These 7 Major Home Renovations Add Value

Which renovations increase home values the most? These remodeling ideas are the most likely to be worth your time and money.

Whether you're preparing for a move or simply looking to update your home, remodeling can be a huge undertaking—so it's important to know whether the reward will be worth the effort. Knowing which renovations will yield the highest return for your money is key, so that when it comes time to sell, you can demand a higher price. Ultimately, you'll want to make the best home improvements to add value to your home. Before you decide on a remodel project, evaluate its cost versus its value, and decide if the renovation you want to do is a worthy investment of your time and money. So what renovations offer the biggest impact on a home's value? Six Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate experts weigh in on which projects are actually worth taking on. Here are the best home renovations for potentially raising the resale value of your home.

pale gray home exterior with black shutters and wood front door
Helen Norman

1. Create an Addition

As your family grows, why shouldn't your home? Consider building an addition to add major value to your home and increase square footage. Maximize your investment by selecting the perfect materials and details to enhance your home's value and character. "Any kind of physical expansion—whether it's a new bedroom, an extension of a living room, or whatever space you desire—has a huge impact," says Joe Rand, managing partner and general counsel at Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty. "If you can add square footage to a house, you always add value. Size matters!"

white vintage contemporary kitchen
Emily Followill

2. Redo Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home, so functionality is a top priority. Remodeling a kitchen can be exciting and satisfying, especially when it's designed to meet your needs and desires. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry's 2019 remodeling impact report, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover up to 52% of the cost of a kitchen upgrade upon selling the home.

"Updating the kitchen with new appliances and bathrooms with new plumbing fixtures may seem trivial, but it's a must," says Brad Carlton, sales associate at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers. "Currently, there are many kitchen features that are trending in the Atlanta area, such as wine refrigerators, drawer-style microwaves and dishwashers, commercial-style ranges, and hidden outlets."

Bathroom with dark brick and marble
Annie Schlecther

3. Renovate a Bathroom

An updated bathroom is a major selling point for any home. When renovating, incorporate sleek surfaces for a sparkling space that makes cleaning a cinch. According to the same report by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover up to 57% of the cost of a bathroom renovation if they sell their home.

"If a home has only one bathroom or at most a one and a half bathroom, adding a shower to a half bath, or adding a half bath to a living area for guests immediately improves the appraised value of a home," says Jody Steinberg, realtor, LaVista Hills Team, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers.

Living room with patterned rug and blue walls
Helen Norman

4. Update Your Home’s HVAC

Your home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are the components that keep everything operating. These are some of the most critical items to maintain. In addition, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 85% of the cost of a HVAC replacement if they sell their home.

"Buyers are often taken aback when, upon inspection, a home's heater, air conditioner, and roof are found to be old or in poor shape," says Derek Whitner, realtor, Team Whitner, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers. "Studies have shown that millennials are unwilling to overlook old mechanicals, even if the seller is offering a home warranty as a way to compensate for the age of these systems."

Flowering plants with armchairs and sofa at patio
Keller and Keller Photography Inc

5. Amplify Outdoor Living Space

Nothing beats the option of entertaining outdoors. An outdoor living space will make your home a relaxing destination for get-togethers and add major value. No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to update your backyard, porch, or patio.

"Tap the outdoors for extra living space," says Mary Hutchison, senior sales executive, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes. "In the old days, just about everyone had a front porch or screened-in area to shade themselves from the Midwestern heat, and these classic features are still in demand. A screened-in porch or backyard patio—especially one that includes an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill and small fridge—makes a wonderful additional entertaining area."

Mediterranean-style ranch exterior with tropical plants
Michael Garland

6. Make Your Home More Accessible

Home renovations should be made with universal design principles in mind. That means creating a space for people of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities. Take careful inventory early in the planning process of all intended users' capabilities, preferences, and tastes.

"If it is possible to make your home more accessible, your home will be more welcoming to guests, more marketable to the largest audience, and best of all, you will be able to age in place," says Steinberg. "Do this by widening doorways, changing a main-level tub to a shower, clearing a path to a stepless entrance, or by adding a door to the back or side of your house."

large dining room table black chairs home decor

7. Update Your Light Fixtures

Lighting is one of the simplest renovations that will add value to your home. You'll be amazed by how well-placed pools of warm light can make your home inviting and user-friendly. Consider the design, as well as function, when choosing the right light fixtures for your rooms.

"Updated styles of interior and exterior light fixtures are readily available at big box stores and online retailers for a bit of pocket change," says Robin Wolfram, realtor/designer at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate All Seasons-Rochester. "It can provide the big wow factor many homes would otherwise lack. If shopping online, be sure to look for any 'open box' pricing: an undamaged item that was returned simply because someone changed their mind."

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