Home Improvements That Pay Off

Author: Rich Barnhart

Author: Rich Barnhart

Pool and landscaping
Landscaping and a new pool are excellent improvements in sunny South Florida

This article was written for the July 2014 Landings / Bay Colony Magazine…

As a real estate professional I often get asked about which home improvements really “pay off”. This is never an easy question to answer since every property owner has different motivations as well as their own unique set of circumstances. The following improvements generally provide an above average return on investment as well as the pride and enjoyment you deserve as a homeowner.

Landscaping
We have all heard about the importance of curb appeal. When you are ready to sell make sure you provide potential buyers with a good first impression. For as little as a few thousand dollars you can drastically improve your curb appeal and make sure that buyers feel good about your home from the second they pull up to the property. Make sure you discuss ongoing maintenance with your landscape architect. If you don’t have a green thumb then low maintenance landscaping is probably your best bet.

Kitchen Remodel
Everybody knows that a kitchen remodel is a good investment, but think about what is important to “you” before spending too much money. If you plan to sell soon then consider a minor remodel. Paint or reface your cabinets, and install a new granite countertop, new sink and stainless appliances. Minor improvements like this can be done for less than $10,000 and provide the best “bang for your buck” on resale. On the other hand, if you don’t plan to sell soon, then consider what will make you and your family happy. If your kitchen needs to be gutted and completely remodeled, then go for it. The return on investment may be a bit less than a minor remodel, but you’ll be much happier while you live there.

Don’t have a pool?
Adding a pool in a warm climate like Florida can add as much as 8% to the value of your home. A pool is also a significant investment and requires regular maintenance, so if you don’t plan to use it much yourself then you might be better off just getting an estimate and sharing it with potential buyers when you sell.

Impact Windows and Doors
New impact windows and doors are most definitely the best improvement you can make to your home in South Florida. Not only can windows and doors dramatically change the beauty of your home, but they provide a significant return on your investment through resale value, insurance savings and increased energy efficiency.

Impact windows
Windows and doors can also provides insurance savings and increased energy efficiency.

According to Terry Paterson of Patco Windows, Inc. (www.patcowindows.com) homeowners are eligible for up to $700 in tax credits for a typical whole-house install of doors and windows. He also recommends windows with a lower Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) in South Florida because of the year round direct sunlight our homes receive. Lower SHGC is an upgrade, but can pay for itself in a few years. Make sure you use an experienced, licensed and insured contractor like Patco for your install since there are so many factors to consider for maximum savings and efficiency.

You may also be eligible for discounts on your windstorm insurance premium. Amanda Lunetta at Cypress Insurance (www.cypressinsurance.com) tells us that insurance discounts for a whole house install of windows and doors can add up to thousands of dollars. There are other factors to consider, so talk to your agent and consider a wind mitigation inspection before making any investments.

Happy Renovating!

Blog Author:

Rich Barnhart

Rich is the broker and owner of By The Sea Realty and a frequent contributor to the company's real estate blog.
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