You probably don’t wake up every morning and think, “How can I invest in my home today?” But it is something you should keep at the forefront of your mind if you want to improve both your quality of life and your financial future.
Here are some of the best projects to invest in if you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your buck.
It’s no secret that a house with hardwood floors is a hot commodity, but whether or not your current residence has them, it’s advised that you invest in them. When it comes time to sell your home, hardwood floors can bring you a return on investment (ROI) between 70 and 80 percent.
If you already have hardwood floors:
Ripping up carpet to expose the original hardwood and sanding floors yourself can save you money, but it may also end up costing you more in the long run if done incorrectly. Your best bet is to hire a professional to do it for you. You could also have a professional sand your floors and then tackle the staining yourself. Some of the most popular flooring stain shades include mahogany (a deep color that looks classy and expensive), pine (colors can vary, giving you a variety of options), and gray (popular for its modern look).
If you don’t have hardwood floors:
Installing new hardwood floors can be expensive, but if you’re still not convinced about the investment, a 2019 report from the National Association of Realtors® concludes that homeowners who installed new wood floors recovered an average of $5,000 from the project. In addition, 78 percent of people reported feeling a “major sense of accomplishment” afterward. If you live in a warmer, humid climate, you might want to consider installing stone or ceramic tile instead, as wood can often warp under these conditions. Ceramic tile will give you a return of about 70 percent, and stone fetches between 55 and 70 percent.
When it comes to improving resale value, there’s no question that an upgraded kitchen is among the most recommended projects. An upgraded kitchen, especially with many of us spending more time at home, can work wonders. In the same 2019 NAR report, 74 percent of people said an upgraded kitchen made them feel happier while at home, and 20 percent said their upgraded kitchen was the defining factor in securing their home’s sale.
Keep in mind, an upgraded kitchen does not have to mean a complete renovation. Talking to a real estate agent can help you better understand the kinds of upgrades buyers in your area are looking for. These are a few improvements that can dramatically expand the look and feel of this space:
- Reserve the majority of your renovation savings for updated appliances.
- Instead of buying new cabinets, paint them a neutral shade or reface them for a modern look.
- A new backsplash is an inexpensive way to add a pop of color to your kitchen. Take into consideration the color palette you have established, and find tile in a shade that complements it.
- Install new lighting, such as small lights under cabinets or recessed lighting above countertops, to give your kitchen a bright and fresh appearance.
Basement or attic conversion
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many homeowners to reconsider how they were using extra space in their homes. The demand for added work space for both adults and children is greater than ever, and upgrading a basement or an attic is a great way to make use of areas you already have without shelling out cash to build an addition. Although a small percentage of real estate agents recommended making this kind of upgrade before selling pre-2020, 85 percent of homeowners reported a “greater desire to be home” post-renovation, and the desire to update these spaces is only increasing. Below are some of the most popular ways to make use of such spaces:
Having a dedicated workspace can dramatically improve productivity and focus for adults and children alike. Creating an office in one of these areas won’t take much time, money, or effort, and it can come together with just a few pieces. For an office, invest in a solid corner desk with plenty of storage space or a small desk and external storage cabinets for important paperwork. For a homeschooling area, consider purchasing a small desk or table (multiple ones if more than one child will be working at the same time), a colorful carpet, and a bookcase and comfortable chairs (e.g., beanbags) for a cozy reading nook.
You can throw a few weights and a yoga mat on the floor and call it a home gym, but crafting a space primed for fitness can greatly contribute to your desire to work out and help future buyers imagine themselves in your home. Consider installing heavy-duty flooring, like rubber mats or a deadlift platform, either of which can protect concrete flooring underneath. You could also install a rack on the wall for storing free weights and a large mirror to watch your form and provide the feel of a real gym.
Family rec room
One of the most popular uses for a finished basement or attic is recreation for the whole family. This will mean something different for everyone, but a television hook-up, a built-in entertainment system, or even a wet bar can improve your life at home. You don’t have to go all out and purchase a pool table, a pinball machine, and a $2,000 speaker system, either. Something as simple as an L-shaped sofa, a movie projector, or a gaming system can keep costs low while adding major entertainment value to these spaces.
You might already know that curb appeal and landscaping are two of the most important areas to invest in before selling, but it’s not just about improving your exterior visually; functionality is more important than ever for your outdoor spaces. Improved landscaping can bring as much as 100 percent return on your investment, but the benefits it brings to the quality of your experiences at home can be tremendous as well.
A good place to start is to connect with a local landscaping company or designer to formulate a plan for what you want. Either can help with anything from suggesting minor touch-ups to adding shrubbery to installing new pathways to doing tree removal. This will help you see the bigger picture when it comes to landscaping and ensure you stick to your budget.
Clear and clean
You can have the most beautiful house in the world, but if your yard is overgrown with weeds and littered with dead plants, no one will be inclined to take a first look. Before you start planning any new landscaping, you need to make sure your exterior areas are cleaned up and that any dead flowers and plants are removed. If you expect to hire a professional later on for the overall landscaping, this is a great part of the process to tackle yourself to save money.
Adding pops of color to your yard with vibrant flowers and plants is a simple, effective, and relatively low-cost way to change its look. Ask an expert from your local nursery about what varieties you should add based on where you live and what is known to thrive there (which can help with upkeep), and be sure to mark and plan out where you are going to place everything before any digging or planting takes place. An easy way to do this is by placing rulers marked with the name of what you’re planting directly into the soil.
A landscaper can help you determine if your yard would benefit from extra design elements, such as a stone pathway leading to your front door, a pergola on your patio, or even a decorative fountain. These items might feel frivolous, but they can actually make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your outdoor space—boosting your curb appeal by leaps and bounds.
When it comes to investing in your home, you don’t necessarily have to secure thousands of dollars for an addition or completely gut it. Simple improvements, like those mentioned above, are guaranteed to appeal to potential buyers down the line and offer major benefits to you and your family right now.