There are upgrades that increase the value of your home, and then there are improvements that increase the chances of selling your home. Paint, for example, will not increase the value of your home, but will greatly increase its curb appeal and ultimately, its salability. (But when you paint, choose neutral colors – nothing too outrageous.) Fixing cracked sidewalks, rickety steps and railings falls into the same category of improving your home’s curb appeal, if not its overall market value.
The most valuable improvements are upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms. Remodeling them can often increase the value of your home by much more than the remodeling costs. The worst improvements in terms of resale value are highly personalized ones, such as a super deluxe master suite, or a fancy garage with lots of organizational features. These kinds of upgrades can cost much more than you will ever get back when you sell your home. Ditto for expensive home office renovations (home offices that can easily be converted back into a bedroom are most valuable).
Keep in mind that additions that add square footage to your home do not always pay off. Buyers can purchase newer homes with all the additional features in the original floor plan. That doesn’t mean adding another room is always bad. If the home needs another common room or bedroom, an addition could be the answer. And the extra square footage and luxury upgrades could tip a buyer in your favor. But additions are expensive, and do not always result in a comparable increase in the overall value of your home.
Be sure to put careful thought into how a home improvement could affect both the value and potential salability of your home before committing to the project.