guaranteed to add value for resale.

1. Redecorating

Let’s start with a relatively inexpensive option that can make a surprising difference – adding a fresh coat of paint. Revitalizing a drab, aging space with paint is an affordable way of significantly enhancing the property, especially when done smartly. For optimal value-adding results, add accent walls that cleverly match any decor, appliances or other features, and as a general rule, stick to neutral colors for easy resale.

2. Updating the exterior

While we’re on the subject of paint, when it comes to selling a property, curb-side appeal sure does count. First impressions make a big difference, and the overall quality of the exterior of your home says alot about how the property is generally cared for. Dirty walls, cracks, fading paint and broken gutters do not give the impression of a property worth valuing highly.

Ideally, plan to regularly pressure-wash the outside of your home. If the exterior walls could use a new coat of paint, consider what will work best with the aesthetic of the neighborhood, and again, go for something fairly neutral.

A new, high quality front door can also work wonders for enhancing the overall curb appeal of the front of your house. Whether you want to incorporate the look of natural hardwood into your home’s aesthetic, or simply repaint the current door, you shouldn’t underestimate the potential of addressing the door. 

3. Updating your kitchen

The amount of work that you choose to undertake when improving your kitchen can vary widely. For some kitchens, all that is needed is a minor remodelling, which can still change the look significantly and make it seem considerably more modern. 

Minor kitchen remodelling could include, replacing or refacing cupboard doors (i.e painting over), changing handles, repainting the walls and/or adding a tiled splashback, modernizing the lighting and replacing the tapware or the whole sink if it’s really seen better days.

An added tip is to always go for energy-efficient, smart technology when replacing lighting and appliances, etc., as this too can add value to your home.

4. Bathroom revamp

Again, depending on what you’re working with, this could be anything from some minor alterations, to a full renovation. As with a kitchen, if your bathroom is structurally sound but looking a bit dated, there are a number of small improvements you can make to really freshen it up and bring it up to date.

Minor bathroom improvements could include replacing tapware and shower head, repainting the walls and/or adding a vanity backsplash or tiling half way up the walls, and replacing the vanity and mirror. Additionally, to improve the overall aesthetic, update the lighting, again opting for energy efficient options.

5. Replacing your flooring

Nobody likes a tired carpet or a faded, damaged vinyl. That said, it will depend upon the extent of poor condition and the price-range of your house as to whether replacing your flooring will add value.

According to the National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Report, replacing your floors with hardwood can recover 106% of the costs when you sell, while simply refinishing an existing hardwood floor will still add enough value to cover the expense.

If you have a higher-end property and your carpets are in relatively good shape, then it’s best to leave them, as the next owner will probably replace much of it with hardwood anyway.

6. Renovating an attic or basement

Renovating a space that adds usable square footage to your home is often a no-brainer, so if you’ve got a spare attic or basement lying around, it’s well worth considering. These rooms can be renovated to add either an extra bedroom, or a playroom, mediaroom, home office space – it’s entirely up to you and will obviously depend upon what you already have to work with.

Now, the reason why it’s not always a no-brainer, is that in some instances, the renovation costs can outweigh the potential for value-adding. For example, renovating an attic may require adding stairs, or finishing off a basement may need considerable drywalling and flooring works in addition to electrical wiring etc. 

The bottom line is that it is essential to carefully estimate the renovation costs and consult with a realtor regarding the likely value-add before getting started.

7. Adding a pool

According to recent data analysis, adding an in-ground pool to your property can increase it’s value by approximately 7.3%. This figure will vary depending on several factors. Firstly, the higher the value of a property, the more a pool tends to add to the value. This ties into the second point being that homebuyers mindful of their budgeting may shy away from the added expense of maintaining a pool. So, before you take the plunge, consider whether it is an appropriate addition for the property and area you are located in.

8. Knocking some walls down

Open-plan living spaces are all the rage these days, and if your property is a little older, it may have a few too many walls getting in the way of a spacious, modern feel. 

According to a prominent Home Preferences study, buyers typically prefer open-plan designs when it comes to the kitchen, living and dining spaces.

That said, knocking down walls can be catastrophic if not done correctly, especially given that some walls may be load-bearing. Don’t grab your sledgehammer before you have consulted with a professional to ensure that you aren’t compromising the structural integrity of your property.

9. Replacing your garage door

This is another relatively low-cost improvement that can dramatically improve the overall appearance of your property. If your garage door is currently old, damaged or just generally tired-looking, replacing it could take years off your home’s look. Especially if your current door is manual, replacing it with a new automatic system will create not only a heightened sense of luxury, but improved security features, too. The same can be said if you are replacing an already automatic door with updated technology.

Replacing your garage door also gives you the chance to choose a design that modernizes your home’s appearance. If you’re not keen on repainting the whole house, replacing the garage door can still make a dramatic difference.

Final thoughts

When it comes to home improvements, there are so many things to consider, as well as vastly different budget options to choose from. Additionally, the amount of value that you will add will also depend upon the overall price-point of your property and the area it’s located in. The improvements you make need to suit the property-type to help ensure any gain.

So, whenever you embark on home improvements, consider whether the market your property sits in can justify the changes and reflect them in the value. Also, make sure that you subtract the estimated renovation costs from the projected value increase to accurately assess what the actual gain could be.