Before you begin any value-increasing projects, remember not to raise the value of your property too far above others in the neighborhood. People who want expensive homes shop exclusively in pricier neighborhoods. A good rule of thumb: keep the value of your property within 15 to 20 percent of your neighbors’.
Project (average cost recouped, national) according to Realtor Magazine:
Minor kitchen remodel (88%)
Bathroom remodel (85%)
Major kitchen remodel (81%)
Family room addition (80%)
Deck addition (77%)
Master suite (75%)
Attic bedroom (74%)
Siding replacement (73%)
Window replacement (69%)
Home office (55%)
Projects that may increase your home’s value include: Jacuzzi (4 jets or more); permanent hot tub; in-ground pool with nice deck area; security system; sprinkler system; substantial out buildings such as a two-car garage or finished workshop; and vaulted or trey ceilings. Think twice about the following projects however, as they may not add value to your house: above-ground pool; ceiling fans; garden pond; and light fixtures.
Some tips when attempting value-increasing remodeling:
1. Remodel with mass appeal in mind. Potential buyers are usually attracted more to neutral, mainstream design.
2. Don’t go cheap when it comes to construction. Use durable, quality materials. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, honestly evaluate your ability to do it right.
3. Don’t remodel in a different style from the rest of the house. Additions and improvements that look “tacked on” may detract from a home’s appeal.
4. Turning a bedroom into a bathroom is a mistake – it reduces the number of bedrooms, a chief selling point.
5. Don’t do a $30,000 kitchen remodel in a $100,000 house – unless you plan to continue living there. It is a waste of money.
Make sure the outside of your home is spic-and-span. Clean out the gutters. Wash the windows and remove cobwebs and bugs. Trim the hedges, cut and edge the lawn, sweep the sidewalks and driveway. Plant some colorful flowers out front.
You may want to add to or improve your landscaping while you’re at it. According to a study conducted by Money Magazine, landscaping may be the best investment to improve a home's value. The study found that well-planned, attractive landscaping was estimated to have an actual recovery rate 100 to 200 percent higher than a kitchen or bathroom renovation.