Home Renovation BlueprintUpdating a home with more living space, sustainable materials, and modernized fixtures and features can substantially increase property values and yield a significant return on investment.  Properties that have been renovated are more appealing to buyers and renters.

The Top 3 Changes You Must Make

Renovations can substantially increase property values provided they are done wisely and correctly.  Many shy away from renovations due to the cost and effort involved as well as the lack of certainty of return on investment.  Certainly, there are some home upgrades that won’t yield significant returns.  For example:

  • Highly personalized changes – It’s fine if you want to turn that fifth bedroom into a sauna, but don’t expect it to increase property value
  • Technology upgrades – A remotely operated gas range in the kitchen or heated marble flooring in the bathrooms is great, but technological luxuries don’t often yield the greatest return on investment.
  • Over-improving the home – If every other condo in the unit has granite countertops and ceramic tile, then natural stone and Amish wood flooring and quartz countertops might not yield the same kind of return as they would in a condominium where luxury materials are customary.

When it comes to updates that will yield a decent return on investment, there are some modifications that boost a property’s value regardless of location and of property type (ex: condominium, beach house, cottage, bungalow, etc.).

  1. Create Space

Space equity is very important in terms of property value.  Wasted space can be a turn-off for some buyers.  While newer structures embraced the concept of an open floor plan, older properties (those built in the late 80s and earlier, generally are not open concept (of course, many of these places are structurally unique and often very charming).

When creating space, look to the main living areas to see where improvements can be made.

  • Open Walls: Today’s buyers like to have a view of the family from the kitchen, so if the kitchen is isolated, explore the option of removing or opening a wall to create the feeling that the room is more spacious. If the wall you’re thinking of moving is load-bearing, consider using a drop beam or columns to create the same effect of removing the wall without added expense of making major structural changes.
  • Enlarge Small, Frequently Used Rooms: Many bathrooms are designed with function, not space, in mind, which means in less modern properties, even master bathrooms can be too small to accommodate more than one person at once. A large, luxury shower is a much more attractive selling feature than a cramped space that tries to fit too much (a standard-sized tub, shower stall, toilet, and line closet) into a small area.  If you have to get rid of storage to enlarge a space, consider using shelves (nice shelving for towels in the bathroom, for example) to compensate.  Relative to shelves, nice closet shelving can also make a home’s storage options seem more spacious.
  • Expand Outdoor Living Spaces: Adding or enhancing a back deck is considered to be one improvement that yields high return on investment(as high as 87%). In areas that are perpetually warm like the sunny Florida panhandle strip known as 30A, property owners spend a lot of time outdoors barbecuing, watching the sunset, socializing with friends and  neighbors, and enjoying a quiet cocktail hour.  In areas like this, outdoor living space is a must.

RulerOne thing that goes without saying is that when you’re looking at doing structural changes like removing walls or adding on, it is important to leave it to the professionals.  Hire someone with experience; contact a structural engineer; get requisite building permits if need be.   By trying to DIY a major structural project, you run the risk of causing costly damage to the property or of diminishing the resale value because prospective buyers will be wary to invest in uncertified work.

  1. Refresh with Sustainable Materials

Most buyers expect properties to look and feel updated.  Part of updating involves using natural, sustainable materials in the home’s refresh.

  • Countertops: Find out what others in the area are doing; granite is a popular choice, but quartz is quickly becoming the luxury go-to countertop option. Others –especially on say, a kitchen island, lean toward bamboo.
  • Flooring:Particularly in beach real estate, carpeting can be a nightmare; opt for flooring that is more enduring like luxury vinyl or engineered hardwood. These surfaces are more robust and can sustain heavy foot traffic (especially if you have a rental), grit from beach sand and salt, and other wear and tear. Not only are these flooring options beautiful, they tend to avoid looking dated.  When a home with these floors does start to look dated, newly painted walls and an updated area rug are all it takes to refresh the space; there’s no need to replace the flooring.
  1. Modernize Kitchen & Bathroom Features

Modernization is very important to a home’s appeal, and it can be done relatively easy.  Current trends are for brushed nickel and bronze; however, 30 years ago, polished gold was all the rage.  No buyer wants to enter a home and see outdated finishings.

  • Replace knobs and handles: Replacing knobs and handles quickly give any room in a home a facelift
  • Paint walls in neutral shades:Pick bright, neutral colors; the character should come through in the décor.
  • Give old cabinets new life with a paint job: Use an olive, grey, or shade of blue that works with the wall color choice and décor; old cabinetry in kitchen and bathrooms instantly look new when painted.

Neutral-colored walls, freshly painted cabinetry with updated hardware, sustainable materials used throughout, and increased space economy are three strong ways to renovate without much hassle that guarantees to appeal to renters and buyers alike.  Further, the return on investment with these modifications is generally high.

The emerald 30A coastline is a perfect place to live, love, and play.  Whether you are buying or selling, improve your home’s value with these three easy renovations.  As your friend and realtor, coastal living expert, Melissa Clements, about neighboring properties in your community before you improve a recent purchase or a future sale.  Melissa will happily work with you every step of the way to ensure that your home improvements yield the best possible return on investment.