You’ve got some extra money in
your pocket—maybe from tax returns, maybe a bonus windfall—and you want to use
it to beautify your house. Excellent choice! Your home is one of the biggest
financial investments you’ll make in your lifetime.
That said, one mistake many
homeowners make is expecting their home improvement projects to return a
dollar-for-dollar profit when the time comes to sell. There really isn’t any
such thing as a “100%” ROI (return on investment) for your home improvement
projects, although you will recoup some of that money you spent.
So instead of considering where
you’ll make most of your money back when you sell, it’s much wiser to consider
what improvements you’ll enjoy the most while you still own your house. That’s
how you’ll maximize your investment by boosting the pleasure you take in your
residence while you live there, in addition to improving your home’s value.
We’ve collected some of the
highest-return projects that also beautify your surroundings. If you want to
make your house look a little bit nicer (and are looking for a project you’ll
enjoy while you live there, too!), these are the top picks for home improvement
1. Fresh paint
Depending on the brand and
color, paint is one of the best upgrades you can make to your house, both
inside and outside. If you don’t have the time or money to paint the entire
exterior of your house, then touching up the trim can make a surprising
Neutral colors tend to work
best for interior paint projects, especially if you’re considering selling. But
if you always wanted a bright blue or purple accent wall, paint is the way to
2. Trees and shrubs
Curb appeal is one of the most
elusive and yet important variables of a home’s value, and a barren yard with
no greenery to speak of (except grass) is far from inspiring. Flowering trees
and shrubs can make a gorgeous addition to your yard and really make your
property stand out from your neighbors.
A local nursery or even your
city’s botanic garden center can help you determine what kind of tree or shrub
would be best; make sure you work with an arborist or another botanist to
decide where to plant it.
3. New house numbers
When was the last time you
updated the numbers on your house? Your options run well beyond plastic
black-and-white numbers that you might remember from the hardware store; Etsy
has a ton of makers selling house numbers, so you can find something that fits
your mid-century modern’s vibe or your Victorian’s aesthetic.
4. Replace light fixtures
Light fixtures are one piece of
hardware that can immediately date a house. It’s fairly inexpensive to swap
them out (especially if you look for deals at the home store, or shop at IKEA),
and depending on how long it’s been since they were last changed, you might be
able to change up the type of bulb you can use and save yourself some money on
utility bills—or install “smart” lights that change colors.
5. Refinish kitchen cabinets
The easiest way to give your
kitchen a makeover is by refinishing the cabinets. There are lots of ways you
can approach this: painting your cabinets, swapping out the drawer pulls and
knobs, or replacing the cabinets entirely.
If you’re not sure about what
will look nice in the room while also maintaining a high resale opportunity in
your area, talk to a real estate agent. They can give you an idea of what
cabinet trends tend to be classic or timeless, which ones age quickly, and
which options overlap the most with your own taste.
6. Bathroom countertops
Granite countertops in the
bathroom can instantly upgrade the room from “mediocre” to “luxurious,” but you
can also tile the countertops, or simply replace the materials. If you have the
space to add another sink to your bathroom vanity, or replace a depressed
countertop sink with a classic glass bowl style that sits on top of the counter
(and adds storage room to boot), that’s an added bonus.
7. Front door
Replacing your front door can
be one of the highest dollar-for-dollar changes you can make to your house
(though in the scheme of house prices, the cost of a front door is pretty
negligible). Still, a new front door can enhance your home’s security (ever
considered steel?), and many of them come in eye-catching colors.
Speaking of color: Painting
your front door instead of replacing it can be a way to almost instantly
brighten the entire front of your house. You may have neighbors wondering when
you painted the rest of the house because the front door makes the entire
façade look fresh!
8. Garage door
Like your front door, replacing
your garage door isn’t going to cost a ton of money, and you’ll be able to get
most of that money back when the time comes to sell your house; it’s a
high-value project. You can do some research around what’s common in your neighborhood
by driving around and scoping out garage doors that you think look especially
nice (you’ll probably be surprised by how many opinions you end up cultivating
about them!), and this is another area where talking to a local agent or
forming a solid relationship with the people at your hardware or home
improvement store can benefit you.
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Representing Buyers and Sellers throughout Massachusetts