12 home improvement projects that practically pay for themselves
These smart upgrades pay off big in resale value and enjoyment of your home.
“For an immediate face-lift, update your light fixtures,” says Kim Howard, Realtor and co-founder of Howard Homes Chicago. Not only do buyers love the cohesive flow new lighting gives the home, but Howard also says new lighting easily increases the value of the home by 1 to 2 percent.
“Replacing your cabinets is a huge cost that is not completely necessary if the cabinets are less than ten years old, functional, and made from a high-quality wood,” says John Milligan, Product Development Manager at N-Hance Wood Refinishing. Refinishing can cost around $3,000 to $8,000 and can potentially bump up the value of your home between 3 and 7 percent.
A fresh coat of paint instantly updates and transforms the entire interior of your home, and when you consider the relatively low cost of paint, it’s about the biggest bang for your buck you can get. “Greys are back in vogue, and create a neutral palette that lets your decor really pop,” says Steve Frellick, licensed contractor and founder/broker of Yonder Luxury Vacation Rentals.
Windows that stick or are warped or drafty aren’t doing your comfort level or your budget any favours. According to a 2018 Cost vs. Value report on the US website Remodeling, vinyl replacements windows average just under $16,000 for ten 150cm x 90cm double-hung windows and have a resale value near $12,000. Plus, you’ll reap even more savings from your energy bill. Replacing the same number of wood windows is a bit pricier at around $19,000 with a resale value of approximately $13,500.
Perhaps your windows simply need a good clean? Don’t miss our guide to window cleaning.
If you’re lucky, your wall-to-wall carpet will last about ten years. Well-maintained hardwood floors, on the other hand, last for at least 25 years. “Hardwood floors have a massive appeal and add an extreme level of warmth and comfort in your home and a definite return on your investment,” says Frellick. In fact, a recent Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors showed that a whopping 91 percent of the cost is recovered.
“It never hurts to put money into a tasteful bathroom remodel,” says Realtor Sam McLennan from Century 21 McLennan & Company. “Replacing the toilet, vanity, light fixtures, and mirror can add a new look and feel for under $3,000. For a few hundred dollars more, consider coating a dated fibreglass tub with a white epoxy and adding a curved shower rod and curtain to freshen the decor. McLennan says even a mini bathroom remodel can amp the increase in resale value 5 to 10 percent.
Time for a complete bathroom overhaul? Find out how to plan your bathroom renovation.
New cladding is like a facelift for the house, resulting in enhanced curb appeal. But replacing worn out cladding isn’t just about looks: damaged cladding creates moisture and mould, and it leaves insulation exposed, causing your heating and cooling bills to skyrocket.
Dragging out and moving sprinklers every week is not only time-consuming; it adds to your water bill. A better idea? Drip irrigation. “This puts water where plants need it – at the root zone – and it uses much less water over time, as the emitters are placed right near the plants and drip at a reduced rate,” says plant merchant Tyler Davis. It’s easy to install, and will pay for itself in a short time with water savings, he adds. A green and well-manicured lawn can add $2,000 to $7,000 to the resale value of your home.
Find out how to install a drip-line irrigation system.
A freshly painted front door and garage are the main components of the all-important first impression, notes Allen Shayanfekr, CEO and co-founder of Sharestates. Simple touch-ups can be staining or painting the door. According to the 2018 Cost vs. Value report in Remodeling, a 5x2m garage door averages about $3,500 with a resale value of about $3,400. A new steel front door might set you back about $1,500 but the resale value is about $1,350.
Creating more usable space is something you’ll never regret, whether you use it for storage or more living space. “Having a finished basement or attic can be as simple as putting up and painting gyprock and putting down flooring,” says Shayanfekr. The costs will vary greatly depending on the square metreage and materials used, but the Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors shares that you’ll generally recoup over 50 percent of costs at sale time.
Replacing a leaky or worn out roof may not seem like an exciting home improvement with that “wow” impact, but you’ll save in energy costs and prevent mould and moisture from damaging your home. And once the new roof is installed, it acts as the finishing touch to the curb appeal – not to mention, it pays for itself. According to the Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors, you’ll recoup 109 percent of the cost of a new roof.
Creating more living space without the breaking the bank is on the wish list of many homeowners, and upgrading your outdoor space is one way to do it. “An outdoor ‘room’ is the second most important room in the house, second to the kitchen,” says Kevin Guzior, vice president of marketing & product development at Pioneer Landscape Centers. For decks, expect to spend an average $9,000 to $24,000, depending on if you use composite or wood, while a concrete patio averages between $2,000 and $12,000 depending on poured pad or pavers used, Guzior says. A deck or patio will add about 80 percent for resale value and hours of enjoyment.
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