Even if you’re not planning on selling your home any time soon, you should still be thinking about its value and making plans to improve the property. After all, home upgrades aren’t just about a future return-on-investment (ROI): they also allow you to enjoy your home more in the present. In this article, we’ll review several home improvement projects and upgrades that add long-term value to your home, helping you to grow your equity and even start saving money right away!
Improve your home’s energy-efficiency
An inefficient home is a costly home. Every year, millions of homeowners across the country are faced with rising electric and gas costs. Since your air conditioner and furnace use most of the energy in your home, tackling high utility bills begins with your heating and cooling.
Start with the HVAC systems themselves. As air conditioners and furnaces age, they tend to become less energy-efficient. They use more energy to produce gradually less and less cooling and heating. Take your furnace, for instance. If your heater is repeatedly short-cycling—turning itself on-and-off without running consistently—that could be a sign that your furnace needs to be repaired or replaced. By installing a new high-efficiency furnace, you could save hundreds of dollars every year on your winter heating costs.
No matter how efficient your furnace and air conditioner are, you’re going to struggle with efficiency if you have insufficient attic insulation. Talk to a local HVAC or home energy contractor to find out if you have enough insulation in the right places. The total amount of insulation required to trap heat energy in the winter depends on where you live: generally speaking, homes with snowy, cold winters need more insulation than those in the warm Sun Belt states.
They might not be as splashy as a new kitchen or bathroom, but energy-efficiency upgrades start paying off right away. They’re also a major selling point for your home!
Remodel your kitchen or bathroom
When you hear the word “remodel,” this is probably what comes to mind. That’s because kitchen and bathroom remodels are two of the most popular home renovation projects. It’s not hard to see why: both spaces add significant long-term value to the home while also significantly boosting the property’s attractiveness and curb appeal to future buyers. With a freshly renovated kitchen or bathroom, your home’s in a good place.
If a healthy ROI is your goal, you need to think strategically about your project before you start knocking out walls. First, cut out any frills or “extras” that increase your overhead without adding much value. This might include installing high-end kitchen appliances; adding a fancy, jet-filled bathtub; or making extensive layout changes to the master bathroom. Then, focus on finding high-quality materials at competitive prices. You don’t want to cut corners by buying cheap cabinets or granite—you risk future problems that will deteriorate the value added by completing the project.
Find the right balance between making the space your own (it is, after all, your home) and creating something that will appeal to popular tastes. In real estate, nobody loves a “unicorn”—a property that is too unique for its own good. You may love hot pink, but featuring it as wallpaper in your bathroom might not be the best move if long-term value is your main goal.
Take care of the essentials
There are few things more attractive to buyers than a home that has been lovingly and properly cared for through the years. At the end of the day, a new kitchen or bathroom is nice. A clean and complimentary home inspection report is better. Don’t skip the essential upgrades and maintenance in favor of noticeable, surface-level improvements. Here are just a few projects with a high ROI:
- Garage Door Replacement: If your garage door is nearing the end of its operational life, have it replaced with a high-quality door and motor. Prospective buyers don’t want to deal with the hassle of replacing a garage door right after move-in.
- Roof Replacement: A new roof will last for decades, so replacing a leaking, damaged, or just old roof is a great long-term value play. If you’re planning on selling your home, make sure you note the new roof in your listing.
- Window Replacement: Just like the other energy-efficiency upgrades listed above, dual-pane windows are a major selling point for your home that can also help you save money right after installation. If your windows need to be replaced, put the extra money into high-quality, dual-pane windows.
Always work with an expert
You don’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re planning on listing your home next month, or you’ll be staying put for years to come, talk to your realtor to gauge which home improvement projects are popular in your area. Even if you’re not planning on selling right away, your real estate professional can point you in the right direction toward improvements with lasting, long-term value.