Home Improvements What are the paybacks? Home Improvements What are the paybacks?

Trying to decide determine which home improvement make the most economic sense for your home? If you're looking to stay in your home for number of years you should probably be looking at improvements that will provide economic benefits over a number of years, such as upgrading insulation or replacing old doors and windows. However, if you're looking to upgrade your home to sell it, here's list of the improvement that will make your home more attractive to potential buyers and give you with the best payback on your investment.

Real estate professionals will tell you home buyers will often focus on features that can easily and inexpensively be changed, things like paint colors and wall paper, so, be sure to put them at the top of your improvement list. Repainting a room in new, modern colors will give your home a fresh, new look and more importantly, give you a fantastic payback. Painting is relatively inexpensive (about $150 a room if you do it yourself) and has the added advantage of not totally disrupting your family the way some major improvements will. And as an added bonus,some real estate appraisers suggest your painting costs could be repaid up to three times over, making repainting the home improvement with by far the largest percentage payback.

Moving on to more major changes, improvements and upgrades in the areas people spend a lot of time, such as kitchens and bathrooms, provide the next highest paybacks. Depending n the market conditions and the quality of the job, studies suggest you can expect returns in the range of 75% to 90% of your investment.

Among other home improvements that provide at least a 50% payback generally fall into the broad categories of adding functionality or space. These include home improvements such as:

basement renovation/upgrade 50-75%
new floors 50-75%
building a deck 50-75%
window/door replacement 50-75%
adding a garage 50-75%

Home improvements that provide a lesser return and could actually make your home harder to sell.

adding central air conditioning 25-75%
interlocking paving 25-50%
installing a skylight 0-25%
adding a swimming pool 10-40%

When you're deciding on improvements to help sell your home, keep in mind, that considerations other than economic payback are important in helping sell your home as well, for example

  • Any renovations you do should be considered in light of the home market in your neighborhood and be sure you don't over improve or under improve. For example, quartz or granite counter tops would be expected in an upscale neighborhood while buyers in a more modest neighborhood likely wouldn't be willing to pay a premium for them. Alternatively, laminate counters in that upscale area would be a negative selling point.
  • In a buyers market, even if an improvement doesn't provide a substantial economic payback by itself, it may give your home that little bit of added appeal when compared to a competing home and could make the difference between selling your home or having it stay on the market.
  • Finally, don't neglect the little things like a loose door knob or a burnt out light. If you don't take care of minor details like these, potential buyers will certainly question how well larger things have been maintained, so simply changing a light bulb could end up having the largest payback of all.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer with over 800 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He can be contacted at [email protected].


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