What home improvements are worth it

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herennow
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What home improvements are worth it

Post by herennow »

We bought a decent house that needs some TLC. Would the experienced bogleheads kindly suggest the improvements that might be most worth the time and effort and economics. We may live here for the medium term, between 3 and 7 years. Original cost of house 240k.

We are only looking for simple to moderate quality improvements, nothing high end.

1. Yard work. Front yard is pretty beat up. Looking at stonework, mulching and new plants. Cost $1000
2. Lighting. Kitchen has working 'shop lights', but would like recessed lights. $500
3. Kitchen. Countertops are laminate, corian/granite upgrade with a new kitchen faucet is wanted. $3000
4. Garage. Concrete floors with grease stains. New paint and finishing. $400
5. Fence. This is less of a want, more a need. Needs a fresh coat of sealer/stain. $300.

We are yet to furnish our house in the way of beds, artwork etc. Expected cost about $3000.

Please list the items in the order of priority, and perhaps why they are given the priority they are given.
Last edited by herennow on Tue May 09, 2017 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Elsebet
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Elsebet »

I would suggest you order the list based on which things would make you most happy because none of those improvements is likely to add much value to the home, except perhaps #3 having a minor factor. The others may help you sell faster.

For #3, do you live in a neighborhood where Corian/granite counters are the norm? You never want to be the most expensively outfitted house in a neighbborhood.
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fishmonger
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by fishmonger »

Landscaping gives a great bang for your buck, and can be done cheaply. However, when it comes to increasing FMV of a home as much as a fresh coat of paint, interior and exterior
PFInterest
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by PFInterest »

For 3 years? None of those.
BW1985
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by BW1985 »

Yard work and kitchen. Lights can be changed for much cheaper than $500, they don't have to be recessed but that may be worth it to you over the time that you're there.
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herennow
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by herennow »

Elsebet wrote:For #3, do you live in a neighborhood where Corian/granite counters are the norm? You never want to be the most expensively outfitted house in a neighbborhood.
Ours is one of the new'er' houses in the neighborhood (late 90s), and also the smallest floor plan. Bigger houses in the neighborhood sell in the range of 350k-400k.
bloom2708
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by bloom2708 »

1, 2 and maybe 5 for resale/appearance. Can you just replace the fixture in the kitchen instead of putting in recessed can lights? That seems to not be required.

I would prioritize beds. Sleeping on a bed is important. Check out reviews on Amazon. You do not need to spend $1,000, $1,500, $2,000 on a bed these days.

Art (very low). Hit your local thrift stores.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
LiterallyIronic
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by LiterallyIronic »

bloom2708 wrote:You do not need to spend $1,000, $1,500, $2,000 on a bed these days.
But, on the flipside, don't cheap out about it. We bought our queen mattress and boxspring from RC Wiley for $300. The commission-based salesman told us not to buy it, but we figured he wanted a higher commission. But he was right - don't go that cheap.

To OP's question, I would do yard work first, then fence, then kitchen counters, then kitchen lights, then garage. I don't know how much they affect the resale value, but I think that's the order that would most improve quality of life.
bloom2708
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by bloom2708 »

LiterallyIronic wrote:
bloom2708 wrote:You do not need to spend $1,000, $1,500, $2,000 on a bed these days.
But, on the flipside, don't cheap out about it. We bought our queen mattress and boxspring from RC Wiley for $300. The commission-based salesman told us not to buy it, but we figured he wanted a higher commission. But he was right - don't go that cheap.

To OP's question, I would do yard work first, then fence, then kitchen counters, then kitchen lights, then garage. I don't know how much they affect the resale value, but I think that's the order that would most improve quality of life.
This is a good site for mattress reviews we used when picking:

https://sleepopolis.com/mattress-reviews/

Brooklyn Bedding is a good value.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
adamthesmythe
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by adamthesmythe »

You should ask which improvments are "more" worth it- that is, most likely to return a good fraction on resale.

Do-it-yourself painting is almost certainly a good idea, provided you do a decent job, and not including the garage floor. Maybe the garage walls would pay better.

At those prices you are also talking about do-it-yourself yard work. Probably worthwhile.

Lighting has a surprising impact if done well.

Countertops are probably the least likely to pay unless the present ones are very bad. At your price point new formica might be an option.

Any of these will make the house show better and sell faster when time to sell comes around. If you do it now you get to enjoy for a while so it may be an overall win even if strictly speaking it doesn't pay.
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Pajamas
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Pajamas »

Only #2 and #3 seem like renovations, the others seem more like routine maintenance that should be done whether or not you would profit from them.

Switching the lights out probably won't be worthwhile if you are only thinking about profit when selling. An expensive kitchen renovation wouldn't be worthwhile, either, but a moderately-priced one would be.

If you are going to stay put for 3-7 years and can afford to redo the kitchen, do it now so you get the maximum enjoyment out of it.
KATNYC
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by KATNYC »

herennow wrote:We bought a decent house that needs some TLC. Would the experienced bogleheads kindly suggest the improvements that might be most worth the time and effort and economics. We may live here for the medium term, between 3 and 7 years. Original cost of house 240k.

We are only looking for simple to moderate quality improvements, nothing high end.

1. Yard work. Front yard is pretty beat up. Looking at stonework, mulching and new plants. Cost $1000
2. Lighting. Kitchen has working 'shop lights', but would like recessed lights. $500
3. Kitchen. Countertops are laminate, corian/granite upgrade with a new kitchen faucet is wanted. $3000
4. Garage. Concrete floors with grease stains. New paint and finishing. $400
5. Fence. This is less of a want, more a need. Needs a fresh coat of sealer/stain. $300.

We are yet to furnish our house in the way of beds, artwork etc. Expected cost about $3000.

Please list the items in the order of priority, and perhaps why they are given the priority they are given.
If you are looking for resale value, upgrading the kitchen and yard work (curb appeal) may get you a bump up.
Upgrading the bathroom usually gets a bump up as well.
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herennow
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by herennow »

Thank you for the suggestions. We are also inclined to get the yard work done first. Fence stain will be next. Kitchen should follow, but unable to bring ourselves to spend $3000, or more for the upgrades.

We do have bed frames, box springs and mattresses. Was talking about getting new bedroom sets.
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Pajamas
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Pajamas »

Yes, basic landscaping should come first because time increases the value of trees and shrubs as they grow. Staining the fence is important too, to help protect it from the weather.

Go slow on the rest, including buying new furniture. I see a lot of posts for almost-new furniture for sale in my apartment building because people move in, go out and buy lots of expensive furniture to completely fill their apartment, and then decide some of it is not right. Sometimes it doesn't even fit in the space it was purchased for. Even if it is all okay, it will look like they went out and bought it all at the same time, sort of like a furniture showroom or something staged for a magazine, rather than a comfortable home with personality.

If the walls are in okay condition, I also wait a little while to paint until I see how bright the different rooms are at different times of the day during different weather and seasons. Same for the kitchen lighting. Recessed lighting might not work well in a kitchen where task lighting is as important as ambient lighting. It is often used for accent lighting but can cast patterns of light and shadow that are unattractive if not planned properly.

Hanging anything on the walls should come after placing furniture and living with it for a while to see if it needs to be moved a little or a lot.
JGoneRiding
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by JGoneRiding »

5. Is maintaince and needs to be done no matter what.

The garage floor is meaningless to just about anyone purchasing and should only be done if you will be directly happy.

The lighting is probably valuable

I would only do the counter top if you felt you would be there long enough to benefit.

The landscape should be kept up to neighborhood standards but don't go crazy
jharkin
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by jharkin »

Three are two aspects to the "Is it worth it question"

1 - Is it worth it to you for the extra enjoyment you will get from your home while you live there.
2 - Will it pay back a positive ROI in resale value.

The answer to the second is almost every home improvement costs more than the incremental additional price you will be able to sell for down the road, assuming you can even accurately calculate that (you cant). Certain things though can be a factor in getting your house to sell over another house in a buyers market (like a flashy kitchen).

Bottom line, most of the expenses you list are quite small for a 240k house... I probably spend more than that annually just on basic maintenance and my house is not an order of magnitude bigger or anything (around 350-375) and I DIY most things.

I would do the fence painting yourself. If you can work a brush it will probably cost just a couple cans of paint. (i.e. $50-100)
Then the yard work...
Then the kitchen as this will probably be your biggest improvement in enjoyment of the home...
Garage is last, and I might not even bother. Grease stains in garages are common and is only a cosmetic thing that many people dont care about.
Last edited by jharkin on Wed May 10, 2017 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
jlcnuke
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by jlcnuke »

Honestly, the ones you should do are the ones that you will enjoy. When talking home renovations of any kind, the "Average" return on investment is less than 100%. That means you'll get back less than you spend on it. From a purely financial standpoint, that means pretty much none are "worth it" as a 0.1% checking account has a better ROI. There are some that will help your home sell faster (better curb appeal etc) if the area happens to be more of a buyer's market when you do sell, but I can't tell you what the real estate market where you live will be like in 3-7 years. As such, whether it'll actually be faster or not is unknown.


Edit: I wanted to add. If you can do basic wiring (learn on youtube if you can't) and can patch the ceiling where necessary (learn on youtube if you can't), you should be able to do the recessed lighting on your own for under $200 assuming you have to also buy the tools for the job, less if you already own standard tools.
barnaclebob
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by barnaclebob »

My rank is:

Kitchen lights: crappy lighting in the kitchen sucks to live with

Yard: it will feel much nicer pulling up to a good looking yard every day and will increase curb appeal. A good yard can make a house feel more maintained to future buyers

New faucet on old countertops: A good faucet makes using the kitchen much more pleasant

Fence: You said its a need but i don't mind my gray fence...

Garage floor: Personally i wouldn't do this, its a garage floor...

Countertops: Too expensive for how long you will be there and considering its not a full kitchen upgrade I find it hard to believe just adding new countertops will be a good idea.
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by tennisplyr »

Just sold our home of 35 years that was in need of TLC. I would suggest the following:

1. Kitchen updating...lighting, countertops
2. Exterior curb appeal, fresh coat of paint, plantings, clean
3. Interior paint, if possible.
4. Declutter...less is more
5. Bright interior...no large, dark window shades-cheap pole lamps work wonders.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.
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herennow
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by herennow »

We started the yard work, and turns out the initial estimate is off by 50%, at the least :oops:
edge
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by edge »

Ya, 1000$ for stone work and the rest seems really low.
sls239
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by sls239 »

I've replaced the kitchen faucet on the last 2 houses I've lived in. It is neither difficult nor expensive. You use that faucet every day, get one you like. Don't wait.
Admiral
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Admiral »

I would not renovate a kitchen piecemeal. The counter sits on the cabinets. If you're doing the counter, do the cabinets. In Ikea (which has gotten better) if needed, but do it all at once. Appliances, fixtures, cabinets, light, flooring, paint. It's worth it. Get a home equity loan if needed. I've never for a second regretted re-doing ours, cost was about $20k though of course one can spend much, much more, or a bit less for a small kitchen (ours is good sized).

Most newer appliances don't last much beyond 7 years...perhaps stoves.

We don't plan on selling any time soon (if ever) so we did the room that really needed it and felt would improve our day to day, not based on possible re-sale. Realtors advise newer kitchen and baths help sell houses.
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by SimonJester »

herennow wrote:We started the yard work, and turns out the initial estimate is off by 50%, at the least :oops:
In construction you always double the cost and triple the time estimate, or is that triple the cost and double the time...
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tadamsmar
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by tadamsmar »

Maintenance and weatherproofing might be worth it, depending on the condition of your house. Exterior painting, caulking. cracked window sills, sealing the surface of an enclosed door landing, gutter problems. Stuff that lets in water or moisture in so termites can make progress. Stuff that let's the siding or windows deteriorate.
jlcnuke
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by jlcnuke »

SimonJester wrote:
herennow wrote:We started the yard work, and turns out the initial estimate is off by 50%, at the least :oops:
In construction you always double the cost and triple the time estimate, or is that triple the cost and double the time...
Do it yourself and you can cut the cost by at least 1/2, though you'll probably increase the time by more than 3x :mrgreen:
Valuethinker
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Valuethinker »

jlcnuke wrote:Honestly, the ones you should do are the ones that you will enjoy. When talking home renovations of any kind, the "Average" return on investment is less than 100%. That means you'll get back less than you spend on it. From a purely financial standpoint, that means pretty much none are "worth it" as a 0.1% checking account has a better ROI. There are some that will help your home sell faster (better curb appeal etc) if the area happens to be more of a buyer's market when you do sell, but I can't tell you what the real estate market where you live will be like in 3-7 years. As such, whether it'll actually be faster or not is unknown.


Edit: I wanted to add. If you can do basic wiring (learn on youtube if you can't) and can patch the ceiling where necessary (learn on youtube if you can't), you should be able to do the recessed lighting on your own for under $200 assuming you have to also buy the tools for the job, less if you already own standard tools.
This is absolutely true.

Home improvements don't earn great returns in resale value. The only real exception is *more space* -- and as another thread live now pointed out, that's not the case if it removes too much of the usable yard. Making a smaller home in a good location bigger (ie closer to the average or above average home in the area) tends to add value and is probably the only thing that adds more value than it costs.

So it's all about what you can live with.

I should add, of this list, some things are just necessary to sell a house-- like yard work.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri May 12, 2017 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Valuethinker
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Valuethinker »

herennow wrote:We bought a decent house that needs some TLC. Would the experienced bogleheads kindly suggest the improvements that might be most worth the time and effort and economics. We may live here for the medium term, between 3 and 7 years. Original cost of house 240k.

We are only looking for simple to moderate quality improvements, nothing high end.

1. Yard work. Front yard is pretty beat up. Looking at stonework, mulching and new plants. Cost $1000
2. Lighting. Kitchen has working 'shop lights', but would like recessed lights. $500
3. Kitchen. Countertops are laminate, corian/granite upgrade with a new kitchen faucet is wanted. $3000
4. Garage. Concrete floors with grease stains. New paint and finishing. $400
5. Fence. This is less of a want, more a need. Needs a fresh coat of sealer/stain. $300.

We are yet to furnish our house in the way of beds, artwork etc. Expected cost about $3000.

Please list the items in the order of priority, and perhaps why they are given the priority they are given.
To be clear, you can't really sell a house if the yard work has not been done. And I would make a similar point re garage floor and probably fence. If the house does not look presentable on first look, then you lose (at least) half your potential buyers. It has to be a "hot" housing market before people will look thru that (and buyers who will are often very tough on price-- investor purchasers or veteran "fix-er-uppers & sell").

So that's 1, 4, 5.

In terms of living, well fix the lighting (bad lighting is unhealthy and depressing). You won't get a great return on new kitchen countertops, but you are likely to be living there a long time-- so you want nice countertops.

So that's 2 & 3 (in that order).
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herennow
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by herennow »

I agree that good presentation sells the house quicker. But with a small house like ours, the concern is if we are overdoing. The yard work is near complete, and the front certainly ticks a couple notches above all the houses around us. Then we add in all other improvements, but no real square footage, I doubt we would be able to sell for buying + closing costs (maybe a little more than buying price, but not enough). We will be able to enjoy it till then, and that is what we would have to find comfort in.
Ninnie
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Ninnie »

Yard is 1, you're already working on it. Fence is 2, and don't wait on it. The rest I wouldn't do at all for only 3 years in the house. If you are in fact going to stay longer, do the kitchen counters and lighting at same time. Garage, if cosmetic, is last. If there are concerns about cracks, etc., do it soon along with fence.
boglegirl
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by boglegirl »

Admiral wrote:I would not renovate a kitchen piecemeal. The counter sits on the cabinets. If you're doing the counter, do the cabinets. In Ikea (which has gotten better) if needed, but do it all at once. Appliances, fixtures, cabinets, light, flooring, paint. It's worth it. Get a home equity loan if needed. I've never for a second regretted re-doing ours, cost was about $20k though of course one can spend much, much more, or a bit less for a small kitchen (ours is good sized).
...
I agree with the bold. Our house has a bathroom that's only partially renovated. It has a beautifully tiled shower stall and two unusual limestone slab countertops. But we didn't do the floor or cabinets because we thought they looked fine. As it turns out, they don't look fine with the new stuff. I doubt we can re-use the limestone slabs if we now order new stock cabinets (we'd either have to pay for custom cabinets or get new countertops), so that will be money down the drain.

I'm not saying you should spend $20k on the kitchen - but I do think you should carefully consider whether the new countertops will make the kitchen look and function better, or just make it more obvious that the cabinets are 25 years old.

The other items on your list are inexpensive enough, and noticeable enough, that I think you will enjoy them and they will add to the sale-ability within a few years.
BW1985
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by BW1985 »

Valuethinker wrote:
jlcnuke wrote:Honestly, the ones you should do are the ones that you will enjoy. When talking home renovations of any kind, the "Average" return on investment is less than 100%. That means you'll get back less than you spend on it. From a purely financial standpoint, that means pretty much none are "worth it" as a 0.1% checking account has a better ROI. There are some that will help your home sell faster (better curb appeal etc) if the area happens to be more of a buyer's market when you do sell, but I can't tell you what the real estate market where you live will be like in 3-7 years. As such, whether it'll actually be faster or not is unknown.


Edit: I wanted to add. If you can do basic wiring (learn on youtube if you can't) and can patch the ceiling where necessary (learn on youtube if you can't), you should be able to do the recessed lighting on your own for under $200 assuming you have to also buy the tools for the job, less if you already own standard tools.
This is absolutely true.

Home improvements don't earn great returns in resale value. The only real exception is *more space* -- and as another thread live now pointed out, that's not the case if it removes too much of the usable yard. Making a smaller home in a good location bigger (ie closer to the average or above average home in the area) tends to add value and is probably the only thing that adds more value than it costs.

So it's all about what you can live with.

I should add, of this list, some things are just necessary to sell a house-- like yard work.
Disagree that improvements don't earn good returns. Actually maybe they generally don't, that doesn't mean they can't, but you have to know what you're doing and not spend frivolously.

We completely updated our kitchen for $2,500 along with our sweat. That's granite, re-stained cabinets, new backsplash, new sink, new faucet, new lighting, new flooring, open shelves, paint. The rest of our house is the same way.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
Finance-MD
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Finance-MD »

The improvement value of any renovations you make now will depreciate until the time you sell.
If you are happy with the way things are, it is more cost effective to delay the upgrades until the time you will capture a return on the investment. Home decor and styling routinely cycle out of favor every so many years... e.g. ~8 years or so. If you do a bunch of cosmetic things now, in 7 years, it will likely already have a 'dated' appearance. New things will be en vogue that will attract buyers. You don't want to shell out more for new counters just because a new type of stone (e.g. quartz) is what's popular at that time.
jlcnuke
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by jlcnuke »

BW1985 wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
jlcnuke wrote:Honestly, the ones you should do are the ones that you will enjoy. When talking home renovations of any kind, the "Average" return on investment is less than 100%. That means you'll get back less than you spend on it. From a purely financial standpoint, that means pretty much none are "worth it" as a 0.1% checking account has a better ROI. There are some that will help your home sell faster (better curb appeal etc) if the area happens to be more of a buyer's market when you do sell, but I can't tell you what the real estate market where you live will be like in 3-7 years. As such, whether it'll actually be faster or not is unknown.


Edit: I wanted to add. If you can do basic wiring (learn on youtube if you can't) and can patch the ceiling where necessary (learn on youtube if you can't), you should be able to do the recessed lighting on your own for under $200 assuming you have to also buy the tools for the job, less if you already own standard tools.
This is absolutely true.

Home improvements don't earn great returns in resale value. The only real exception is *more space* -- and as another thread live now pointed out, that's not the case if it removes too much of the usable yard. Making a smaller home in a good location bigger (ie closer to the average or above average home in the area) tends to add value and is probably the only thing that adds more value than it costs.

So it's all about what you can live with.

I should add, of this list, some things are just necessary to sell a house-- like yard work.
Disagree that improvements don't earn good returns. Actually maybe they generally don't, that doesn't mean they can't, but you have to know what you're doing and not spend frivolously.

We completely updated our kitchen for $2,500 along with our sweat. That's granite, re-stained cabinets, new backsplash, new sink, new faucet, new lighting, new flooring, open shelves, paint. The rest of our house is the same way.
I didn't say they "can't", I said the average return in less than 100%. Home improvements "can" make money, and picking stocks "can" beat the market. As a general rule though, neither tends to work out in an investor's favor.
BW1985
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by BW1985 »

jlcnuke wrote: I didn't say they "can't", I said the average return in less than 100%. Home improvements "can" make money, and picking stocks "can" beat the market. As a general rule though, neither tends to work out in an investor's favor.
Fair point. Works for some uniquely skilled (or lucky) but not for the majority. I think for home improvements a lot hinges on if you're doing the work yourself or paying someone. "sweat equity" as it's often referred to.

A company wanted to charge me $6000 to reface my cabinets, if you're spending money like that I can see why the average return is less than 100%. I spent $80 to restain them myself, probably the same affect on sale price if I was to sell.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
Finance-MD
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Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Finance-MD »

BW1985 wrote:
jlcnuke wrote: I didn't say they "can't", I said the average return in less than 100%. Home improvements "can" make money, and picking stocks "can" beat the market. As a general rule though, neither tends to work out in an investor's favor.
Fair point. Works for some uniquely skilled (or lucky) but not for the majority. I think for home improvements a lot hinges on if you're doing the work yourself or paying someone. "sweat equity" as it's often referred to.

A company wanted to charge me $6000 to reface my cabinets, if you're spending money like that I can see why the average return is less than 100%. I spent $80 to restain them myself, probably the same affect on sale price if I was to sell.
Cosmetic renovations in general yield a <100% ROI. Real estate investors who make money with only cosmetic renovations make money because they are getting something under value and selling at retail. Alternatively you can buy at retail and add square footage or even tear down and re-build. But in these situations, the value add is in livable space, not in cosmetic touches.

Here is a link to some basic data about highest ROI per dollar invested in renovation

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal- ... your-money

As for sweat equity... yes, if you do all the labor yourself and don't pay yourself, you are getting a better ROI on the materials. But this is assuming you're not valuing your time and sweat. Certainly any BH here could take their time, effort, and intellect to earn money in another way. It's a trade off. Are you earning more per hour and unit of effort/sweat doing the renovation vs. doing a side hustle or working overtime, etc.? Thus, ROI really should be based on hiring out your services.
BW1985
Posts: 2058
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:12 pm

Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by BW1985 »

Finance-MD wrote:
BW1985 wrote:
jlcnuke wrote: I didn't say they "can't", I said the average return in less than 100%. Home improvements "can" make money, and picking stocks "can" beat the market. As a general rule though, neither tends to work out in an investor's favor.
Fair point. Works for some uniquely skilled (or lucky) but not for the majority. I think for home improvements a lot hinges on if you're doing the work yourself or paying someone. "sweat equity" as it's often referred to.

A company wanted to charge me $6000 to reface my cabinets, if you're spending money like that I can see why the average return is less than 100%. I spent $80 to restain them myself, probably the same affect on sale price if I was to sell.
Cosmetic renovations in general yield a <100% ROI. Real estate investors who make money with only cosmetic renovations make money because they are getting something under value and selling at retail. Alternatively you can buy at retail and add square footage or even tear down and re-build. But in these situations, the value add is in livable space, not in cosmetic touches.

Here is a link to some basic data about highest ROI per dollar invested in renovation

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal- ... your-money

As for sweat equity... yes, if you do all the labor yourself and don't pay yourself, you are getting a better ROI on the materials. But this is assuming you're not valuing your time and sweat. Certainly any BH here could take their time, effort, and intellect to earn money in another way. It's a trade off. Are you earning more per hour and unit of effort/sweat doing the renovation vs. doing a side hustle or working overtime, etc.? Thus, ROI really should be based on hiring out your services.
This is assuming one views home improvement as work and not hobby. I don't get paid for my other hobbies so I don't consider my labor in ROI.
Chase the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?
Finance-MD
Posts: 316
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:27 am

Re: What home improvements are worth it

Post by Finance-MD »

BW1985 wrote:
Finance-MD wrote:
BW1985 wrote:
jlcnuke wrote: I didn't say they "can't", I said the average return in less than 100%. Home improvements "can" make money, and picking stocks "can" beat the market. As a general rule though, neither tends to work out in an investor's favor.
Fair point. Works for some uniquely skilled (or lucky) but not for the majority. I think for home improvements a lot hinges on if you're doing the work yourself or paying someone. "sweat equity" as it's often referred to.

A company wanted to charge me $6000 to reface my cabinets, if you're spending money like that I can see why the average return is less than 100%. I spent $80 to restain them myself, probably the same affect on sale price if I was to sell.
Cosmetic renovations in general yield a <100% ROI. Real estate investors who make money with only cosmetic renovations make money because they are getting something under value and selling at retail. Alternatively you can buy at retail and add square footage or even tear down and re-build. But in these situations, the value add is in livable space, not in cosmetic touches.

Here is a link to some basic data about highest ROI per dollar invested in renovation

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal- ... your-money

As for sweat equity... yes, if you do all the labor yourself and don't pay yourself, you are getting a better ROI on the materials. But this is assuming you're not valuing your time and sweat. Certainly any BH here could take their time, effort, and intellect to earn money in another way. It's a trade off. Are you earning more per hour and unit of effort/sweat doing the renovation vs. doing a side hustle or working overtime, etc.? Thus, ROI really should be based on hiring out your services.
This is assuming one views home improvement as work and not hobby. I don't get paid for my other hobbies so I don't consider my labor in ROI.
understood. if you are ever looking for more home improvement work, please let me know :)
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