The Home Building and Remodeling Expo visited Minneapolis over the weekend, providing ample opportunities to win things, ranging from complete kitchen and bathroom remodels to an ATV. There was also ample opportunity to schedule free estimates for home improvements and remodels.
The Dody Kettler Team of Keller Williams Realty put together a flyer with the four “home improvements worth doing,” including estimates and expected cost recuperation according to the 2018 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report. That information was mostly incomplete and is based on who is buying homes now and not who will be buying homes.
Millennials are looking for different things than their mothers and fathers did when buying their first homes. Some staples like curb appeal and off-street parking are still important, but you’d be surprised what Millennials want in a home. So here are the seven home improvements that will payoff the most given the new market of Millennial buyers.
7) Exterior lighting
More than half of all buyers desire well-lit exteriors, but Millennials showed a stronger preference compared to other generations. A well-lit exterior conveys safety and security, and if you think homebuyers won’t drive by your home at night, you’re wrong. Thoroughly informed homebuyers know to visit the neighborhoods where they’re shopping to see what the neighborhood looks and sounds like at night. If you’ll forgive the cliché, the difference can be night and day.
Installing exterior lighting around garden beds and lights operating on motion sensors is a modest expense that will really improve your curb appeal and keep the offers coming. Path lights run $10 a piece, and motion-sensor lights can be had for less than $20.
6) Energy efficient appliances
It should be no surprise that energy efficiency is important to Millennial homebuyers entering the market. They are environmentally conscious and frugal to boot. That’s why you shouldn’t ignore updating your appliances before selling your home.
Installing a Solar Array
If you own a small home and require very little electricity, installing a solar array could pay itself off before you even complete the rest of your home renovations. I averaged 312 kilowatt-hours in January at a rate of roughly 15 cents per kilowatt-hour through Xcel Energy. Wholesale Solar has a calculator that can recommend a solar array perfect for your home and estimates how long it will take to payoff. I could install a solar array for just over $1,000. It will pay for itself in just two years, so don’t let anyone tell you installing a solar array is too expensive.
Replacing Your Hot Water Heater
Besides your heating and cooling systems, your hot water heater is the most energy intensive appliance in your home. My furnace and hot water heater were recently replaced and played a big role in influencing my purchase. Any home with a hot water heater or furnace more than three years old were basically knocked off my list immediately.
Your hot water heater is also the cheapest of the “big three” appliances to replace. Units that can heat 30 gallons run less than $400, and 40-gallon units are less than $600.
Replacing Your Washer/Dryer
Replacing that old clothes washer/dryer combination is an absolute must. Your washer and dryer are responsible for 13 percent of your home energy consumption. That’s way more than your refrigerator, which accounts for four percent of your home energy consumption.
Keep in mind that, more than anything, Millennials want a laundry room, and Millennials prefer their laundry to be on the same floor as their bedroom, so if you have a room on your main floor for a stackable washer/dryer and can run some plumbing to it easily, it would behoove you to do so.
Replacing Your Refrigerator/Freezer
The refrigerator/freezer is the cornerstone of the kitchen. As the biggest item in your kitchen, it dictates the look and feel of your cooking environment and tends to turn heads, in either a good or bad way.
Before you decide to replace your refrigerator/freezer, though, use Energy Star’s calculator to determine whether it’s worth it. A new refrigerator isn’t going to sell your house, but if you have other renovations that will take years to complete, or intend to stay in your home for awhile, having an energy efficient refrigerator/freezer could payoff. Replacing a refrigerator/freezer made in the early 1990s with an Energy Star refrigerator/freezer can save you over $150 per year.
New appliances can make your kitchen bigger and give it an updated look that will be appreciated by anyone who cooks. I moved out an old, 40-inch-wide gas range in my kitchen and replaced it with a newer, more efficient 36-inch range that gave me enough room to add an 18-inch dishwasher to a kitchen measuring roughly 100 square feet. So not only am I saving energy, but I made my kitchen bigger, which goes a lot further than new appliances in selling your home. I even scored a newer microwave that matches the oven/range! If new appliances aren’t in your budget, shop Craigslist for local deals.
5) Wood deck additions
Curb appeal is still most important when it comes to enticing offers on your home, and nothing improves your curb appeal like a wood deck addition. Composite decking might hold up better against the elements, but wood still looks and feels better, as is indicated by the fact that three of every four new decks built are still constructed with pressure-treated lumber. Much of that has to do with cost.
A two-by-six-inch piece of pressure-treated lumber runs a little more than $1 per linear foot. Composite decking is more than twice that, and plastic decking is three times the price. So if you’re going to build a deck, build it of wood. You won’t mind washing it annually and putting a stain on it every few years because it will look and feel so much better than your neighbors’ cold, composite deck.
The 2018 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report says you can expect to recuperate almost 83 percent of your costs on a wood deck addition. That cost is estimated at $10,950 on average. A composite deck addition only recuperates 63.6% of an average cost of $17,668.
4) Manufactured stone veneer
Again, improving the curb appeal of your home continues to top the list of home renovations that payoff the most. Adding a manufactured stone veneer around the base of your home will have homebuyers salivating before they cross the threshold...or even park the car.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to give your home good masonry anymore. Rock work has exploded in popularity, so there are more people doing it and materials that allow it to be done at a reasonable rate. You can get enough manufactured stone to cover 150 square feet for just over $1,100.
You’d probably be surprised to discover that adding a manufactured stone veneer is estimated to cost just over $8,000 on average. The return on investment is even more shocking -- 97.1 percent and climbing considerably.
3) Steel entry door replacement
As this list indicates, curb appeal is still king when it comes to selling your home, and nothing improves that appeal more than a designer front door constructed of steel. Replacing your front door not only provides the best return on investment but is the cheapest renovation you can make to your home before putting it on the market.
Even if you’re not selling your home, purchasing a new front door is a smart investment. You can dramatically lower your heating and cooling costs by adding a new front door, and why not change the door if you have to change the locks anyways?
The 2018 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report estimates the cost of replacing your front door at $1,471, which is a bargain considering how much it’ll payoff. You can expect to get 91.3 percent of that cost back in resale value.
This would be number one on the list if the return on investment was just a little bit higher. The beauty of improving the landscaping surrounding your home is that it’s something you can do yourself and, hopefully, enjoy doing.
Planting some trees and bushes and putting in a garden with some nice, stone pavers is cheap, and a 2016 survey conducted by The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Landscape Professionals found the return on investment to be 105 percent. Again -- curb appeal.
Insulation isn’t typically seen or noticed by homebuyers unless your realtor makes it a point to sell the energy efficiency of your home, but the payoff of proper insulation is better than any other home renovation you can make. It’s also cheap.
Most insulation installations can be done for less than $1,500 -- on par with the replacement of your front door -- but the return on investment was 108 percent in 2017, according to Remodeling Magazine. The best part is, added insulation is a good investment whether you intend to sell your home or not.
So there are the seven home renovations that will payoff the most given the Millennials looking for their first homes. Invest wisely.
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