Most Profitable Home Improvements - Part 1: Curb Appeal
Authored by
Chris Edwards
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Many people are concerned about resale value when making big updates to their homes. Whether you’re looking to sell right away or selling for a few years, making sure you get the best “bang for buck” is a priority for many people. We’ve gone through and listed the changes to your home that offer the best return on initial investment. Part 1 will cover outdoor updates to the home. 

If you want to sell your home and don’t want to spend the time, money or effort on repairs, then contact us and ask about selling your home as is. We will buy houses in any condition and can offer you a no-obligation offer in 24 hours. 

People say that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that’s certainly true in real estate as well. Repairs and upgrades to the exterior of your home can be some of the most striking and lucrative. In fact, “curb appeal” type additions rank among some of the best returns on investments, and can add up to 10% to your home value. They also tend to be the most long-lasting, meaning you can enjoy any upgrades before you sell. 

Garage Door Replacement

Replacing the garage door may not be the first thing we think about when upgrading our homes, but it can have a huge impact on the overall look of your home. The typical garage door is between 8-16 feet wide and 7-8 feet high, making it a feature of the front of your home. The average cost of replacing a garage door is $4,500, though it can add over $8,700 to the resale value of your home.  

Upgrading the garage door is a relatively simple change to make your home as it typically does not require any additional structural work. Finding an option that matches your home should be relatively simple given the wide range of materials and styles that garage doors come in. 

Entryway & Front Door Replacement

Similar to the garage door, the front entryway can have a huge impact on your home. There are many ways to create a more friendly, inviting front entryway. 

With many styles available, front doors can change the look of the entire front of your home. You may choose to simply change the door - opting for a newer style, or one with more character. A new door also offers better insulation for the home. For a bigger renovation, you may choose to widen your doorway to accommodate sidelites (a small side window). Updating your door offers a similar return on investment to garage doors at just under double your initial investment. 

Other impactful changes you can make to your front entryway include: 

  • Painting the door if you don’t have the funds to replace it. This is especially impactful if the existing door is a bit dingy or doesn’t match the rest of the house. 
  • Adding or replacing sconces. Make sure you choose something that matches the scale of the front entry as well as the style of the rest of the home. 
  • Adding trim. Trim is a wonderful way to highlight and draw attention to features like the front door and architectural interest as well. 
  • Update house numbers. Choosing a different style or size can change the aesthetic of the home. Some modern homes are also opting to spell out the house number to take up more horizontal space, making it more of a feature. 
  • Updating your mailbox. A simple change, but one that can add to both the appeal and functionality of the front entryway. 
  • Add accessories. Adding simple accessories like wreaths, a door mat, a door knocker, and small accessories can all add to the appeal of your home. 

Update Siding

Updating the siding of your home with either stone veneer or updated cladding is an effective way to make a big impact on the first impression of your home. 

Stone veneer certainly makes a statement when added to a home. It adds great visual interest and texture and can break up an otherwise plain or monotonous facade. A manufactured stone veneer will get you the best return on investment. HGTV reports an average of 150% ROI when you add manufactured stone veneer to the bottom third of your facade. 

You’re unlikely to get a full return on your investment for siding replacement, but you are likely to recoup a large majority of it, so it is a good option if you’re planning on living in the home for some time and will get to enjoy it. Alternatively, painting your home is a cheaper alternative to reclading your home. However, like siding, you’re unlikely to recoup the cost of repainting, though it’s very likely you will sell your home quicker. 

Roofing Replacement

Whether you need a new roof will largely depend on the current condition. If your roof is in poor condition, then it can hinder the timely sale of your home as well as the selling price. A full roof replacement with asphalt shingles runs over $22,000, and you’ll be able to recoup about 68% of that when you go to sell your home. However, if your roof is in reasonably good condition, then cleaning and spot repair is a much better option. 

You’ll also want to consider your market and the current conditions. The importance of a roof is not equal across all markets, and you may want to consider speaking with a real estate agent before deciding whether to replace your roof. 

Roofing is considered a big undertaking. So replacing a roof that needs to be replaced is a feature for buyers who won’t want to go through the hassle themselves. For the same reason, you’ll want to pick a material that matches the style and quality of your neighbor's roofs, as spending more on premium roofing will not get you a higher return on your investment if everyone else in the area has the same traditional shingles. People are unlikely to pay to change the roof of their home if it’s in good condition, so it’s important to pick an option that is universally appealing. 

Landscape Upgrades 

Another way to add a big impact to your property is to invest in hardscape. Hardscape includes the larger, heavier elements of your landscape including driveways, pools, walls, and decks. Hardscape elements can really change not only the appearance of your home but the functionality as well. 

Patio/Deck Upgrade

While deck options and sizes can vary, you can expect to recoup at least three-quarters of the cost. Wood decking is the cheaper option, but you may want to consider composite decking if you’re going to be living in the home as it’s less maintenance and more durable than wood. 

Pools Addition

Another major addition you can make to your home is a pool. Pools do raise the value of a California home, but by how much depends on your area. Homes with pools in Los Angeles sell for about $95,000 than their comparable counterparts without pools, while San Diego homes only sell for $20,000 more. With the average pool costing between $30,000-50,000 and high-end pools costing up to $200,000, a pool is not necessarily a good investment. However, a pool can greatly add to your enjoyment of a property and may be worth the investment to add a mid-range pool that you can enjoy before selling your home. 

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be a great addition to your home, especially if it gives you increased flat & usable land. However, ROI is not guaranteed with retaining walls, so it’s important to carefully consider the impact to the usability of the space, the cost of the addition, and your local market. Additionally, it’s rarely worth it to replace an existing, functioning retaining wall with a different style or material. 

Softscape (Plants)

Plant life can change the appearance of your home. From luscious trees to full hedges and plentiful flowers, your options for softscape are endless. However, softscape adds the most value when plants are established and mature. Given the cost of mature plants, adding softscape is better done if you are going to be living in your home for long enough that the plants have time to grow and fill out the space. If you are planning on moving right away, then making sure your yard is neat and tidy is a better alternative. 

Be sure to come back for Part 2 where we explore the profitability of interior upgrades. If you need to sell your home, but don’t have time to make improvements, then Haven Homebuyers may be the right solution. We buy houses in any condition and can close in as little as five days. Get your free no-obligation offer today.

Authored by
Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards, Vice President of Acquisitions.  Chris has an extensive background in real estate spanning over 25 years.  After spending the first ten years of his career in the mortgage industry, he transitioned to sales, investments and renovations.  From buying foreclosures on the courthouse steps to renovating hundreds of homes to managing production for a major iBuyer, he's seen just about everything.  Chris has a passion for helping home buyers and sellers create and maximize value for their important life investment in real estate.

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