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Five Home Upgrades That Pay Off and Five That Don’t

By David Domenichini

Buying a house is one of the most important investments a person will ever make. We are often extremely attached to our homes and put an immense amount of pride into them. There are times, however, from an investment standpoint when it’s wise to think twice about a remodeling project and whether it’s an emotional decision or if it will truly add value to your home.

Here are five remodeling projects that typically make good financial sense when considering the resale value of your home and five that don’t.

Recommended Renovations to Increase a Home’s Value

Kitchen Remodels

These days the kitchen is the central hub of most households and one of the main areas of the home that buyers factor into their decisions. It’s the place where the family gathers for meals, homework, entertaining guests, late-night cocktails, etc. It’s no wonder that a kitchen remodel is one of the most common in terms of increasing the value of your home. In order to get the most return on your money, it’s best to use the existing layout and avoid moving plumbing, appliances, etc.

Home Remodel to Add Living Space

Newly added square footage increases your home’s value and is typically a very good investment. Regardless of the size of the addition, there are certain costs that will be incurred when adding more square footage, such as demolition of an existing exterior wall, a new foundation, a new roof, exterior siding, and potentially new windows, so make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

Home Remodel to Add or Improve Curb Appeal

A potential home buyer’s first impression of a home is very important. Even if the inside is completely remodeled, some people will avoid going any further if the front of the home doesn’t have the curb appeal they’re looking for. There are a number of very affordable projects that can improve a home’s appearance, including basic landscaping and re-painting. Other more costly changes, but wise investments, are new windows, an upgraded entryway, or a front porch.

Remodeling a Primary Bedroom

The environment in which you sleep is an important decision when buying a home. Potential home buyers usually pay more attention to primary bedrooms than any other bedroom in the house.

Bathroom Remodels

A bathroom remodel is similar to a kitchen remodel, where you will see the most return on your investment if you focus on cosmetic changes and utilize the existing layout. Home buyers are most interested in the primary bath, which is where you’ll want to focus most of your efforts compared to other bathrooms in the home.

Investments Less Likely to Improve a Home’s Value:

Remodeling Kids’ Rooms and Play Spaces

A unique children's room or playroom with all the bells and whistles can bring many years of enjoyment for your children and may seem like a wise investment at the time; however, that indoor tree house or rock climbing wall may be a deterrent for potential home buyers that don’t have children, or who may have already grown up and moved out. Be careful when re-designing these spaces, and consider easily removable structures as an option.

Adding a Backyard Pool

While having a new pool installed may increase the value of your home, it is unlikely to pay for itself, as some home buyers will perceive it as a negative maintenance expense, safety issue, or liability.

Adding a Wine Room

Original and uniquely personal designs of any space will rarely appeal to a large group of people. When considering adding a new space, such as a wine room, consider how personal and unique it is to yourself and if the majority of people would feel as strongly as you do about the style, features, and floorplan.

Removing or Remodeling Features like Fireplaces or Wet Bars

While there are some features that can be wise to consider removing these days, such as overhead cabinets in a kitchen to create a more open space, there are other features that are not worth spending time and money on in the long run. You will want to consider the cost of the demolition and repair of the area, as well as whether or not a future buyer may wish the feature had not been removed in the first place.

Minor Additions

Sometimes the idea of bumping a bedroom or bathroom by just a few feet seems like a great idea since it’s adding more space; however, you are unlikely to recoup the actual cost when it comes time to sell your home.

Before Deciding to Remodel, Consider How Long You Plan to Stay in the Home

If you plan on selling your home in the very near future, it is best to heed the above advice. However, if you plan on living in it for a while prior to selling, it is important to be comfortable in your surroundings, and perhaps deviating from these guidelines a bit isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And there is one last thing to consider: sometimes a home improvement project won’t necessarily add value to your home, but it may make it more marketable and help it sell faster.

About the Author:

David Domenichini is the owner and proprietor of D.R. Domenichini Construction, an award-winning kitchen and bath remodeler in Morgan Hill serving all of Santa Clara County. He brings nearly 30 years of experience to his family-owned and operated business. David resides in the Morgan Hill area with his wife, Gina, who owns Studio 38 Designs, an award-winning kitchen and bath interior design studio.


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