Home & Garden Renovations to add value

Staci_W

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Apr 19, 2013
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Where the grass is greener
I bought my current house because it was a good deal and it has a basement apartment that generates income. It's pretty dated inside and the previous tenants were not clean people. It needs work.

This is not my forever home. After my son gradates highschool (3 more years) I don't have to stay in the state anymore. I don't like my current town.

With that timeframe in mind, what home renovations get the most bang for your buck when selling? What decreases value?

For instance, I'm looking at countertops right now. The laminate ones I have are dated and in bad shape. There's a huge gap between laminate and granite. Are solid surface a good compromise, or a turn off?
 

HauteMama

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O.G.
Sep 22, 2006
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It definitely depends on the buyers, but I wouldn't imagine that people buying an otherwise semi-dated home would object to nice solid surface countertops. They have very much improved in comparison to the options that used to be available. But yes, kitchen updates and bathroom updates will get you the most bang for your buck in terms of resale. Removing carpet and refinishing hardwood floors is a good idea if the place has carpet (and hardwood underneath); flooring in general is a good choice for updating.
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,119
726
Where the grass is greener
It definitely depends on the buyers, but I wouldn't imagine that people buying an otherwise semi-dated home would object to nice solid surface countertops. They have very much improved in comparison to the options that used to be available. But yes, kitchen updates and bathroom updates will get you the most bang for your buck in terms of resale. Removing carpet and refinishing hardwood floors is a good idea if the place has carpet (and hardwood underneath); flooring in general is a good choice for updating.
The tenants before me had a cat. They let it go to the bathroom all over the bedroom carpet. The very first thing I did was replace the front room and bedroom carpet. Didn't even think about the possibility of hardwood floors. When the guys were here doing the install, I noticed that I did indeed have hardwood. After spending thousands on this new carpet, it's staying. If I could go back in time, I would have refinished the wood. Where were you when I was buying carpet!
 

Clearblueskies

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Dec 9, 2015
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Does it have a garden? Plants aren’t expensive and a pretty outside space can make a house attractive to buyers, as well as making it look well cared for - which is another plus point.
 

i*bella

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Mar 20, 2009
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Repainting the inside is a cheap way to freshen up the interior. Any type of slab countertop in the kitchen would be an upgrade from laminate. Maybe changing out fixtures in the kitchen/bath to make it look less dated and lived-in.
 
Last edited:
Oct 17, 2006
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Any renovation adds “value“ with varying degrees. However, in general, you will not likely recover most of the cost. I would approach your question by defining value. Value can mean recovered cost and personal enjoyment. If you plan to live in your house for over 5 years, you may consider serious renovations more for the purpose of comfort and enjoyment rather than for recovered cost. Since you may likely be selling your home as early as 3-5 years, you would be limited to “renovations” that would attract buyers to consider buying your home, and not necessarily increase your home price by much. You can still go for some luxury, as long as you understand that you would not be able to recover most of the cost. With the limitations in mind, I would follow i*bella’s “freshen-up” suggestions about painting walls/trim and changing kitchen/bath cabinet/lighting fixtures. Before that, fix and replace any problems such as ruined smelly carpet (which you already did), non-functioning water faucets, leaky roofs, cracked foundations/walls, and etc..
Three years ago, my husband and I put our house on the market, but later decided to stay put because we prefer a spacious home, and we still have energy maintaining it. If you like, I can share with you our renovation experience by breaking down basic fixes and upgrades (which we did for enjoyment and do not expect over 50% recovered cost). Note that before we started the renovations, we put a budget (renovation cost limit) based on the home price in our area. Last th8ng we wanted was to place our home out of the market.
 
Oct 17, 2006
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One caution about renovation is that buyers generally do not share our taste and choice of renovations. One reason is that we are not professional interior designers. If I were to shop for an old house that needs a lot of work but has no major problems, I would prefer the sellers NOT waste money on “strange” renovations and give me a price break instead. Reason is that I would most likely tear down everything and renovate the way I want.
Another problem about renovation is inconsistency throughout the house. It gives a strange feeling if only the kitchen and baths are renovated while the rest of the house looks battered.
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,119
726
Where the grass is greener
Quartz or quartzite is a great alternative to granite. I work in design, we use it nearly exclusively in all home, including $3.5m +
Paint also goes a LONG way.
I'll look into quartz.

I've painted most of the rooms. My son's room and the bathroom are the only ones left. My son wants black walls. Rather than argue, I'm just not painting them. The bathroom has a couple bad patch jobs on the walls. I want to get those fixed before I paint.
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,119
726
Where the grass is greener
Does it have a garden? Plants aren’t expensive and a pretty outside space can make a house attractive to buyers, as well as making it look well cared for - which is another plus point.
The yard is in good condition. I'm working on maintaining that. There isn't a garden. That's more work than I want to take on.

One of my coworkers is really into gardening and landscaping. She's helping me set up a watering system this weekend. I could ask her about low maintenance plants.