From the layout to the lighting options, choices abound. When it comes time to decide on the upgrades and options that will help turn your new house into a home, it’s important to think for the future, steer clear of trends and select only those upgrades that will give you the most bang for your buck.
After talking to several industry experts, we’re here to suggest some popular new home options that will not only beautify your new living space, but will also maximize your home’s resale value should you decide to sell:
Option 1: Windows
A key feature in every room of your home, windows are paramount when it comes to lighting and beautifying a room. According to Matthew Kraus of Skyline Windows, “Many people don’t realize it, but windows are actually a very important investment. Not only can quality windows yield significant savings for homeowners throughout the years, but they can also increase the resale value of your home. Furthermore, windows also enhance the quality of your life by eliminating noise, harmful UV rays and adding to the beauty of your residence.”
Windows tend to be very expensive to change, so Kraus suggests that homeowners invest in high-performing quality windows from the get go. “Although quality windows may cost more upfront than alternatives, they will actually save homeowners more money in the long run, he says. “A properly installed, high-performance window will retain more heat during the winter and cool air during the summer; effectively lowering energy costs. Not to mention that quality windows are less likely to have service issues.”
For more on how windows can save you on energy costs and protect your home, see our article Windows That Cut Energy Costs, Protect and Defend.
Option 2: Kitchens
Often considered a home’s main gathering and entertaining spot, kitchens are ripe with upgrade opportunities and will benefit greatly from the added attention to detail. “Just about any kitchen expansion or added feature will add value to your home,” says Mark A. Mitchell, a real estate broker in Charleston. “Especially those that open the kitchen up to the home’s living or family room.”
Cabinets & Drawers
A great way to add both value and style to your kitchen is by upgrading the cabinetry and drawer systems. Custom and semi-custom cabinetry will enable you to pick from a wider variety of finishes and higher-quality materials, as well as specialty options such as in-cabinet lighting and soft-close drawer slides. Deepening the cabinetry and expanding them upward to the ceiling will provide valuable space while also adding drama and elegance to the room.
Going green is another popular and money-saving upgrade, says Jenna Pizzigati-Coppla, owner of Pizzigati Designs in New York City. “Buyers are more interested in sustainable and responsible fixture options in their home. Be sure to purchase Energy Star and efficient kitchen appliances; buyers love these options because they are guaranteed to save a significant amount of money in the long run.”
Popular Kitchen Upgrades
Other popular upgrades that will make your kitchen the star of the show include: large center islands with seating and storage, undercounter lighting, and granite countertops (though these have now become standard in many new kitchens).
Oft considered a no-brainer upgrade, stainless steel appliances get a mixed review among experts. “They are a fad and are really hard to clean,” says blogger and draftsman Cher-Ann Texter. “Plus, if there are any dents, they stick out like a sore thumb.” Nancy Dalton of Baywolf Dalton, Inc. disagrees and considers stainless steel appliances a sought-after upgrade that will add value to the home.
Option 3: Flooring
Drawn on, spilled on and trampled daily, a home’s flooring really takes a beating. Because you want to keep this workhorse feature looking great, it’s ideal to upgrade your flooring from the start. If budget allows, experts suggest upgrading from laminate to wood or another natural alternative. Carpeting and underlay should be both plush and stain-resistant, especially in the home’s high-traffic areas.
When it comes to flooring options, Pizzigati-Coppola suggests going for the natural, long-lasting alternative. “This is another area in which I highly recommend that my clients go with eco-friendly and sustainable options. I love to use bamboo, which is naturally sustainable, extremely durable and long lasting — another huge upgrade in desirability for your home.”
Interested in learning about the different types of flooring out there? Our article on The Hottest Trends in Flooring has you covered.
Value vs. Cost: By the Numbers
According to Hanley Wood’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, some upgrades retain their value far better than others. Among mid-range projects, the top-five best values were:
- Steel entry door replacement (102% recouped costs)
- Manufactured stone veneer (92% recouped costs)
- Garage door replacement (88% recouped costs)
- Siding replacement (81% recouped costs)
- Deck addition (81% recouped costs)
Some home additions/upgrades that didn’t fare as well included a sunroom addition (49 percent), a home office remodel (49 percent) and a bathroom addition (58 percent).
Where Not to Spend Your Money:
With so many upgrades and options available, it’s hard to stay focused when designing your dream home. While it’s important to make your house satisfy your needs and tastes, keep in mind that not all upgrades will give you a return on your investment.
Industry experts suggest not putting your upgrade dollars toward these options: specialty driveways, high-end plumbing features, jetted soaking tubs and swimming pools. “I’ve seen people spend $100,000 on a pool and outdoor features only to have buyers completely rip them out and start over,” says Mitchell.
To learn more about choosing options, check out our tips for selecting options and upgrades.
Jennifer Segelke Jeffers is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist with more than a decade of editorial experience. She is the former editor of Austin Monthly Home and Centro Y Sur.