Home improvements have two main purposes: one is to beautify the home for your own pleasure and the other is to increase the value of your home for future buyers. If your main goal is to increase your home’s net worth, certain types of home improvements won’t make much of a difference at all—they’ll likely only serve to drain your pockets today.
Improving the exterior of your home is smart for increasing “curb appeal” but going over the top is not likely to turn you a profit. For example, building a full basketball court in your backyard or having an expensive swimming pool and Jacuzzi installed might make a potential buyer more interested in buying the house, but it’s not likely to add that much to the selling price. Focus on basic, affordable exterior improvements like laying down new grass, planting bushes or painting the home a more delightful color.
Many people believe that whole-house carpeting is a desirable attribute for a home because it makes the house more comfortable. But in truth you may be limiting the options of a potential buyer or turning him off altogether by installing carpet throughout your house. Carpeting is difficult to maintain. It requires expensive professional maintenance and the color that you choose might not appeal to a potential buyer. The buyer may end up having to pay money to have the carpet removed, which could put a damper on your future sales negotiations. Leave the floor bare and have it restored instead—this gives future buyers more of a clean slate to work with so that their imaginations can run wild.
Having a covered garage is a wonderful feature for a new homeowner who drives, but it is something that is expected in many suburban areas. It’s not likely to add much over the value of other similar homes in the area. So ultimately building a garage addition can cost more than it’s worth when it comes to increasing your home’s overall net value. Also, there are so many alternative options that a homeowner has when it comes to protecting his cars from the weather; for instance, car covers and car tents. Instead of building a garage you might want to just focus on ensuring that the driveway is well-paved and pothole-free.
If you’re trying to decide if a home improvement is worthwhile, put yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes. Would this be an attribute you’d be willing to pay more money for at the closing table? Does the amount that you would pay exceed the cost of the improvement? Use your honest answers to those questions as your guide.