Home Improvement Projects Can Add Value to Your Home When You Sell It

Home improvement is a way of keeping your house looking and functioning like new. It also adds value to your home, which can help you recoup some of the costs when you sell it. But be careful about going overboard or you may end up paying more in interest than you get back from the project.

It’s important to consider whether you will be living in your house for a while before starting any major improvements. If you plan to sell soon, talk to a real estate professional first to find out what upgrades will be most attractive to buyers.

In the past two years, homeowners have taken on 115 million projects, according to the American Housing Survey, a government report that collects data from owner-occupied homes. Some of the most popular improvements are adding rooms, such as a bedroom or a bathroom; installing a deck; and putting up a fence. Other big projects include replacing a roof or refinishing floors.

The number of projects has increased as a result of low mortgage rates, a strong job market and rising home prices, which have made it easier for people to afford to remodel or repair their homes. However, a drop in the number of homeowners reporting that they have money set aside to pay for future projects may signal that more homeowners are relying on financing rather than savings to complete their upgrades.

Homeowners may also be motivated to do some improvement projects by the desire to improve their quality of life. For example, they might renovate their kitchen or install a new bathroom to make cooking and bathing more convenient. Or they might add a deck for outdoor entertaining or a shed to store tools and equipment. These types of projects can be more cost effective than a full-scale remodel or addition.

If you’re thinking about a home improvement project, talk to a professional to find out how much it should cost and whether you should hire a contractor or do the work yourself. Ask for a detailed contract with a timeline, a payment schedule and as many specifics as possible about the work to be done, including types or brands of materials to be used. Also, make sure the contract includes details about any warranties or guarantees on workmanship and materials. By law, contractors in New York must provide a contract with all of this information.

A well-maintained yard can also be a huge draw for potential buyers. It’s a good idea to re-sod or plant grass seed, trim shrubs and trees, and put fresh mulch or straw in the flower beds. Then, a fresh coat of paint on the exterior and interior can give your house a facelift.

Some upgrades don’t pay off, but others can boost your home’s value. Energy-efficient projects, such as replacing windows and a heat pump and adding insulation, tend to have a high ROI, because they will decrease your utility bills over time. And projects that increase curb appeal, such as painting and replacing doors, can have a nice return on investment as well.