If you’re looking to improve the appearance of your home for resale, or you just want an updated look for your own enjoyment, there are a few things you must consider before beginning any costly project. Many real-estate brokers agree that just because you put $25,000 worth of improvements into your home doesn’t mean that your house is worth $25,000 more!

Exactly how much of your investment you’ll recoup depends on a number of factors, such as the “big picture” housing market, the value of the homes in your neighborhood, when you plan to sell and the exact nature of the improvement.

Below are some examples of a few improvements that usually pay off – and some that rarely make a difference when it comes time to sell your home.

Painting

If you’re planning to sell your home in a year or two, a fresh coat of a neutral-toned paint could make the sale easier. A professional exterior paint job may also recoup close to 75% of its cost.

Kitchen

With just a few basic improvements, your kitchen can practically pay you back with interest:

  • New paint, wallpaper and flooring are always appreciated
  • Sanding, staining or painting worn-looking cabinets
  • Replacing old cabinet hardware is a low-cost improvement that makes a big difference in appearance.

According to Remodeling magazine, the average spent on major kitchen-remodeling is around $39,000; refinishing an outdated one averaged $15,000. The full kitchen remodeling recouped 80% of its cost, the more moderate remodeling was valued at 87%.

Area Conversions 

Generally speaking, increasing the functional space of your home holds its value longer than remodeling just to make a house look better. It’s also much less expensive than adding an addition to your home. Converting attic space into a bedroom, for example, usually costs around $30,000 and returns about 73% of its cost, according to Remodeling magazine. Turning your basement into extra living space costs, on average, $40,000, with a recoup average of about 69% of your costs.

Extra Bathroom 

You usually can’t go wrong by adding an extra bathroom. At an average cost of $14,200, a new full bath can recoup 81% of its total cost!

Deck

Adding a deck is a very cost-efficient way to add square footage to your house. Decks cost around $6,000 and generally recoup 75% of their value.


New Windows 

Your utility bill savings may make up for the iffy resale value, however, a good set of standard windows should get you around 68% back.


Swimming Pool 

In a word – don’t! Sure, they sound nice, but pools are very expensive to maintain.


Picture-Perfect Gardens 

Another nicety, but who’s going to spend all that time – and money? If the potential buyer is not horticulturally inclined, chances are your floral handiwork won’t add to the offering price.

Basic Is Better 

It may not sound very exciting, but it’s the basic improvements you make to your home that may have the greatest return on its value: a beautiful new bathroom won’t make up for a leaky roof. So if you’re thinking of selling your house in the next year or so, be sure to address any problems the home may have before you, say, install those sunken gardens you’ve always dreamed of.

-Condensed from Dewayne Baskette’s Lengthy Email Newsletter