From time to time it can be fun to scour the latest “Top Ten” lists of cost-conscious ways to increase house values. Some make more sense than others. Upgrading bathroom vanity cabinets appears on some of the house value lists for instance—but those lists were probably thrown together in a hurry since the return on investment is admitted to be 66%. When an investment returns two-thirds of its cost, it’s hardly competitive. For homeowners preparing to sell, vanity cabinets don’t belong high on the action list.
The best idea lists are the ones which show ROI: the return on investment. Here’s a new compilation, offered purely as food for thought (since the “return” number for any individual case can’t actually be verified)—
1. Landscaping. Return on investment registers at a hefty 303% according to the NAR® (and even 400%, per This Old House). And it’s true that a weedy, dried-up lawn is not the way to woo any but the most bargain-thirsty buyers. We can assume that the investment figure the NAR points to does not include the homeowner’s time, but even so, a shipshape yard definitely provides a house value gain.
2. Repair (electrical, plumbing, etc.). Return: 299%. This is for sure: houses with unaddressed mechanical defects are handicapped in the marketplace—in the end, it’s just too costly.
3. Clean and Declutter. Return: 403%. With an average cost estimated at about $400, there’s no argument that it will be easily returned multiple times. When you can rely on truly professional help, the boost is invaluable.
4. Carpet. The return on investment for an average outlay ($671) is calculated by the HomeGain website at 160%. We might add a caveat to this one: a truly threadbare or uncleanable carpet surely rates replacement—but if existing carpet is presentable, that cost might be better directed elsewhere.
5. Staging. With a return of 196%, it’s hard to disagree—especially since professional stagers can often save by directing attention away from areas that might be overly expensive to renew.
6. Lighten and brighten. This includes everything from “clean windows” or “repainting dark-colored rooms” to boosting the wattage – or just replacing with daylight bulbs – of light fixtures. As a result, the “return” numbers are all over the map: but they’re all positive.
7. Upgrade appliances. Full kitchen remodels are usually too expensive to fully reclaim their cost, although when necessary, minor kitchen remodels reclaim 79%. As an alternative, replacing seriously outmoded kitchen appliances is much more likely to add enough value to make it a worthwhile move.
8. Declutter and Clean. (we know—but if anything is worth repeating, this is it)!
Your house’s value is what the market proves it to be—but it’s also the shelter your family calls home. If it’s filled with happy memories, that value is probably the one that winds up counting the most. But as for the other kind, when it’s time to shift gears, we hope you’ll give us a call!