If you’re thinking about improvements to your home, some home improvements raise potential resale value more than others. The key consideration, of course, is that you and your family will get use out of and enjoy the improvement, but it never hurts to think strategically. A home project you enjoy every day that will hike your home’s resale value is a terrific two-fer. But what projects improve resale value the most? Projects that add curb appeal can raise a home’s value by as much as 20 percent.
“Curb appeal” refers to what potential buyers see when they drive up and park. Landscaping, hardscaping and home exteriors all count. Hardscaping, by the way, is any structure or hard materials that are part of the landscape. A beautiful garden, a spacious deck and shining new paint can all make prospective owners take notice. Homes with curb appeal also tend to sell more quickly, which can be an attractive quality when you come to sell your home.
Within the hardscaping category, some improvements give you more bang for the buck than others. Swimming pools, for example, were once very popular. As a result, they were common features in a lot of sunny climate backyards. Now, though? Many people see them as a potential danger to small children, an insurance risk and a maintenance time and money suck. They only yield a 7 percent return on investment (ROI) in terms of resale value. Many hardscaping projects return more.
Which ones? Well, here are five.
1. Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting is a popular feature that returns 50 percent ROI to the eventual resale value. It’s also a project that requires minimal outlays of money and time. Lighting for the outdoors is a great safety feature.
It makes yards and walkways more navigable for friends and family, reducing any possibility of tripping and falling. At the same time, it deters potential thieves and intruders. If you have a garden, it’s also a nice way to show it off once the sun goes down.
Fences are also projects that yield a robust ROI and are inexpensive and convenient to install. Fences literally make good neighbors, as they can clarify and eliminate property line disputes. They appeal to security and privacy concerns, as they can deter intruders. Fences can play a role in protecting yards and gardens from wind and sun. They foster more active use of your yard.
3. Patios and Decks
Patios and decks have a variable ROI, adding 30 percent to 73 percent to resale value. The warmer your climate and the more months that can be spent outside, the higher the ROI will be. More expensive materials, like wood and stone, also add to the ROI. Popular patios and decks serve as extensions of living space, with furniture, party areas and even kitchens as part of the mix.
While outdoor lights and fences can be either professionally done or do-it-yourself projects, it’s wise to involve a professional in patios and decks, at least for the foundation. If you live in an area prone to erosion or loose foundational soil, adding geotextiles can provide structural reinforcement to stabilize both structures.
4. Outdoor Kitchens
Spaces to cook outdoors are very popular and have a whopping ROI. Kitchens with fire pits, barbecues, refrigerators and even sinks can garner ROIs of 100 percent to 200 percent. These spaces often feature room to entertain and furniture in which to sit and eat.
The lower end ROI could be achieved with fire pits or barbecues if the deck or patio is convenient to the inside kitchen. These are one of the more expensive hardscaping projects. Contractors will be required to make sure electricity, plumbing and water lines are installed properly. Permits will also likely be required, which can add both time and money.
5. Water Features
Here’s the thing about water features like fountains or a pond. The ROI they would give you is not as high as a fire pit, but neither is it as low as their cousins, a backyard chlorinated pool. They are popular not so much for the water itself — ponds are generally not swimmable — but as part of a trend toward making a peaceful sanctuary of a backyard.
Gently tinkling or peacefully reflecting water works to soothe busy people. Water features can also highlight landscaping and be part of paths and walkways within a garden.
Looking to improve your home’s value? Features that enhance curb appeal are sure to boost a home’s value. Hardscaping is one of the elements that contribute to curb appeal the most. Outdoor lighting, fences, patios and decks, outdoor kitchens, and water features like fountains and ponds are some hardscaping projects that increase a home’s ROI the most.