October 7, 2022

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The 4 Home Renovations that Are Most Like to Pay Off: Dan Hamilton’s Guide

10 min read

Whether you’ve got your sites set on selling your house soon or you’re thinking about resale further down the line, there are certain improvement you can make to your home now that have appeal for buyers in the Upstate. In his Guide to Strategically Investing in Your Home, our partner realtor Dan Hamilton discusses some of the home improvements that he and his team have seen that result in pay off for sellers.

Are you looking to sell your home in the near future and want to make sure you get top dollar for your investment? Or maybe you don’t plan to sell anytime soon but would like to enjoy some home updates that will pay off down the road. No matter what your situation, investing in home improvements will pay off. 

But not all home improvements are created equal. Some home renovations pay off big time at the closing table and others aren’t worth the effort. In this article, we’re going to break down the home improvements that statistically result in the highest return on investment (ROI) as well as some general design and renovation advice for homeowners concerned about their house’s value.

One last thing before we get started…if you are a homeowner interested in selling your house, we encourage you to STOP, fill out this form, and then keep reading. As the Upstate’s TOP ranked real estate team (don’t believe us? Check out our Google reviews!), we’d love to offer you personalized advice on the best way to prepare your home for sale through a free home evaluation. During this meeting, our listing agents break down the best way to get your home in your location ready to sell at top dollar. This service is completely free and you don’t have to commit to our team to take advantage of it! 

These Home Improvements Have the Best ROI

First thing, we’re breaking down some of the home improvements that statistically get you the most bang for your buck. Keep in mind, the specific figures used in this article are estimates and will vary by region, supply availability, real estate market, time, scope of project, and many other factors. 

#1: Minor Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms and kitchens are some of the best places to spend your renovation budget. On average, it costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink and vanity fixtures in a bathroom. Typically, projects of this size result in a $10,700, or 102%, return on investment (ROI). 

If you have the money and desire to redo an entire bathroom, by all means consider it! Updated bathrooms make potential homebuyers feel clean and at home rather than like they have intruded on someone else’s space. However, a similar effect can be achieved at a lower price point.

If your tub is in bad condition but you don’t want to splurge on a new one, consider reglazing your current piece. Caulking does wonders for your bathroom, especially your shower, and is a truly simple DIY project. Finally, replacing handles, faucets, and light fixtures will absolutely transform your space – and many can be bought at a good price on Amazon. You can also repaint your current fixtures for an even more cost-effective glow up.

Finally, no matter what projects you decide to tackle in your bathroom, remember a deep clean will go a long way in making the space feel clean and inviting. 

#2: Landscaping

Homeowners who invest in outdoor landscaping are estimated to receive a 100% return on investment, calculated with a $4,900 budget. This budget is meant to be split between the actual landscaping work and hiring a designer to ensure a high quality and effortless curb appeal.

If you want to skip paying for a designer, many local garden centers offer either free design services or classes and seminars. Here are some popular Greenville nurseries and garden centers that may offer similar services.

When designing on a budget, focus on high impact areas of your property like the front door and merely maintain the rest of your yard. Clearly edge all natural areas, weed the lawn, and perform other small tasks that will improve the overall look of your yard, leaving bright and colorful designs for those high impact areas. The best designs are simple – focus on clean lines, bright spots of color, and creating a beautiful scene that appears easy to maintain. 

Landscaping is so important because it contributes to your home’s first impression. A strong first impression increases interest in and traffic to your home when you decide to list it. We’ll talk more about the importance of curb appeal later. 

#3: Minor Kitchen Remodel

Along with bathrooms, your kitchen is one of the best places to spend your renovation budget if your concern is a return on investment. Statistically, a $15,000 kitchen remodel (focusing on cosmetic and not layout changes) will result in about a 99% return on investment, or $14,600. Remodeling your kitchen will brighten and modernize your space, warmly inviting potential buyers to picture themselves gathering in the room.

Though kitchen remodels are valuable investments that usually pay off, they often exceed a typical pre-list renovation budget. There are a few lower cost ways to create a similar impact depending on the current state of your kitchen. If you do not have the budget to reface cabinets, just replace hardware! In most cases, this is another simple DIY project. If you have a kitchen island, consider adding a statement pendant light or a hanging pot rack to create visual interest.

Finally, if you are going to invest in one “larger project” in your kitchen, definitely consider upgrading your laminate countertops to granite or quartz. This is an upgrade most homebuyers expect to see these days, even in older homes. 

#4: Replace Windows

This home renovation is especially important if your home is 20 years or older! Replacing windows (specifically 10 3×5 windows) costs around $9,700 and will result in almost 90% return on investment.

However, if you plan to continue living in your home, your return will be even greater! Old windows are drafty and poorly insulate your home. By contrast, new windows will vastly improve your home’s energy efficiency, keeping your monthly energy bill lower.

Aesthetically, new windows will create clean lines inside and outside your home, and those new window panes will sparkle in the sun! The change from a curb appeal perspective is really amazing. Here are some other amazing benefits of new windows beyond increasing your home value. 

If you are looking to improve current windows rather than replacing them entirely, you have a few options. Repainting your window trim and sills and cleaning the glass can make your windows appear newer and cleaner. As far as energy efficiency, there really is no comparison to newer windows, but there are a number of easy fixes you can try.

Replacing your windows is a sizable purchase with few budget workarounds. However, this improvement will be a huge selling point for your house! Even if you do not plan to sell in the near future, investing in new energy efficient windows will save you money every month on your energy bills and is definitely worth considering if your home is older.

Other Improvements and Design Trends to Consider

Now that we’ve shared 4 popular and investment-savvy home improvements for you to consider, we’ll take a moment to review some honorable mentions and noteworthy design tricks. This section will even help inform your design decisions should you choose to pursue one of the home improvement projects listed above.  

2022 Color Trends

One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your home’s overall appearance and appeal to buyers is to apply a fresh coat of paint. Perhaps less simple – picking the right color. Let’s take a look at what colors are popular this year:

In 2022, we’ve seen home designers move away from the cool whites and grays often associated with the popular “modern farmhouse” home style. Homeowners and designers are still keeping things light and airy, but opting for warmer whites and neutrals. Accent colors are growing in popularity again, and trends seem to indicate deep, rich tones in an organic color palette dominate the market. 

If you are painting your home in preparation for listing, keep your paint color simple and consistent throughout your home. The best choice is a balanced white with a hint of warmth like Sherwin Williams Alabaster or something similar – the graphic below has some great options! 

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) 

LVP is a cost effective, high quality flooring alternative to hardwood or tile. Dent and scratch resistant, water-resistant, and overall cheaper and more durable than hardwood, LVP is quickly becoming the most popular flooring in houses. If your home is filled with various types of flooring (hardwood, laminate, tile, carpet, etc.), installing LVP may be a good option for increasing your home’s value and creating interest with buyers. 

Organic Shapes and Natural Elements

A huge design trend this year involves incorporating organic, rounded silhouettes and natural textures into your home. When designing your home, consider incorporating rattan, wood, and other natural elements into your living space and softening hard lines with rounded furniture. 

Aim for spaces that are light and airy and consider light wood floors and white walls. Wood ceiling beams can add warmth and coziness to a room and can be mirrored by another wood element on a mantel. Accent chairs or dining chairs can feature natural materials like rattan or leather, too. Organic elements like these, along with highly textured accent pillows and a plant or two, soften a room and create visual interest. If a room’s furniture is angular, you can introduce a round side table and a circular statement light fixture. 

Impeccable design is not a requirement to sell your home (especially in the aggressive seller’s market we are experiencing). However, incorporating a few new design elements is a very simple way to elevate your space, either for your own continued enjoyment or for interested buyers. 

Master Suite Design 

We’ve already mentioned that kitchens and bathrooms are some of the most important rooms in your home to update prior to selling. One other space that deserves a little TLC is your master suite. A calm, luxurious-feeling master bedroom will help potential buyers fall in love with your home. 

If you utilize window treatments in your master bedroom, consider investing in a high quality curtain. Curtains should drape all the way to the floor and be positioned on a rod halfway between the top of the window and the bottom of the ceiling. When installed this way, curtains make a small room feel larger and, especially in bedrooms, make the space feel so expensive and luxurious. 

If you have plans to sell your home but are overwhelmed by the design element, we understand! Check out this interview with our friend Kim Dunn, owner of Staged 4 You by Kim, the Upstate’s largest and most experienced home staging service. Give her a call (or call us at 864-527-7685 and we’ll make a personal introduction) to learn how she can transform your home, earning you up to 25% more at the closing table!

The Importance of Curb Appeal 

We’ve covered a lot! Before we wrap things up, we wanted to circle back to the exterior of your home. Your home’s curb appeal is its first impression; if people don’t like the way your home looks from the outside they won’t want to see the inside. That is why it is so important to tighten up your home’s exterior appearance. 

We already discussed landscaping and window replacement as two major ways to improve your home’s outdoor appearance. Here are a few final exterior improvements to consider if you are serious about upping your home’s curb appeal: 

  • Power wash your driveaway and any additional pathways.
  • If you don’t have a walkway to your front door, consider adding a stepping stone path. These make great additions to your backyard as well!
  • Clean or replace exterior siding. You can hire a professional to assess the state of your siding and decide which would be best for your home. 
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint (or stain as appropriate) to your front door and clean or replace any glass panes. Make that entryway shine! 

The Bottom Line

If you plan to live in your home for years, make improvements and design choices that make you happy. However, if you plan to sell in the near future or are concerned with the overall value of your home, being strategic with your budget and your design choices is important. Keep your plans classic, (slightly) on trend, and appealing to a wide audience rather than leaning into personal style choices. Choosing the right project and being strategic with your design will ensure you increase the value and desirability of your home.

Are you interested in selling your home? Hamilton & Co. is the Upstate’s highest ranked real estate team. We have a team of real estate experts ready to walk you through each step of the home selling (or buying) process! Whether you’re moving down the road or across the country, need to purchase sight unseen or want to spend the weekend touring homes, we’re here to help. Visit our website at MyGreenvilleHome.com and learn more about the home buying and selling processes, or give us a call at 864.527.7685 and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You can also read more from Dan Hamilton on Kidding Around.

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