Home Renovations That Will Pay You Back

When it’s time to remodel, many homeowners head to home improvement stores like Lowe’s to buy the supplies they need to complete their home projects. It’s a smart idea, especially since the right projects can put more money back into your pocket.

However, home renovation costs can be substantial: The average bathroom remodel alone costs between $6,000 and $35,000, according to HomeAdvisor. Meanwhile, a kitchen remodel ranges from $4,500 to $50,000.

If you want to choose the best home renovations, here are several that will give you the biggest bang for your buck when the time comes to sell.

Remodel the Kitchen

“If it’s more than 15 years old, upgrading the kitchen floor, cabinetry and appliances to modern standards will net you more money during [the] time of sale,” said Joe Polyak, founder and realtor of Rise Homes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Many families view the kitchen as the center of the home. So, minor kitchen renovations can drastically increase your property’s value — the Remodeling report showed a 65 percent national recoup on average. This renovation can also increase home enjoyment for the entire family.

If you have an outdoor kitchen that needs to be renovated, consider updating the appliances. For example, Lowe’s offers savings on high-quality appliances.

“Outdoor entertaining and grilling go hand in hand,” said Jule Eller, director of trend and style at Lowe’s. “So bring the heat, and fire up that backyard flavor with a modular grill. You can choose add-ons like a sink, side burners or refrigerator to create a complete outdoor kitchen.”

Still, renovators should take care not to go overboard with kitchen remodel costs. “Upgrading the appliances to a certain level of luxury — KitchenAid versus Bosch, for example — can significantly increase value,” said Polyak. “Be careful, though. You don’t need to put Wolf appliances in a condo in a blue-collar condo complex. That won’t add value.”

Build an Outdoor Deck

“This can be a fairly inexpensive project that can add a lot of value in the eyes of potential homebuyers,” said Polyak. Specific features tend to vary in popularity by geographic location, and the national average cost for this upgrade is about $10,000 for wood and $17,000 for composite materials, according to Remodeling’s report. Of that amount, a homebuyer can hope to recoup about 71% and 65%, respectively.

“In Arizona, people like a nice fire pit with a beautiful outdoor area. In the San Francisco Bay Area, they like a nice deck with landscaping,” he said. “You can hire someone to do the work, but depending on how handy the homeowner, this can definitely be a fairly inexpensive do-it-yourself project.”

Create a Paver Patio

You might also consider adding a paver patio to your home. “Building a paver patio or walkway is a simple way to make your landscape more inviting and define an outdoor living space,” said Eller. “Best of all, you can install the paving stones yourself. You can also integrate landscape lighting to add ambiance and dimension.”

Eller recommends purchasing 10 percent more blocks, pavers or stones than you anticipated. “The excess should account for breakage, the material you need to cut and replacements for future repairs,” she said.

Upgrade Lighting Fixtures

Most fixtures can be purchased for a few hundred dollars or less, but when you’re working with electrical wires, you’ll also want to make sure to bring in a professional. Most homeowners spend about $318 to bring in an electrician, which will increase overall remodeling bills, according to HomeAdvisor. Still, prospective buyers are likely to appreciate the enhanced lighting, making it one of the best home renovations on a budget.

You might also want to upgrade your outdoor patio lighting with string lights, lanterns, candles, outdoor table lamps or floor lamps to bring your patio to life. Or, perhaps you have a deck? You’ll probably want to upgrade those lights as well. The good news: It won’t cost you a lot of money at stores like Lowe’s.

“From setting a festive mood to offering a soft glow after dark, outdoor lighting is a great way to make your outdoors warm and inviting,” said Eller. “Check out these battery-operated LED step lights or these bronze solar LED post lights.”

Replace the Entry Door

Installing a new steel entry door has the largest cost versus resale value, according to Remodeling’s report. It’s about a $1,400 project that’s likely to boost your home’s value by the same amount.

Bold colors can always replace a traditional door like a bright yellow and high-gloss black. To make this change buy some inexpensive door and apply paint to it yourself. There are plenty of affordable door options you can find online.

Install or Repurpose Flooring

“Updated hardwood floors or new carpeting can help sell a home,” said John Bodrozic, co-founder of digital home management tool HomeZada. “But a lot of the determination of whether the project pays for itself depends on how much money people put into the project.”

According to HomeAdvisor, existing carpets can be cleaned for about $174, and the average hardwood refinishing cost is $1.50 to $4 per square foot. Installation of new flooring increases the cost: $1,583 for carpet and $4,397 for wood. However, you can reduce these sums.

“If you have the skill or are willing to learn, you can save labor costs if you can do some of the work yourself,” said Bodrozic. “If you do hire a contractor, make sure you get three to five bids and make it known to the contractors that they are competing for the business. Depending on the marketing conditions and timing of your project, you could save yourself some money.”

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Features

“I’m noticing a big trend toward energy-efficient appliances, LED lights and tankless water heaters,” said Diana George, a vice president at Century 21 Real Estate Alliance.

“These products save homeowners money and contribute to a smaller carbon footprint.” A tankless water heater can be installed for about $4,200 in a 2,200-square-foot home, and LED converter bulbs can be bought for about $14 per light, said George.

You don’t have to wait until you move to reap the financial benefits that accompany an energy-efficient upgrade. A tankless water heater can cut a homeowner’s water heating bill by about a fifth each year. A switch from incandescent to LED bulbs, meanwhile, can save a homeowner a surprising $300 per year. Energy-efficient upgrades might not be the most exciting of home improvement projects, but they can have an almost immediate impact on a home’s overall bottom line.

Replace Vinyl Siding

It’s not everyone’s idea of a dream renovation project, but new vinyl siding can dramatically enhance a home’s curb appeal, which can make or break a homeowner’s prospects when selling on the open market.

Newer siding can also help curb heating and cooling costs and reduce occurrences of mold, fungus and mildew. New vinyl siding generally costs around $14,000 and will increase a home’s resale value by about $11,000, according to Remodeling.

Remodel a Bathroom

“Bath renovations are always worth the money invested,” said Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP in Warwick, New York. “If the home has good bones and quality finishes, the home seller will reap most, if not all, of the cost.”

A homebuyer can expect to pay about $18,000 for a mid-range bathroom renovation and recoup about 65 percent, according to Remodeling. However, making smaller changes can also bring big rewards. “The impact a new light fixture can make can take a house from being dated to feeling new,” said Gray-Plaisted. “I find upgrading light fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens to be worth every penny spent.”

In the end, a home renovation choice is about more than just the value you’ll eventually recoup. Consider projects that will keep your home properly maintained, but also that your family will enjoy. A house is more than an investment; it’s also the place where your family will build memories for years to come.

Open the Floor Plan

An open floor plan is one of the more sought-after features for homebuyers today. However, older homes typically have many walls and narrow hallways, said Polyak. The good news is that it can be surprisingly inexpensive to knock down a wall and create a more cohesive space. An interior demolition costs about $3,000 on average, according to HomeAdvisor.

Even load-bearing walls can be removed, preferably by a skilled contractor who can then place a beam in the ceiling for support. Even with the added home renovation costs, this improvement can still add significant value to a home, said Polyak.

Paint the Interior

Most homeowners spend between $996 and $2,721 on home interior paint costs, according to HomeAdvisor. At that price point, it’s easy to recoup the cost when it’s time to sell. Even so, it might be worthwhile to consult a professional before selecting a color.

Still, professional advice doesn’t have to add to the cost of the project. Many national paint retailers like Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore offer free paint consultations.






Are you planning to build a new house? One often overlooked aspect of a house is the basement, but keeping an eye on your lower floor can maximize your space and your ROI. In fact, a finished basement can give you a return on investment of about 70–75%. With that great return, you can see the worth of finishing your basement. But what should you include in your basement? Our experts weigh in about the top things you should consider for your basement.

1. Another Bedroom (or Two)

Depending on the size of your basement and what all you decide to have in it, you could add one or two bedrooms to it. Every homebuyer considers the number of bedrooms when looking at a house, and a basement bedroom could be perfect for teenagers, aging parents, or even just a large family.

2. Another Bathroom

As with bedrooms, potential buyers will note how many bathrooms your house has to offer. Having a bathroom in the basement is especially nice so residents and guests don’t have to trek upstairs to use the washroom.

3. A Home Gym

If the COVID-19 pandemic led you to give up your gym membership in favor of working out at home, give yourself the space you need with a designated home gym. When you’re building a basement, you can even set aside space for all your equipment, a sauna, and a yoga studio. No matter what you have in mind, be sure to design your home gym for your preferred workouts.

4. A Home Office

With the rise of the Coronavirus, more people than ever before have started working from home. If you have plans to work from home permanently, a home office is perfect for you. Set up your workstation exactly how you want it. From having a window near your desk to having enough outlets for all your gadgets, you can customize your home office to be as comfortable as possible.

5. A Children’s Playroom

If you have kids or grandkids that play with their toys all over the house, it might be nice to have a dedicated children’s playroom. The sky’s the limit with a playroom, and kids will jump on the opportunity to have their own space. Consider building a slide, rock climbing wall, reading nook, dress-up closet, shelves to hold toys, or even a faux tree house to keep your little ones entertained.

6. A Mother-in-Law Apartment

Mother-in-law apartments or suites are essentially an entire apartment that can function separately from the rest of the house. Many people use these suites for elderly family members because it gives them the independence they need while keeping them close. Even if you don’t plan to have family members use the space, you can also rent out the mother-in-law apartment to gain some extra income.

7. A Home Theater

Everyone loves having a movie theater experience from the comfort of their own home, making a home theater an excellent option for your basement. No matter if you’re a casual watcher or a self-professed movie buff, you can deck out your home theater with everything you need to enjoy the show. Some of the most popular touches to a home theater include adding acoustic panels to your walls, surround sound speakers, lounge chairs, a concession stand, and even a popcorn machine.

8. A Game Room

If your family spends a lot of time playing games, converting your basement into a game room can be a gamechanger. Whether you enjoy more board games, arcade games, or even foosball, having space for all your games makes it easier to play and clean up afterward. For easy storage, consider building shelves to hold your games or necessary supplies like dice, paper, and pens. You might also want to have a kitchenette, so you have all your treats and drinks ready for your next game night.

9. A Laundry Room

Boost the functionality of your new home with a basement laundry room. With an entire room set aside for laundry, you’ll have more space for all your laundry totes, baskets, detergent, and clothes. Add cupboards to hold your supplies, a sink to wash stains, rods to hold hangers, and even storage cabinets to keep your ironing board out of the way.

Make the Most of Your Basement

When you’re looking at the design for your new house, don’t forget to give your basement a personal flair. This is your space, and it should be what you want. Whether you’d rather have a home gym or a theater room, you can do so much with your home’s basement. For help designing and building your custom home in the surrounding areas of Bucks County, PA, contact Brett King Builder!

How to make your next home improvement project a success

Whether you are remodeling your home, making needed repairs, or sprucing things up to put your house on the market, the following tips will help make your next home improvement project a success.

  • Come up with a budget and stick to it. Home improvement projects can get expensive, fast. If you don’t want to break the bank, create a realistic budget to figure out how much you can spend ahead of time. Be upfront with contractors you hire about how much you can spend on a project as well.
  • Think about the pros and cons of DIY projects. If time and motivation is no problem for you, you may be able to tackle some basic home improvement projects on your own, but other projects may require further expertise. If you don’t have a background in construction, it’s usually best to hire a contractor to help with larger projects, such as plumbing, tiling, tree removal, exterior painting, and general remodels.
  • Give high priority to projects that keep your home clean and safe. If your home is in need of repairs, take care of those projects first. For example, fix that leaky roof before you give your home’s walls a fresh coat of paint. In addition, don’t forget to stay on top of regular home maintenance tasks to maximize the cleanliness and safety of your home.
  • Up the value of your home with a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Remodeling your bathroom or kitchen can completely change the look and feel of your home, creating a space you enjoy being in – not to mention it can add quite a bit of value to your home. For large scale remodels, hire a contractor that specializes in construction and remodeling services.
  • Improve energy efficiency. Save money (and the environment) by improving the energy efficiency of your home. Energy saving projects that are worth taking on include checking and replacing the seals on all windows and ducts in you home, installing new windows, and looking into green energy options like solar panels.
  • Get multiple quotes from contractors. When you are ready to start your home improvement project, be sure to get multiple quotes from several different companies. Never be pressured into hiring the first person you speak with. Comparing pricing and services is a critical step in choosing a skilled contractor you can trust.
  • Properly vet contractors before you hire. Even if the price is right, don’t hire a contractor before doing some research. Ask the contractor to provide references. Look up their name or company name online and pay close attention to any reviews or complaints from previous customers. Verify that the contractor is licensed and insured and get an estimate and contract in writing. Read contracts carefully before you sign them.
  • Think about permits. For larger projects, you may need to pay for building permits. Do you research ahead of time and understand that even if you hire a contractor, you may still be responsible for the cost of the permits.
  • Don’t get scammed. Stay alert to any suspicious behavior on the part of “home improvement specialists.” Red flags include not putting things into writing, demanding upfront payment, unexpected price changes, high-pressure sales tactics, unsolicited free inspections (that usually reveal the need for an urgent repair), and cash-only deals.

U.S. Home Remodeling trends forecast through 2026

U.S. home remodeling market is likely to be driven by growing consumer knowledge regarding green buildings and shifting trends towards smart homes. Remodeling of houses generally refers to upgradation of the existing exteriors, interiors, or other improvements to the property such as incorporation of energy saving technology, safety checks and maintenance & repair.

Rising per capita incomes, increasing preference for energy efficient and luxurious living spaces, thriving real estate sector and easy availability of remodeling businesses are factors impacting the regional growth. Moreover, rising cost of land and low lending rates will further fuel the demand for refurbishment across the country. It has been anticipated that the U.S. home remodeling market size will record annual revenues of over USD 500 billion by 2026.

Different programs implemented by the regional governments including residential weatherization, residential retrofit, appliance recycling and direct install programs are encouraging masses to remodel their houses. Growing popularity of mid-century & farmhouse designs has resulted in major changes in American kitchens. Kitchen improvement & additions segment is likely to grow at a significant rate on account of shifting consumer preferences toward streamlined textures, materials and designs.

A higher demand for ceramic tiles as well as the growing adoption of hardwood flooring will supplement the industry trends. The popularity of luxurious bathroom fittings including wall mounted toilets, rounded rectangle vanity mirrors, floating vanities, and console sink vanities will also offer lucrative opportunities for professionals in the remodeling industry.

Rapidly evolving technology and constant upgrades in roofing technology has gathered a lot of consumer attention. Masses are increasingly becoming aware of environmental protection and energy conservation in households through utilization of green materials. This is prompting more consumers to indulge in home remodeling activities.

As per the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, around 39% of the nuclear family homes accounted for the overall U.S. rental homes. Spending on home improvements across the U.S. is gradually escalating due to the rising cost of building material and labor. This has prompted homeowners to spend mostly on the existing houses. Prevalent house renting trends will substantially foster home improvement initiatives across the region.

In general, a large number of homeowners from states such as Texas, Florida and California possess heavy spending capacities for home renovation projects. According to the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), the spending per improvement in California had increased to over USD 9,565 in 2018, which was up by 20% when compared to the spending in 2017.

Competition in the U.S. home remodeling industry is fragmented due to densely populated areas in different regions. A vital role is being played by the wholesalers for distribution of home improvement products at cost-effective prices. For instance, one of the leading wholesale distributors of home improvement products in the U.S., ABC Supply, introduced a new location in Massachusetts to provide products and solutions and cater to the evolving customer needs in the state.

The company has an expanded product portfolio encompassing a range of roofing, doors, windows, siding, railing and decking products. Other prominent providers of home remodeling products and services in the U.S. are Andersen Corporation, Kohler Co., Pella Corporation, Ferguson Enterprises, The Sherwin-Williams Company, ABC Supply, HD supply, US LBM, Beacon roofing supply, and Watsco Inc., among others.


The Pros and Cons of Finishing Your Unfinished Basement

While not all homes have basements—they are more common in cold-winter northern and Midwestern states where house foundations need to extend below the frost line—if you’re lucky enough to have this bonus underground space, then you should be sure it’s being used effectively.

If your unfinished basement mostly serves as a repository for old furniture and out-of-season holiday decorations, you are potentially wasting what could be additional living space. A finished basement is as versatile as you want it to be, but while the benefits are many, it’s true that there are also drawbacks. Here’s what to consider if you are thinking of finishing your basement.

Pro: It increases your home’s value.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in the near future, you want to do everything you can to increase its value. A finished basement is one way to accomplish that goal, as most potential buyers love the idea of a bonus room that they can use in multiple ways. Of course, even if you don’t plan on selling anytime soon, making the most of your home’s usable space also boosts its livability value to you.


Con: You might not recoup all of your expenses.

While it’s true that remodeling an unfinished basement increases your home’s value, it’s also true that you are unlikely to recoup 100 percent of your expenses. As a general rule, the increase in value only covers roughly 70 percent of what you spent on the makeover. Still, that’s a good return on investment for most home sellers.

Pro: The room can be whatever you want it to be.

Your bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom each have established uses that don’t vary much, but a finished basement is open to whatever you want to use it for. If you’ve been wishing for a home office, workout space, craft room, or even a more pleasant and organized spot for storage, you can have it. Of course, you can also design the room for more than one purpose, by designating separate areas for different uses.

Con: Basements can be dark.

Not surprisingly, a room that typically has few and small windows is going to lack natural light. That means your finished basement might not be the greatest spot for houseplants, but you don’t have to resign yourself to living in the dark. Plan for a variety of lighting sources to keep your newly renovated space bright—aim for overhead lighting and at least two lamps, depending on the size of the basement. If you’re planning to use the space as a bedroom, keep in mind that many building codes will require adding an egress window for safety.


Pro: It’s a great spot for noisy activities. 

Neighbors complaining about your rambunctious toddler, teenager learning to play the drums, or loud parties? Once you take your noisy activities underground into your finished basement, those complaints should evaporate. A basement’s subterranean location naturally muffles sound, making it the perfect spot for loud activities that might otherwise bother your neighbors, or even other family members inside your home.

Con: Moisture can be a problem.

Thanks to being underground, moisture and basements tend to go hand in hand. The struggle with basement humidity, and the resulting mold and musty odor, is a real one for many homeowners. If your basement regularly has humidity levels above 50 percent, your remodel should include the purchase of a basement dehumidifier to keep the moisture under control.

Pro: It might be the only way to expand your home’s size.

Many homeowners want or need more square footage—maybe you have a baby on the way or need a home office—but often, expanding outwards or upwards is constrained due to the home’s design, the lot size, or restrictive local ordinances. By finishing an existing basement, you bypass those concerns, adding usable space without actually increasing the size of your home.


Con: It will be harder to access plumbing lines.

One advantage to an unfinished basement is that it’s generally easy to access plumbing and electrical lines when there’s a problem. Once you finish the walls and ceiling, reaching pipes or wires often requires cutting through the drywall. You can minimize this, however, by installing removable panels over important plumbing and electrical access points, then painting the covers to match the wall or ceiling.