While most people aren’t planning to sell their homes any time soon (at least not until the mortgage market turns around), there’s no reason you can’t do a few upgrades now, with resale in mind, so that you can enjoy them in the interim. But if you’re like many homeowners, especially in this economy, getting a home equity line for renovations may not be an option, which means you’re limited to the funds you have on hand. Still, you can do a lot, even with a small budget. So here are just a few home improvement options that could deliver major returns upon resale and make your space more functional and beautiful in the meantime.
1. Kitchens and baths.
If you only have the budget to overhaul one room in the house, it’s a coin toss between the kitchen and the master bath. Either one will give you a lot of bang for your buck. The bathroom may win it by a hair simply because it will probably cost you a bit less up front, but both stand to net you nearly 100% return on expenditure, so it’s really up to you which one you choose. The best bet if you can’t decide is to determine which room is 1) less functional, or 2) more outdated, since these two considerations could affect how buyers perceive your home.
2. Siding and windows. You’ll kill two birds with one stone if you opt to go this route with your home upgrades. First, new siding and windows could definitely add to the curb appeal of your home, and all sellers know that a first impression is extremely important in real estate. But even beyond that, these projects have the potential to make the household more sustainable. New siding and windows provide for better insulation, which could bring down the heating and cooling costs for a home, making it much more attractive to buyers and showing you some return right off the bat by lowering your utility bills.
3. Roof replacement.
Fixing a hole where the rain gets in is never a bad idea. And if your roofing is 20 or more years old (depending on the materials used) it is probably time to think about replacement. The cost is high (roughly ten grand), and the value may depreciate over time, but you’ll see a decent return when you sell and it’s a lot less expensive than dealing with water (or other weather) damage and then replacing the roof.
4. Basement remodel.
Any time you decide to make a glorified storage space into something usable you can add value to your home. If the current décor in your basement consists of concrete slab, unfinished walls, exposed support beams, and a naked bulb, you are wasting space that could be used for another bedroom and bath, a second family room, or even a rental unit (provided there is outdoor access). All of these could up the value of your home, and turning the basement into an apartment will also provide you with a passive income until you sell.
5. Outdoor space.
You can add some value by building a deck (Trex, Tigerwood, and Cumaru decking are popular choices these days), but why not think about expanding your floor plan by creating a complete outdoor space? Many owners of small homes are now using this ploy to increase their usable square footage, so consider adding a covered cooking and seating area, permanent lighting fixtures, screening foliage, and possibly even a water feature to make this space into an outdoor room that prospective buyers will love.