By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent

Renovations and upgrades can increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars when done strategically, intelligently and professionally. Even if you renovate for personal reasons, consider the key areas that will put money back in your pocket. The kitchen and the bathrooms are first choice upgrades that translate into more money later. Bedrooms can also create incredible appeal or end up a serious turn off. Make certain your renovations or upgrades reflect the property values of your neighborhood. Don’t overdo it with costly materials if you cannot recoup your costs when you sell your property.

Five Secrets To Upgrading The Kitchen

The kitchen is the heartbeat of a home; everyone goes to the kitchen. When you are entertaining guests the flow often moves to the kitchen. The kitchen is also a key component for any homebuyer. If you follow a few basic suggestions your upgrade decisions will serve you well in the long term. If you are still dwelling in the house think about what works best with your lifestyle.

Always consider functionality and durability when you construct kitchen countertops. First, don’t use tile countertops. Grout is difficult to clean and ages quickly unless it is sealed properly. If you have a lot of children or cook every night, you may not want to use newer, porous material since it scratches easily. Second, when altering the kitchen cabinets you can paint wood, but use washable paint, not water based paint. If you do not want to paint or replace all the cabinets change the hardware or consider adding new doors. Third, wallpaper in the kitchen is not a good idea. The heat and grease builds up and it is not very durable. Most people either love or hate wallpaper. Eighty percent of my buyers do not prefer wallpaper. Fourth, evaluate the cost of flooring alternatives like high-grade vinyl, wood flooring or ceramic tile. Do not use “stick ’em” tiles because they do not wear well and can detract from the value of your kitchen. Fifth, update the sinks, faucets and light fixtures for a bigger pay off. Most importantly be sure the kitchen is bright, airy and cheerful. These recommendations will increase the attractiveness and value of one of the most important rooms in the house.

Bathroom Do’s and Don’ts

The bathroom is another room buyers love to examine carefully; you will want it to have a lot of appeal. If you can see a ring around your tub for each child then it’s time to replace or reface it. The shower and bathroom tiles must be clean, replace tiles that are in bad shape. Ceramic tiles are the best choice for flooring and new sinks. Be certain the grout and caulk are orderly and neat. New counters, sinks, light fixtures and cabinetry will enable you to get more return on your investment. Do not use wallpaper, since it does not hold up well in a moist environment.

Everyone Needs Personal Space

In a home the bedrooms become each person’s sanctuary. The layout and bedroom size can affect the appeal of your space. If you have small bedrooms consider taking a wall or two out and opening the space up. For example, five small bedrooms can be transformed into three larger bedrooms. If the home lacks in closet space closet organizers can help maximize space. Freshen up the light fixtures; even match them to individual décor. A chair rail or crown molding also adds value. Of course, upgrading the carpet or wood floor also makes the rooms more enticing. When you replace the carpet buy high quality padding, despite the added expense. Cheap padding will not be a long lasting upgrade.

Time is Up… Tune In next Time

Now that you have some tools, you are ready to make your first steps towards a better home. Thinking strategically is the key to increased value and perfect home improvements. Two more important tips: keep all of your permits on file when you decide to resell and consider hiring a professional when renovating your home. Good luck with your current projects!