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Home Improvements that Pay Off

images-8As homeowners we all try to keep our house up to date. Whether it’s adding granite counters, a new light fixture, or a whole new bathroom, we want our house to look beautiful and feel comfortable. But how do we do that without spending money that disappears when we sell? We often think that what sparkles and shines will net the most money when it comes time to sell. Not so fast homeowners, usually it’s not the luxury upgrades that net the most profit, but rather practical necessities. A well cared for home, retrofitted with the right upgrades, can be enjoyed while living there AND helps your pocketbook when you sell.

Some home improvements are expensive and don’t have a large return, so let’s start with discussing the shiny sparkly upgrades you need to RESIST.

aboveGroundPoolMoney1. Pools are literally a hole in your backyard that you throw money into and can never find again. The average return on a pool is at most 25% of what you spent building, not to mention the cost it takes to maintain while you have one. Also remember that many buyers are seeking houses without pools and often will not even look at a house that has one. If a pool is important to you and your family, then by all means, build one, but don’t expect a financial return. You would save more money joining a community pool, club or gym where you have pool access without the hassle of maintenance.

2. Flooring is another upgrade that can drain your checkbook. I am not saying never repair the floors, just be wise with your flooring choices. For example, wood floors are beautiful, but they are expensive and scratch easily. You would be smarter to choose a wood-like laminate that is both beautiful and durable. (Tip: check out some of the new synthetic brands, they are cheap and look exactly like wood.) Also keep in mind people often put in new carpet when they move into a home, so just make sure your floors are professionally cleaned and the new owners will make their own adjustments.

3. Bells and whistles make your home more comfortable while you live there, but don’t expect them to increase the value of your home. Water features, speaker systems and elaborate lighting might add to the overall beauty of the home and catch a buyer’s eye but will not return that money to your pocket.

The takeaway is, if you want a cool shiney new feature for your home, do it for yourself and your families enjoyment. There is no price tag on your family’s happiness, but remember these are for comfort and not investment. Here you can find more suggestions from HGTV’s wonderful website.

Now let’s get to the GOOD STUFF. These upgrades will not only bring joy to your family, but will also put money back in your account when you sell.

1. Roofing is a huge need and will make sure that your house sells in a timely manner without any hold-ups during escrow. Yes it’s not flashy and you probably won’t even notice an upgrade here, but the roof is your umbrella and will make sure the rest of the house doesn’t lose value. Surprisingly, roofs have about an 85-90% return, so make sure it’s a priority if it’s time for a redo.

2. Painting the outside of your house offers about an 80% return. First impressions are huge in our world, so if a buyer drives up to a shabby looking house, they will either leave without looking or expect to pay less than asking price.

fortress3. Decking can be expensive to install but often yields an 85% return on the investment. A nice large deck is an attractive feature for families and couples who like to entertain. It provides a place to have dinner, relax with a book or throw a BBQ. Especially in Sacramento, with almost year-round outdoor weather, this can bee a great addition that is enjoyed before and after selling the house.

awesome-kitchen-island-tables-with-chairs-with-wooden-cabinet4. There is much debate about kitchen upgrades but ultimately I decided to include it in the valuable section because if done correctly, a remodeled kitchen can yield a HUGE return and help the house sell faster. The kitchen is the center of the house. It’s occupied more often (while awake) than the bedroom and tends to be the hub of parties and gatherings. Homeowners can see up to an 83% return on investment for a well-done kitchen. However, keep in mind I am talking about a realistic upgrade – don’t buy handmade imported Italian wood cabinets and the rarest type of granite for your counters – seriously, no one can tell the difference, just make sure it’s durable and attractive. To learn of more home improvements and renovations that are worth the money, read more here.

Our homes are supposed to be comfortable, and a reflection of ourselves. Home improvements have the potential to make our homes more fun while we are there, and can offer a large return on investment when we sell. If you are thinking about adding some upgrades, it’s always a good idea to consult with a real estate professional about the conditions of your local market and popular touches to improve your home’s value. Click here for more home improvements that really pay off.

If you ever have any real estate questions or know someone who is looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate, feel free to contact me at

Have a wonderful Holiday Season everyone!

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2 Responses to “Home Improvements that Pay Off”

  • I’m extremely pleased to find this website. I want to to thank
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    • Patrick Smith
      Written on

      Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. Is there anything specific you picked out from the blog that you will use on your own home? Also is there any other things you would like to read about on our website, and our blogs as we are always looking for great new ideas?

      Thank you so much.

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