What Cost-Effective Home Improvement Upgrades Add Value to Properties for An Interior Designer?


    What Cost-Effective Home Improvement Upgrades Add Value to Properties for An Interior Designer?

    In the quest to boost property value without breaking the bank, we've gathered insights from owners, founders, and various industry experts. From the simple yet impactful upgrade to smart lighting fixtures to the forward-thinking installation of solar panels and extensions, here are the top fifteen cost-effective home improvement upgrades that have proven to add value to a property.

    • Upgrade to Smart Lighting Fixtures
    • Enhance Home Security Features
    • Renovate Your Kitchen
    • Modernize Bathroom Fixtures
    • Finish Basements and Attics
    • Apply Fresh Exterior Paint
    • Create Secondary Dwelling Units
    • Install Energy-Efficient Windows
    • Plant Shade Trees Strategically
    • Integrate Smart-Home Technology
    • Refresh With Fragrant Paint
    • Invest in Quality Landscaping
    • Improve Outdoor Living Spaces
    • Upgrade to Durable Roofing
    • Install Solar Panels and Extensions

    Upgrade to Smart Lighting Fixtures

    One cost-effective home-improvement upgrade that consistently adds significant value to a property is updating dated lighting fixtures with smart-lighting solutions. This relatively simple change can transform the ambiance of any space, making it appear more open, inviting, and modern.

    For example, replacing dated, inefficient fixtures with LED options and adding dimmer switches or smart-lighting systems not only improves the aesthetic of a space but also enhances energy efficiency—which is a growing priority for homebuyers.

    Smart lighting adds a touch of luxury to any property, offering convenient lighting control and the ability to create custom scenes and moods for different times of the day. This cost-effective home-improvement upgrade improves the look and feel of a home, while also appealing to eco-conscious buyers—ultimately, adding value to a property at minimal cost.

    Joe Caito
    Joe CaitoOwner, Bison Renovations

    Enhance Home Security Features

    We always focus on enhancing a home's security. Knowing which home improvements offer the best return on investment can guide you to make wise renovation choices, and boosting security is an area that can be improved cost-effectively. Installing features like smart smoke detectors, alarms, and cameras around the house doesn't have to be expensive.

    The value of family safety goes beyond financial measures. Adding a high-quality home security system not only protects your loved ones but also increases your property's value. This is particularly attractive to potential buyers, especially those with families. Ensure that your home security system is comprehensive, including necessary elements like cameras and an alarm system, to meet your security needs effectively.

    Henry Brook
    Henry BrookFounder, The Page

    Renovate Your Kitchen

    A cost-effective home improvement upgrade that consistently adds value to a property is kitchen renovation. The kitchen is often considered the heart of a home and can greatly influence potential buyers. By updating old appliances, adding new cabinetry and countertops, and incorporating modern design elements, a kitchen renovation can give a property an instant facelift. Additionally, it can increase functionality and appeal to buyers who are looking for a move-in-ready home. With proper planning and budgeting, a kitchen renovation can provide a high return on investment and increase the overall value of a property. So, if you're looking to add value to your property, consider investing in a kitchen renovation as it is a wise and cost-effective choice.

    Mark Buskuhl
    Mark BuskuhlFounder & CEO, Ninebird Properties

    Modernize Bathroom Fixtures

    Updating bathroom fixtures is another cost-effective upgrade that adds significant value. Modern, water-efficient taps, showers, and toilets improve aesthetics, reduce water usage, and appeal to buyers looking for modern, eco-friendly homes.

    John Cammidge
    John CammidgeHandyman, Handyman John

    Finish Basements and Attics

    As the co-owner of Bonsai Builders, a construction company deeply entrenched in the Massachusetts construction scene, I've seen how strategic upgrades can significantly enhance property value. In my experience, one cost-effective upgrade that consistently adds value to any property is finishing and renovating underutilized spaces such as basements and attics. This upgrade maximizes the existing footprint of the home, adding valuable square footage without the need for expanding the home's exterior.

    Turning a dark, unfinished basement into a functional living space such as a home theater, gym, or additional bedroom can dramatically increase a property's appeal and market price. Similarly, transforming an attic into an extra room or office space leverages areas that otherwise contribute nothing to the home's functional value. These renovations not only make the property more attractive to potential buyers but also offer a high return on investment. Historical project data from our work at Bonsai Builders underscores renovations adding from 50% to 80% of the project cost to the home's value, though this can vary based on specific market conditions and the renovation's quality.

    In conclusion, focusing on space optimization and functionality over expansion presents a win-win scenario for homeowners looking to enhance their property's value economically. This approach has not only proven successful in numerous projects we've undertaken but also aligns with the current market trend that emphasizes quality living space. From my experience in construction management and a passion for sustainable home improvement, I can assert that such renovations are among the most effective means to increase property value in a cost-efficient manner.

    Kristin Hintlian
    Kristin HintlianOwner, Bonsai Builders

    Apply Fresh Exterior Paint

    One of the most consistently cost-effective home improvement upgrades that adds substantial value to a property is the application of a fresh coat of paint on the outside of the home, and it all comes from curb appeal, which makes a positive and lasting first impression on potential buyers. The updated aesthetics not only modernize the property but also play a crucial role in increasing its perceived value. There are definite tricks to consider when applying your coat of paint. Firstly, consider how the rest of your area presents itself. You may think that an external black wall will help modernize the look and make it feel more expensive, but if everyone in your local area has neutral tones and whites, then you could be setting yourself up to stand out in a bad way. Being too unique may pose the question for potential buyers about what you are trying to hide, and if people are moving locally, it is far more likely they will want to fit in with the community, rather than instantly stand out.

    Forrest Mccall
    Forrest MccallCo-Owner, Mama Needs A Project

    Create Secondary Dwelling Units

    One cost-effective home-improvement upgrade that I've found consistently adds value to a property is to either add a kitchen in the basement or completely create a secondary dwelling unit. The reason this adds so much value is that it allows a homeowner to generate a lot more income every month, as they are able to get rental income on top of their personal income. Furthermore, adding an additional unit or space where a tenant can live results in the value of a property going up, as it can now be used as a rental property as well as a primary residence. Additionally, in today's tougher economic times, where mortgage rates have gone up, these properties are in higher demand than ever before, which results in an individual being able to sell a property at top dollar with high demand.

    Sebastian Jania
    Sebastian JaniaCEO, Alberta Property Buyers

    Install Energy-Efficient Windows

    In my capacity as an expert in construction, especially focusing on roofing, window installation, siding, and home renovations, I've observed that window upgrades present an exceptional balance of affordability and value addition to a property. This insight stems from numerous successful projects that significantly enhanced both the curb appeal and energy efficiency of homes. Upgrading to modern, energy-efficient windows not only uplifts the visual aesthetics of a home but also contributes to considerable savings in heating and cooling costs over time.

    I recall a project in Westwood, Massachusetts, where enlarging and replacing windows transformed the property's ambiance. This upgrade not only allowed more natural light, enhancing the living space's appeal, but also improved the property's energy performance markedly. The project, which involved installing black Harvey Classic Replacement Windows, led to a notable increase in the home's valuation, besides the immediate energy cost savings and enhanced indoor comfort for the occupants. Such upgrades, while improving day-to-day living quality, also make the property more appealing to prospective buyers, showcasing the practical and aesthetic benefits of upgraded windows.

    Specifically, the choice of window style and the added feature of energy-efficient coatings can play a significant role in bolstering a property's market value. For example, double-hung windows with low-E coatings offer a desirable blend of functionality and energy savings, appealing to a wide range of buyers. From my experience, investing in window upgrades is judicious for homeowners eyeing both long-term utility cost reductions and an immediate uplift in their property's aesthetic and market value. This makes window installation and upgrades one of the most effective home improvement methods for enhancing property value in a cost-efficient manner.

    Justin Whittaker
    Justin WhittakerDirector of Marketing And Advertising, Reliable Roofing, Siding, and Windows

    Plant Shade Trees Strategically

    As an arborist, I've discovered that strategically planting shade trees is a cost-effective home-improvement upgrade that consistently adds value to a property. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic appeal of the landscape, but they also provide practical benefits such as reducing cooling costs in the summer by offering natural shade. Additionally, mature trees can improve air quality and reduce noise pollution, contributing to a more pleasant and serene living environment. When selecting trees, I consider species that are native to the area for their adaptability and lower maintenance needs. This approach not only boosts curb appeal but also contributes to the property's market value, making it an investment that matures beautifully over time.

    Dylan Heath
    Dylan HeathArborist, Apex Arborists

    Integrate Smart-Home Technology

    As the CEO of Weekender Management and a professional deeply immersed in the real estate and vacation rental industry, I've seen how specific upgrades can enhance a property's value. One standout, cost-effective improvement that consistently adds value, based on my spectrum of experiences from managing real estate investments to consulting for property improvements, is installing smart-home technology. Integrated smart-home systems, such as automated thermostats, smart locks, and lighting systems, not only make a property more appealing to potential renters and buyers by offering convenience and efficiency but also significantly increase the property’s security and energy management capabilities.

    From an operational perspective, smart-home technology can offer substantial cost savings over time, particularly in vacation rental properties. For example, smart thermostats can reduce monthly utility bills by optimizing heating and cooling schedules based on the actual occupancy of the property, while smart locks alleviate the logistical burden of key exchanges and increase security for both owners and guests. This technological upgrade not only improves the guest experience—and consequently, the property's reviews and occupancy rates—but also positions the property as a modern, forward-thinking investment.

    In one notable case through Weekender Management, incorporating a suite of smart-home technologies resulted in a marked increase in the rental's booking rates and a premium on nightly rates, underscoring the value addition of such upgrades. This transition not only made the property stand out in a competitive market but also contributed to a faster return on investment, illustrating the tangible benefits of integrating smart-home technology. Through strategic enhancements like these, property owners can achieve a higher valuation, draw in more guests or buyers, and ultimately, realize greater profitability.

    Garrett Ham
    Garrett HamCEO, Weekender Management

    Refresh With Fragrant Paint

    A fresh coat of paint tends to add value to the home and can result in faster sales. When looking to draw attention to the home, you want to appeal to the senses of buyers or owners. For example, adding fragrance to paint would appeal to the sense of smell, and warm, neutral colors visually make the space appear more open. Luckily for my company, we have an in-house designer who can hone in on market trends while staying true to a client's aesthetic.

    Philip Popo
    Philip PopoManaging Partner, Renovation Sells DC-Metro

    Invest in Quality Landscaping

    High-quality landscaping is a transformative upgrade often overlooked. Yet, in my professional practice, enhancing a home's exterior through strategic planting and tasteful garden design consistently boosts curb appeal and property value. By investing in perennial gardens and adding a mix of shrubs and trees, homeowners can achieve a visually appealing space that requires minimal maintenance but offers a significant return on the property's overall aesthetics and worth.

    Mike Drouin
    Mike DrouinCo-founder, Gardening expert - Reefertilizer, Reefertilizer

    Improve Outdoor Living Spaces

    It has come to my attention that landscaping improvements are a consistent and economical method to increase the value of a property. The implementation of well-kept gardens, pruned shrubs, and vibrant flowers along the curb can substantially elevate the overall aesthetic appeal and perceived value of a residence.

    In addition, the incorporation of practical outdoor living areas, such as a deck or patio, can generate further usable space and enhance the property's desirability to prospective tenants or purchasers. These enhancements not only augment the present occupants' satisfaction with the property but also yield a substantial return on investment in the event that the home is listed for sale or rented out.

    In general, landscaping enhancements provide a comparatively economical yet influential method to augment the value of a property and establish an enduring impression among potential tenants or purchasers.

    Jacob Mendrin
    Jacob MendrinOwner and Home Care Enthusiast, Pool Care Arizona LLC

    Upgrade to Durable Roofing

    In my extensive experience as a construction and roofing expert, particularly in dealing with roof storm damage, roof repairs, roof replacements, and new roof constructions, I've discovered that one of the most cost-effective home improvement upgrades that consistently adds value to a property is the installation of a high-quality, durable roofing system. Installing or upgrading a roof not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of a home but also significantly increases its market value by improving energy efficiency and offering better protection against environmental elements.

    Given the vital role that roofing plays in the overall structural integrity and energy efficiency of a building, opting for materials that provide superior weather resistance and longevity, like asphalt shingles from leading manufacturers such as Owens Corning or CertainTeed, has proven to yield the best return on investment. These materials not only come with extensive warranties but also offer a variety of styles and colors that can boost curb appeal. From my projects, I've seen homes gain a substantial increase in value, especially in markets where severe weather conditions are a regular concern for homeowners.

    Additionally, incorporating roofing upgrades such as proper insulation and ventilation as part of the roofing project can drastically reduce heating and cooling costs, making the property more attractive to energy-conscious buyers. For example, in one of our projects, after installing energy-efficient shingles and improving the attic's ventilation, the homeowner reported a noticeable decrease in their energy bills, which is a strong selling point. My expertise and hands-on experience in providing tailored roofing solutions underscore the significant impact that a well-executed roofing upgrade can have on property value—ensuring homeowners see both immediate benefits in energy savings and long-term gains in property valuation.

    Abel Perez Padilla
    Abel Perez PadillaSales Manager, H&A Roofing

    Install Solar Panels and Extensions

    Installation of solar panels and water-collecting facilities is regulated in most areas. Having cost-saving features such as solar panels, daylight tubes, and rainwater harvesting or wastewater treatment facilities offers clients savings in the long run, making them a worthy investment. Another home-improvement upgrade that pays off is extension work, like patios and sunrooms. These areas are an attractive feature as they expand the usable space within the property.

    Will Baker
    Will BakerDirector, Skirtings R Us