Have you gotten caught up in the home renovation craze?

If you are into popular TV shows such as “Love or List It” or “Extreme Home Makeover” maybe you are considering making a few improvements around your home. Whether you plan to live in your house for a number of years and enjoy the renovations or you plan to sell your home in the next year you should evaluate the total cost of the renovation.

A great way to do this is estimate the return or how much the project can potentially increase the value of your home. Here is a list of my recommended projects based on how I see my clients react to renovations they see during viewings and open houses.

1. Paint Interior and Exterior Walls

Return: Up to 300%

Painting is a simple task that can be undertaken by just about any homeowner – you don’t have to be a plumber by trade or a designer by night to update the colors on your interior and exterior walls. New paint can make the home feel much newer. Just be sure to choose current and neutral colors that will please any prospective buyer.

2. Renovate the Kitchen

Return: Between 70 and 120%

If your family is like mine a lot of our time is spent in the kitchen. Even though this is one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate there are a lot of ways to keep your costs low while still ending up with a great result.

3. Add a Bathroom or Remodel Existing Bathroom

Return: Between 65 and 130%

A general rule of thumb is to have one bathroom per two people living in a home; if your house seems to be lacking a bathroom a new addition can provide great returns. Updating your old pink bathtub or dated cabinets and mirror can also earn a good return.

4. Replace Old Windows and Doors

Return: Between 50 and 90%

New windows and doors can bring your house into the current decade as well as improve the energy efficiency of the home. When viewing houses, new windows and doors are highly visible and noticed by prospective buyers.

5. Upgrade to Energy Efficient Appliances

Return: Variable

Energy efficient appliances and upgrades will provide immediate savings on energy bills, often earning a full return before you even sell your home. Prospective buyers like to see energy efficient washing machines, high-efficiency furnaces and better insulation because it means it will cost them less to maintain the home. Remember there are a number of government incentives and rebates to make these renovations more affordable.

Other renovation projects with good returns include finishing unfinished rooms such as a basement, adding or expanding an outdoor deck, adding bedrooms and remodeling the office.

I would also like to point out that when these renovations are done poorly or cheaply, it shows. Buyers are often turned away from poor craftsmanship and instead of viewing the renovations as valuable can count them as a strike against the home, since they will have to pay out of their own pocket to redo the project(s).

Are you considering any of these home renovation projects?

If you are planning on selling your house after doing renovations I would suggest checking out your competition. What are other houses of similar size selling for your neighborhood? What renovated areas seem to demand a price premium among these listings? You are welcome to use my BC Homes for Sale Search Tool to help you do this.