There are two dangerous schools of thought out there: thinking that any remodeling project will hugely raise the value of your home and that any project is essentially a money pit. The first of these sets up some unrealistic expectations for the payoff of home renovations; the second can deter people from creating their dream home. In reality, just about every major remodeling project will raise your property value. The exact amount, though, varies tremendously. At Criner, we know our clients choose us for many different reasons. Some need a practical renovation; some just want their perfect home, regardless of a project’s market worth. For those who view remodeling primarily as an investment, though, we’ve outlined a few projects that payoff well—and those that don’t at all.

  • Great: replacing old windows. There’s a certain charm that old windows hold. Their foggy glass and crafted wooden edges add a nice vintage ambience to any home. Unfortunately, they’re horrendously insulated. They release both warm air in winter and cold air in summer, which makes energy bills skyrocket. It’s a good major remodeling project for even settled homeowners, but many potential buyers realize the benefits of energy-efficient windows too. Upon selling, the value of replaced wooden windows can recoup over ¾ of the project’s cost.
  • Good: third-story bedrooms. If this sounds like one of the biggest major remodeling projects out there, it’s not: it’s just about converting an attic space into a bedroom. When potential buyers look for a new home, they’re more concerned about the number of bedrooms, not about attic space. The simple act of adding sheetrock and better carpet to a third-floor attic will regain almost as much as the project’s initial cost. And if a potential buyer really cares about storage room for holiday decorations, they can just use a furnished room to keep their boxes.
  • Okay: backyard decks. Beautifying a yard has been one of the most popular remodeling endeavors for the past few years, and buyers now look for backyards they don’t need to renovate. A wooden deck gives homeowners a structure to enjoy the outdoors that will last for decades. Building one is a substantial endeavor, but it’s not as pricey as most major remodeling projects, so the cost benefits are almost negligible.
  • Not great: home offices. We realize these are often essential for stay-at-home employees, but they’re some of the least appealing rooms on the housing market. Few potential buyers really look for homes that have a built-in office, so most will view these rooms as lost space. If you’re hoping to raise your property value with a major remodeling endeavor, just convert a room into a bedroom and buy a standalone desk. Adding a home office may be personally practical, but it won’t regain even half of the project’s cost.