Speaking first as a homeowner and then as a contractor, there are a few steps that a homeowner should always use in either circumstance; whether they are planning on selling or holding their residential property, to decide which home improvements will give them the most return for each dollar that they spend:
Step No 1: Necessities vs. Niceties: When considering an improvement, make a list with two columns, the first is a list of the structural and mechanical things that you “Have to Have”, like repairing a roof leak, replacing a water heater, and installing energy efficient windows. The second list should be the “Nice to Have”. These are the hot tub or Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, installing a granite countertop to replace Formica.
The difference between the have to have list and the nice to have list is very simple, in order to drive value to your home, you need to first have all the basic elements and build from there, otherwise you will take a deduction for every basic element that is compromised, and that can be significant dollars, a roof for example can represent 35% of the entire value of your home, vs. a granite countertop which is less than 2%.
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