Home Improvements that Can Add Value and Remove Value

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Remodeling is a great pastime. It is a satisfying sight to conceive a project, watch the progress unfold, and then live in the remodeled home. Before you grab the hammer and start hammering away, you need to understand the effects of renovation on the overall value of your home.

When considering improving your home you need to be sure that your project will increase the value of your home (i.e. at the very least be something buyers will pay more for should you sell your home). At the very least your home improvements should amount to what a buyer will pay for. So putting granite in a mini-home may not be the wisest choice to make. Before starting a renovation, it is always best to talk to a local REALTOR® to be sure that is the best place to be putting your money.

Some safe bets on what will increase your value (assuming these items need a redo) are:

 Replacing Garage Door

It may not seem like an important upgrade, but replacing your garage door with a new one can increase the value and curb appeal of your property. This is especially important if all the homes in your neighborhood have the commonality of a garage. There are many upscale garage doors in the market that are built with durable materials such as steel, aluminum, and wood composites with high performance and energy saving properties. Wood is a very safe option, however it is not safe from the changing weathers and can easily wear off in bad weather. If you are opting for a wood
garage door, consider fiberglass or a wood composite. This not only gives an elegant appearance, but is more durable as compared to wood.

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Stone Veneer on Exterior

Another common improvement to the exterior of a home is enhancing it with manufactured stone veneer. A manufactured stone veneer is not really made of stone, however it is a man-made material that is shaped in molds (usually concrete). It looks just as real as stone and it is also installed in the same way. It is a great initiative to boost the appeal of the curb and to update a boring exterior – it also is stain and fade resistant. Even if you just cover a small portion of your home, you will benefit from it.


While upgrading your windows, there is an expectation that you choose low-energy vinyl windows. This renovation is often done the same time that one would change the siding of a home, so think about the colors of both the window trim and the siding to ensure they do not clash. When a home has had the windows and siding (along with the doors and roof), buyers are typically more likely to choose this property as the most expensive renos will have been completed.

Remodeling Bathrooms & Kitchens

A bathroom remodel usually consists of updating the tiles, small fixtures, toilets, counters, and the lighting. In a kitchen remodel this often goes beyond the cabinets, to the appliances and the flooring. What bathrooms and kitchens share in common, is that they both bring a big return to the value of your home if they are done well.

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Ways to Lose Money on Renovations

The biggest mistake people make however, is to over improve their home in these areas. If your neighborhood does not have granite, high end cabinets or expensive marble floors, you won’t get a return on your money. Improve areas within the neighborhood norm and you’ll almost always come out on top. Ways you can see what your neighborhood’s expectations are would be to walk around the neighborhood and visit open houses to give you a clear picture as to what a successful renovated house looks like and what expectations are of buyers.

Similarly to physical characteristics of your home, we must also look at WHO you are renovating your home for. Which demographic market you are renovating for? You need to know your customers. If you are renovating for a family with children, then you will have to renovate the house differently. You will have to focus on the needs of the children and their safety.

The aim of gaining the highest value out of your home is to target the changes that are visible and can immediately grab the attention of the buyers. There are some renos that will not ALWAYS add value to your home (check with your REALTOR® to double check), especially if it is not a needed renovation such as:

  • Insulation
  • Air condition ducts
  • Replacing the roof
  • Rewiring
  • Rebuilding the driveway
  • Adding a pool (most areas this will not add value)
  • Installing an alarm system
  • Extensive landscaping

All of these items are great renos, but the key is doing them WHEN NECESSARY. Taking on rewiring the entire home for example is costly and if your wiring does not need replacement and is just older, chances are you will not sell your home for more just because this has been done.

Not all renovations are equal so be wise and make sure you find a REALTOR® who can help guide you in this process. Improving a home can be very satisfying, but if you over improve your home by accident and lose thousands when you resell, those renovations won’t feel as glamorous at they once did!