What are the Most Valuable Home Improvements?

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Home repairs and improvements are one of the best ways to add value to your property. However, not all home improvement projects will offer the same return on investment. In fact, there are some home improvements that are likely to not only return less money than what has been spent, but that might actually end up decreasing the price of your property overall. Whether you are doing your house up in preparation for putting it on the market, or you simply want to upgrade your living space, it is important to be informed as to what repairs or improvements will actually prove to be a valuable investment.

What are the Most Common Home Improvements?

Before jumping into the dos and don’ts of domestic renovations, it can be really useful to know a little bit more about the home improvement market. Understanding what people most commonly spend their money on is a great way of understanding what they value most in a home.

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The insurance company GoCompare conducted a survey of 1,275 homeowners, asking them what home improvements they have undertaken over the past five years. Out of the 1,275 homeowners surveyed, 85% reported having undertaken some form of home improvement in the last five years. The results of the top ten home improvements include:

  1. Interior redecoration: 46%
  2. Installing a new bathroom: 27%
  3. Replacing the flooring using dustless floor removal: 26%
  4. Garden make-over: 24%
  5. Installing a new kitchen: 24%
  6. Installing a new boiler or central heating system: 24%
  7. Fitting new windows or double glazing: 19%
  8. New shed or garden building: 16%
  9. Exterior redecoration: 13%
  10. Improved insulation: 11%

The survey also asked homeowners about the motivation behind their home improvements. The main reason people gave, at 60%, was to improve the general appearance of the property, followed by essential maintenance at 38%. Almost a quarter — 23% of people — cited adding value to the property as their main aim. 14% said that improving their home was easier and made more sense than moving. The desire to keep up with interior design trends motivated 8% of people to make home improvements.

Whatever your motivation might be, knowing that the investment you are making in your home will pay off can prove to be hugely reassuring. Although some home improvements, such as installing a new boiler, central heating system, home security system and energy saving appliances are almost always going to prove profitable, the same cannot be said for other types of renovations. The sections below outline some ways to ensure the highest return on some of the most popular home improvements.

Interior Improvements

Although at first, interior improvements might seem a slightly superficial choice of focus, there is a reason that they top the list of most popular renovations. Firstly, the way your home looks can actually affect how you feel. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to immediately feng shui their entire house, but making improvements such as brightening a dark room, or decluttering spaces has been found to impact mental health. Secondly, a space that appears fresh, clean and up to date will impact a prospective buyer’s perception of the property’s value. Some examples of cost effective interior improvements include:

  • Adding new lighting fixtures
  • Replacing old sanitary-ware and work surfaces
  • Repainting walls and doors
  • Adding furniture to optimize space

For those who are looking to add value to their property from interior improvements, there are a few renovations to avoid, such as using expensive wallpaper. No matter how timeless you think that classic William Morris print is, or how trendy a certain pattern might be right now, the chances of your potential buyers thinking the same are sadly, pretty slim. Not only are you likely to waste the money you have spent, but since wallpaper is difficult to remove, it is likely to affect the overall price of the property.

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Installing a New Bathroom

Although adding a bathroom can be a pretty costly undertaking, on average, it adds between 3-5% to a property’s value. So think about where you can add value to the room, Exo Tiles mosaic tiles in Sydney offer a great range of versatile options that can fit any design and make it look luxurious. While this particular home improvement is always going to involve investing your money, there are ways to keep costs down. For example, using a licensed, professional and trustworthy plumbing company like St Louis Plumbing can prove invaluable as they will offer you advice as to the best design, layout and fittings for your situation and budget.

Replacing Old Flooring

When it comes to replacing old flooring, it is all too easy to make a loss rather than adding value to a property. This is due to the fact that choosing the right flooring involves a careful balancing act of many different considerations. Not only should the floor improve, or at the very least, not retract from the look of a room, it also needs to be comfortable to talk on, durable, easily to clean and long lasting.

It is also necessary to consider how the flooring in one room will work with the rest of the house. Many people choose to use the same flooring throughout communal areas as it makes the house appear more cohesive and the rooms seem larger. The list below outlines pros and cons for some of the most popular flooring materials.

  • Tile is often used in warmer climates, or in rooms such as the bathroom or mudroom where moisture is common. It is extremely durable, easy to clean and comes in a large variety of colors, sizes and styles. Grout is not uncommon on tiles and can be extremely difficult to remove.
  • Carpet is preferred for colder climates; it is softer, warmer, and more comfortable to walk on, and is usually cheaper than other types of flooring. It is, however, more susceptible to wear and stains. On average, carpet usually requires replacement every 10 years or so.
  • Hardwood is both durable and an attractive option, suitable for both warmer and colder climates. It can last a lifetime in dry houses, although it will need to be refinished and polished periodically. It is not suitable for damp or wet areas since moisture causes hardwood to warp.
  • Engineered hardwood is often used as a cheaper alternative to hardwood. It comes refinished and is easier to install. Although it is not as reactive to water as hardwood, it will have a shorter lifespan in dry houses, since it can only be refinished a few times.
  • Laminate is probably the cheapest flooring option, not only for the raw materials but also because it does not require professional installation. It is softer underfoot than tile but is a lot more susceptible to damage from water and general wear and tear.

While some home improvements are guaranteed money makers, some investments require a little more time and thought to ensure a high return. Taking the time to consider all your options, consult with trustworthy professionals, and evaluate your priorities can help you to make home improvements that will bring value to you and your property for years to come.