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Top 6 Home Updates That Pay Off

No, you probably don’t need to redo your kitchen in order to be able to make food there- that being said, home updates can have a dramatically positive effect on your home value, sometimes to the extent that the update itself can be profitable. If you ask most people whether they’d like to have an area of their home improved, and without much (if any) cost, they’d agree in a heartbeat. It’s important to know which home updates are more likely to be profitable than others, though, assuming you’re focused on sticking to your budget.

Here are the top 6 home updates that pay off:

Minor Bathroom Remodel

Redoing a small bathroom can have a significantly positive effect on the resale value of your home, and at a minimal cost. It generally costs a touch over $10,000 to replace a tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures, and as you’re likely to get around $10,700 back at resale, this leads to a recoup rate of 102%- not bad at all! Caulking the tub yourself shouldn’t be any trouble at all, and if you can’t fit your old tub out of the door, simply re-glaze it for a new finish.


If you’re not sure where to start with landscaping, go to your local garden center- many of them offer free design services. You can also ask your neighbors what works for them. Splashing color at the front of your house can be very appealing, preferably via the use of one color and varied plant height. Replace overgrown shrubbery with foundation plants, mixing height and color for better effect.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

Doing a minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update, as opposed to implementing a drastically different floor plan, will be more cost-efficient and natural to the flow of your home. If your home is worth more than $500K, use stone or trendy glass countertops; sand and paint existing cabinets, which is much less expensive than buying new ones, and cover old vinyl with floor leveler so the pattern doesn’t bleed through.

Exterior Decorating

When choosing the right color combination for trim, doors and siding, use paint color cards to take out the guesswork. Be sure to test for lead before sanding and scraping if your home was painted before 1978, to err on the side of caution, and remove old awnings from windows and doors for an updated look. You might also want to add a pergola and columns to your porch, if it’s currently bare and charmless (which many porches are).

Attic Bedroom Conversion

If you’ve decided to convert your attic space into a bedroom, which can increase the value of your home and the livable space, you’ll want to start by adding insulation to lower your utility bills and increase the ease with which someone could live there. If your current HVAC system can’t handle the load of another room, be sure to factor in the cost of a second unit. To cut down on cooling costs, consider buying a solar-powered attic fan, which would exhaust heat from above the home and draw power from a solar cell on the roof.

Major Bathroom Remodel

A major bathroom remodel is just that- major. It might involve as much as expanding your bathroom, replacing the tub and toilet, and adding designer sinks and faucets, a linen closet, lighting, a ceramic tile floor and exhaust fan. The payoff can be huge, with total costs (after adjusting for the increase in sell value for your home) weighing in at under $2000, a small price to pay considering the vast difference in enjoyment you’ll experience. One trick many remodelers neglect is replacing a new pedestal sink for an old cabinet, giving the illusion of space.


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