What is in Home Improvement

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What is in Home Improvement

What is in Home Improvement
Painting is just one of many possible home improvement projects.

What is in Home Improvement is a chance to increase the value of your home, and to increase the enjoyment you receive from remaining in your home.

Sometimes it may be preferable to update certain rooms, sections, or areas of your home and remaining there, versus selling the home, and buying a different home that has the features and/or location that you desire.

It may be that you don’t want to uproot your children from the school that they have been attending.  You may like the neighborhood, and the amenities that it offers. Or, perhaps you are in close proximity to your workplace.

By improving your home, and increasing it’s value, you will also buoy the home values of your neighbor’s properties, in most cases.

You can also derive a great deal of satisfaction by performing some or all of the upgrade work yourself. This also allows you to save the labor costs that hiring tradesmen, and contractors would demand.

And, let’s face it, moving is never easy. It can be a large hassle to go to the trouble of preparing your home for sale, hiring a realtor, and leaving for showings.

Not to mention you still have to find a new home, coordinate the selling of your existing home, and buying and moving into your new home, organizing and packing,  hiring movers, etc. etc.

And, if that weren’t enough reason, oftentimes you will spend more for you new property than what your existing home is worth, thus increasing your monthly payments, and your debt load.

In addition, you may have to come up with a substantial down payment to make your new purchase possible.

The good news is, if you live in the US or Canada, there are 2 home improvement chains that have everything you need and then some to help you accomplish your home upgrade tasks.

Combined there are more than 4600 Lowe’s, and Home Depot locations.  Odds are very good that there is one near you. You can shop online, pick up in store, or have delivered.

What is in Home ImprovementWhat is in Home Improvement

Improve This
What is in Home Improvement
The kitchen is by far the most important room in the house to improve.

Have you ever wondered which rooms or areas of the home will improve the resale value of your home and property the most?

Maybe you have limited funds to devote to upgrading your home, and you want to put your home improvement efforts where it will have the biggest bang for your buck and time.

As a Realtor, and someone that has had a lot of conversations, and exposure to real estate investors, I have learned the best places to improve your home in order to allow you to get the biggest return on your money, and efforts.

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The good news is, there is one room in the home that is by far the most important one to sink your attention toward.  This is not to say that you won’t benefit by improving other parts of the home, but if this one isn’t up to snuff, it could be futile to attempt to upgrade other areas.

1. Kitchen  

I would bet that you probably already knew this, or at least guessed that the kitchen is far and away the most important room in the house to update.  Real estate agents and real estate investors know that kitchens sell houses.

So, why is the kitchen the most important room in the house to upgrade? The reason is, because it is the most important room to the ladies or wives.

At the risk of sounding sexist, it has been my experience, and that of all of the other real estate agents, and investors I’ve known, that if the wife doesn’t like the kitchen in the house, she simply will not be a party to buying it, and will not let her husband talk her into buying it.

The saying, Happy Wife, Happy Life applies here.  It really is important to have a large kitchen with ample, and newer cabinets, plenty of counter space, newer appliances, a large single or double kitchen sink with a nice faucet, a center island, and a breakfast bar.

And the flooring better not be cheap linoleum either.

What is in Home Improvement
The master bath or main bath is the second most important room in the house to improve.

2. Master Bath or Main Bath

The second most important room in the house to improve, after the kitchen is the master bathroom, or if there is no master bath, the main full bath.

Despite being a somewhat distant second in importance to the kitchen, never the less, the master bathroom is important.  The reasoning here, I believe, follows closely with the previous reason.

Men also like to have a nice large bathroom with dual vanities(ideally) with newer bath sink faucets, a separate tub and shower(again ideally), and a large closet or storage area for towels, robes, and other bathroom accessories.

It is not necessarily vital to have dual vanities, and a separate tub, and shower, but if there is one sink and faucet, and a tub/shower combination, it should be newer, and have attractive fixtures, and a newer or updated tub and surround.

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3. Basement or Lower Level

Another significant area to consider upgrading or improving is the basement of lower level.  Some homes don’t have basements or lower levels, and if this is the case for the home you have, I would emphasize the kitchen and master bath for your upgrades.

It makes sense to partially finish, or finish the lower level or the basement, especially if the main level or levels of the home do not include a lot of square footage.

What is in Home Improvement
Before a basement or lower level is finished, it has to be waterproofed.

Adding livable square footage to the home will in almost every case, increase the value of the home, if done in a professional manner.

An ideal basement or lower level scenario is to have a walk out, a full bath, a separate sleeping area, a main living area, and an unfinished storage area. Even more ideal is to have a full or partial kitchen, making it a Mother-in-Law quarters.

These Mother-in-Law quarters allow for easy rentals, and very comfortable accommodations for family members or friends to stay for extended periods of time, thus the name.

This is a renovation area that can be quite challenging, and unless you are experienced, and prepared for this type of work, it may be best to leave up to the professionals.

Serious potential issues such as cracking in the walls or in the floor causing water, and possibly mold problems need to be addressed, and eliminated before even considering finishing the area.

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Other Home Improvement Ideas

Of course, it is vital that glaring problems with other areas of the home be addressed, regardless of renovating the kitchen, bath, and lower level.

Issues such as large, uneven cracks in the driveway or sidewalk, steps that are in disrepair, brick chimneys or walls that need tuckpointing, exterior or interior walls that are in desperate need of repair or paint, doors or windows that don’t operate or close properly, should all be taken care of first and foremost prior to putting your home on the market, should you choose to do so.

What is in Home Improvement
An upgraded backyard patio is an appealing feature of a home.

Other areas of the home that will likely boost the value of your home are back yard patios or decking.  It is now expected, that a home has some sort of gathering area in the back for grilling, and socializing.

More and more homes are including fire pits, gas heaters, extra seating, pergola’s, veranda’s, patio covers, and even outdoor kitchens in order to spend more time outside socializing, and to accommodate family and guests for many months of the year.

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Home Improvement Areas to Avoid

Just as there are many areas of the home that are beneficial to improve, there are also some areas that may be best to avoid.

These areas may actually cost you more money to upgrade than you will be able to recoup in home value or resale value.  The two areas where this is possible are garages, and swimming pools.

If you have an existing garage, and it needs some sprucing up, that is fine, but if you want to add a new garage, you may want to rethink it.

A new garage can run you anywhere from $20K to over $50K.  More times than not you home value will only increase half or less, as a result.

Swimming pools are another area that can be problematic. Depending of course where you live, a built in pool may or may not be a good idea.

What is in Home Improvement
A built in pool is a risky upgrade to a home.

If you live in the deep south, or southern California, adding a pool will likely pay for itself. However, if you live in most other parts of the country, a pool will probably not pay for itself.

A lot of people don’t like the liability, and the danger of pools. Families with young children are often turned off by built in pools as it presents a danger to the kids, and added worry for the parents.

Other folks want the back yard space for patios, gardens, or for the yard itself in order to play sports, and games, run the dogs, etc.  If you find the right buyer that loves having a pool in the back, you are safe.

This though will lessen the pool of prospective buyers, pun intended, and could mean a longer time on the market, and a smaller selling price should you decide to sell.

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What is in Home Improvement – Conclusion

What is in Home Improvement is a chance to increase the value of your home, and to increase the enjoyment you receive from remaining in your home.

Sometimes it may be preferable to update certain rooms, sections, or areas of your home and remaining there, versus selling the home.

And, let’s face it, moving is never easy. It can be a large hassle to go to the trouble of preparing your home for sale, hiring a realtor, and leaving for showings.  Not to mention the expenses involved.

There are three rooms or areas of the home that have been proven to be the most effective as far as increasing the value of your home by upgrading them.

The kitchen by far and away is the most important room in the house as far as helping houses sell.  Second is the master bathroom, or the main bath if the home doesn’t have a master bedroom suite.

The third best area to renovate is the lower level or the basement.  This is an area that is usually best left up to the experts for improvement, unless it is not a major project.

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Other areas that will usually pay you to improve are the back yard patio or deck.  Areas to avoid improving are, adding garages, and adding built in pools.

Thank you for reading, What is in Home Improvement. Feel free to leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below. I will get back to you asap.

Please also feel free to share on social media by clicking on the social media buttons below. Good luck with your home improvement projects.

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12 thoughts on “What is in Home Improvement”

  1. You are correct, Kitchens and Baths see houses. Curb appeal gets them in.
    Garages only appeal to the guys normally and do not add much to home values.
    I have upgraded all of the homes I have lived in so far, selling for a lot more than purchase price. The current home that I live in has increased in value by over 50% with the improvements that I have made.
    I have been lucky to be able to do most of the work myself. The only home that I owned with a pool was in Florida, where it is an asset.
    What do you think of the home improvement stores weekend classes on how to upgrade your home. I learned a lot from them and the home improvement shows on TV.

    1. Hi John, thank you for your comments. Congrats on your success with the home improvements you’ve done. I think the classes, and shows are great. Improving homes is all positive. Take care, Tom

  2. 100% agree with you. The kitchen and bathroom are the main features that make all the difference.
    I’ve just recently revamped our house with a lick of paint, a remodel is in the future and these were the main two rooms.
    Once again very informative, loved this article and it’s given me inspiration to carry on decorating!

    1. Hi Kevin, thank you for your comments. Glad you loved the article, and that it provided inspiration to carry on decorating. All the best, Tom

  3. Thank you so much!!! I never thought about the swimming pool being a not rewarding thing to put in your real estate when you wish to sell.
    This is really helpful information! I have just been redecorating my own home but that is just for me. So I did whatever I wanted. I only wish I had seen your post before. Could have saved me a lot of trouble, time and money.
    Now that I was thinking about selling another property and polishing it up, this article is fantastic!!
    Are you also sure about the garage? I would love to make it more comfortable with a detached work zone and maybe a bathroom. You think that is too much?
    Thanks for your reply,

    1. Hi Janie, thank you for your comments. Really glad that you liked the article. The detached garage and possible bathroom is very subjective. It depends on your area, and the quality and the cost of having the work done. If you can get it done for a reasonable cost, and the quality is good, you may be able to justify it. By justify, I mean that you can get your money invested for it back when you go to sell. Good luck, Tom

  4. Such sound wisdom you present! I once worked for a realtor business as a record keeper. I remember some of the complaints offered by the realtors as their selling clients refused to do certain things to make their homes easier to sell.
    I have one suggestion. The kitchen island, which many women used to love, is actually going out of style. I never cared for them, myself. But to each her own. You’re not a sexist; you’re a realist. Women want kitchens, men want toilets. Go with the longer seats. lol

    1. Hi Cathy, thank you for your comments. I am glad that I don’t come off as sexist, and instead as a realist. That is what I was hoping for. Thank you also for your feedback about center islands. It’s been my experience that the more counter space, the better, and many like that you can enjoy a meal right on the island too. Yes, elongated toilets are a great idea. Take care, Tom

  5. Great site, Tom. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about home improvement. I agree with you, it’s much easier to improve your home bit by bit than it is to move. We have renovated our bathroom back home just recently, and the difference in the feeling is huge. Thanks again. I learned a lot here.

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