Which Area of My Home Should I Renovate First?

Many homeowners get excited when they start to think about investing money in home renovations. Why shouldn’t they? Home renovations are some of the most satisfying projects a homeowner can undertake. They allow us to personalize and transform the interiors and exteriors of our homes in ways that reflect our tastes, while having a direct and tangible effect on the appraisal and market value of our homes.

But the reality is, home renovations don’t come cheap. Sure, there are a few things you can do without spending much money—and these can make a big difference. But when it comes to really changing the look and feel of certain rooms or areas of your home, and adding to its overall market value, you’re talking about sizable cash investment.

What this means is that most homeowners have to choose. You may want to do the bathrooms and the kitchen, open up the floor plan and add a beautiful three season porch while you’re at it—but more often than not, you’ll have to shelve some of those plans on focus on others. This is the surest way to make real progress.

Take care of the essentials first

Many homeowners decide to bring in a certified home inspector before they decide where to put their renovation dollars. This is a smart move for one main reason: If there are any critical problems with your home’s infrastructure (plumbing, insulation, roofing, electrical systems), you’ll want to take care of those first. Sometimes people leap into a renovation project only to discover that other, more pressing issues exist. This can lead you into financial straits. Making sure the basic systems and structures of your home are in good order will ensure that you don’t have any nasty surprises once you’ve already committed to investing thousands on home renovations.

Look to your exteriors

New siding for your home and new outdoor decks are statically among the most valuable home renovations. It’s often tempting to focus on the interior of your home—and there are many great opportunities inside as well—but if exterior renovations can truly add value as well as enhancing the curb appeal of your home.

Kitchens & bathrooms

These are always high on the list of desirable renovations for homeowners, but they’re also among the most expensive—depending on what you do. Expect to recover most of your investment when you undertake quality renovations in these areas—meaning greater than 90%—but on the whole, improving lifestyle is also an important factor here.

Add a bedroom

If you have a space in your home that can be remodeled and converted into a bedroom, your market value can really benefit. Many homeowners have gone for attic bedrooms in recent years, moving from a two bedroom home to a three bedroom home, or a three bedroom to a four bedroom, etc. This is almost always a profitable home renovation. It looks great on paper, and it boosts market value in the real world. It may, however, also increase your property taxes depending on where you live.

How to be a discerning homeowner when it comes to renovations

Learning which types of home renovations typically hold the most value is probably the biggest consideration in the minds of most discerning homeowners. Achieving your own personal tastes and making your home more suitable to your family’s lifestyle is another big factor. There are so many possibilities, and knowing which ones are the most valuable in your particular case may require input from a home renovation expert.

By taking these things into consideration ahead of time and carefully mapping out the renovations you want to achieve now (versus renovations that can wait until later), you can gradually improve the quality of your home. One thing’s for certain: A few high quality renovations (or even just one) is much better for your home in the long term than trying to stretch your budget thin and cut corners, resulting in lower quality renovation across a wider scale.

We hope this information has been useful, and look forward to seeing your comments!