SPOTTLIGHT — Is There Any Value to Upgrading My Home?

September 1, 2017

By Toni Spott

Toni Spott

So you’re thinking of maybe upgrading some rooms in your home and you’re wondering if there is any value to it. The simple answer is yes!

But first and foremost, do the upgrade for you! Live with it and enjoy it. What I see time and time again is people living for a long time with some aspect of their home that doesn’t thrill them. Then they do the remodel or upgrade right before they sell which means they’ve fixed it up for someone else.

Which home upgrades are good investments? Well, not all home improvements are good ones.

According to Remodeling Magazine (, you’re less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than with basic home maintenance or upgrades such a such as new siding. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. Replacing roofs and windows was also high on the list, returning 80 percent or more when the home was sold.

The only home improvement likely to return more was a minor kitchen remodel that would cost, roughly $15,000. That, on average, returned 92.9 percent. Don’t let that discourage you from redoing the kitchen or bathroom, since buyers see those two rooms as those they want upgraded.

What Remodeling Magazine doesn’t state is that the most important thing you can do is take care of the basic home maintenance. Things that you need to do on a yearly basis are to have the furnace and hot water heater inspected, and if needed, repaired or replaced. Check your roof and gutters to make sure they are in good condition, and if not, replace. Make sure you do not have water in your basement and the foundation is in good condition. These are not the sexy things to do but they are essential to the upkeep of a home and should be done before any other upgrades!

Deciding what rooms to upgrade is important. If you are thinking about upgrading your kitchen perhaps but you only have one bathroom in the house, I would highly recommend that you try to add another bath, if possible, first. That investment returns an average of 86.4 percent.

Please don’t do the work yourself! Hire a licensed contractor to it. Get permits and lien waivers for the work done. Shop around for a good contractor, seek referrals, and do your own research after you’ve narrowed down the field to one or two that seem like the best choice.

Curb appeal is also important. This too can be an upgrade. New siding or paint or a new front porch can be a game changer.

As for color, most homeowners think it’s good to follow the current trends, but that’s not always a good thing. Today’s trends become yesterday’s not-so-cool thing in a hurry. Find something that has a timeless feel to it. As much as you may think that neutrals have a boring feel to them, they work for most people. When you have incorporated a neutral palette, it makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine their preferred color palette.

In the end, what you get back on your home after home improvements, really depends on the value of your home, the value of the homes in your neighborhood, and what’s going on with the housing market in the area you live in. Over-improving your home for the area you live in doesn’t make any sense nor will you get your money back.

To read the 2017 Cost/Value Report for Milwaukee: Note, you will have to register (free) before you are able to view the data.

Toni Spott Sustainable Agent,
Keller Williams Realty;

Facebook: Toni Spott’s Real Estate Resource;
Twitter: @ToniSpottsRealEstateResource

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