what renovations add value to a house

What Renovations Add Value to a House

House flipping is all the rage; however you need to know what renovations add value to a house before deciding what to repair or replace.

Guest post submitted by Tina Mancini

If you are thinking of getting your hands dirty and making money in flipping houses there are a number of very important things you need to consider. When searching for a property and planning what you want to renovate in the house, you always have to have the bottom line in mind to maximize your profit.

If you want to be a true investor you have to get very good at knowing what renovations add value to a house and at the least cost. To help you decide this we’ve developed lists in three categories so that you can easily check to see if what you want to do makes financial sense.

We start off with the basics of what the house has to have, such as an efficient heating and cooling system and a non-leaking roof, and look at the renovations that increase the value of the home. Lastly, we’ll cover things that often don’t, such as pools.

Basic Repairs and Renovations

These items don’t necessarily add value to the property, but they do bring them up to market standard. For instance, if every other house on the block has proper heating, your house should too.

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what renovations add value to a house roof

Potential buyers expect the home to be livable immediately. So these renovations won’t boost the value of the home but it is necessary to compete with the other houses on the market and give potential buyers one less thing to bargain with.

All these things are expected by potential buyers, so you won’t be pleasantly surprising them:

  • Working heating and cooling system
  • Non-leaking roof
  • Good foundation
  • Working plumbing
  • Working electrical circuits and switches

Putting money into repairing or upgrading these features is not going to earn you extra money when selling most of the time. And there are plenty of good houses you can flip on the market that do have these things already.

Of course, if the price you are paying is really, really low, then maybe it will be worth it!

What Renovations Add Value to a House?

Here are some renovations, upgrades or additions that consistently do add value to a house:

Kitchen renovations add a ton of value because the kitchen is the center of the home in many ways, so renovating it will give you much more bang for your money than other areas.


Similarly, bathroom renovations and simple remodeling add more value than they cost. Building decks and fences adds value because it adds more living space and to the overall look of the house. Plus, a fence is often needed by people moving in if they have pets or children.

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If they have to foot that cost themselves, they may want to subtract it from the price of the home. Exterior and interior painting does wonders for the curb appeal of the home and makes the home look new and fresh, which is always appealing.

Renovations That Don’t Add Value

If a quick flip is your goal, then it is important that you do not waste time and money on renovations that are pricey yet don’t add much resale value. Below is a list of some of the main things to stay away from:

  • Anything that’s an invisible unnecessary improvement
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting. If the floors need replacing, carpeting is becoming less and less popular, so using today’s modern tiles, wood or interlocking flooring will pay off more.
  • High-end kitchen renovations. Good quality, simple looks and appealing lines provide the best ROI.
  • Expensive appliances. While bells and whistles are nice, new and good quality appliances are more important.
  • Extensive landscaping. Flowers may be pretty, but people like to envision their own ways of sprucing up a home, so again, simple, well maintained and clean.
  • Swimming pools. While there are exceptions to this rule in hot places such as Florida or California, in general if a pool is only used for less than half the year, adding it to a home you are trying to flip is an expense that can easily backfire.

    People with children may not want the risk of a pool; others may not want the care that comes with one.

  • Over renovating. Follow the old rule, keep it simple but good sound quality.

It’s unfortunate to say, but renovations that improve things that potential buyers can’t see don’t often equate to a higher selling price. However sometimes invisible renovations are impossible to neglect, such as if there is a foundation problem or faulty electric circuitry.

These things also tend to be things that are in the basic category but not always, such as upgrades to existing systems. Electric wiring is a good example since many older homes need to be brought up to code for today’s electronics and gadgets. Telling potential buyers that the wiring is all brand new is a definite selling point!

The old motto holds true here: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Know what renovations add value to a house and you can make money buying, renovating and flipping real estate.

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