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Top 5 Home Improvements That Add Value

This blog post takes a look at a variety of Home Improvements that add value, while steering homeowners away from projects that add little, if any resale value. It also considers home improvements from a cost versus homeowner and resale value benefit.

While you’re busy hammering away at your New Year’s Self-Improvement Resolutions, why not consider a few home improvement resolutions that can significantly improve the value of your home? 

Home Improvements come in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavors and colors. Whether they’re in the form of amenities, creature comforts or purely aesthetics, they work in harmony in that pursuit of your elusive perfect home.

Home Improvements, or even upgrades—if you’re building a new home—generally fall into two categories: For enjoyment, or for resale value. But what if you want to be smart about it and get both?

We’re going to take a closer look at the key distinction between the two so you can make sure your Home Improvement project checks all the boxes. Think of this as your guide to achieving “the both.”

To illustrate the point, that 500 bottle, temperature and humidity-controlled wine cellar may be your pride and joy. But your prospective buyer may see nothing more than another broom closet. And that super duper deluxe potting shed may just be in the way of your buyer’s new pool. Ditto for the wood-fired pizza oven. In other words, every home improvement project is a risk/reward proposition. 

Functional Improvements Can Also Add Resale Value

1. Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen remains a focal point of every home based on its everyday use and visual appeal. A well-thought out remodel can update the look and add numerous new features, including an appliance garage, under cabinet lighting, solid surface countertops and backsplashes, a ducted vent hood, a breakfast bar and more. Modern kitchen design strikes a balance between aesthetically pleasing art form and the science of functionality. They can also be rather spendy.

2. Swimming Pool

Pools are so ubiquitous to Florida it’s often joked that having one is the law. Still, many homeowners don’t want them because they do require maintenance and some people simply don’t like to swim. 

In today’s Florida real estate market, pool homes remain in high demand. Because of higher labor and material costs, in addition to material shortages and construction delays, the value of an existing pool is now higher than ever. 

Today’s pool costs about 50% more than it did three years ago. But still, adding a pool now is a solid investment, especially if you intend to use it. 

3. Indoor Laundry 

Outdoor and garage laundries are not uncommon in Florida, especially in older homes. The opportunity to move the laundry indoors affords comfort and convenience. In fact, new home design often incorporates the laundry room adjacent to a back door in the master bedroom closet for the ultimate in wash-fold-stow convenience. 

4. Insulation

Insulation, like impact resistant windows, is not exactly a feature of enjoyment, but you could call it a ‘feel good’ home improvement comfort that adds value. Maintaining your same level of climate comfort using less energy certainly feels good. This applies to window films and tinting, as well. 

5. Impact Windows 

Under current Florida building code, new windows must be impact resistant, or storm shutters must be installed. Therefore, replacing non-rated windows with new, non-rated windows doesn’t make any sense unless you like putting up storm shutters. Homeowners are now opting to replace non-rated windows with impact resistant windows to eliminate the need to put up shutters. 

Not only do impact resistant windows eliminate the need for shutter installation during storm season, they’re also insulated which provides energy efficiency benefits. Better still, insurance companies like them, too.

Runners Up: Aesthetic Improvements Can Increase Efficiency And Add Value

New Patio & Outdoor Kitchen

Florida is all about the year ‘round outdoor lifestyle, making the patio and outdoor kitchen a natural extension of the living room and kitchen. While the costs can be significant, the return on investment both in enjoyment and resale is huge. A home show tour, Internet search or browse through coastal living magazines showcases appealing patio and kitchen designs that meet the needs of every need and budget.

Also note that many newer homes may have outdoor kitchen infrastructure “stubbed in.” That is to say, gas, plumbing and electricity may already be available to complete your outdoor kitchen project, saving you thousands right off the bat.

Stone Veneers

Break up a wall or room with a stone veneer accent. A careful selection of stone texture and color can define a space, add warmth and generate eye appeal. Stone veneer projects are relatively low in cost and can be very owner-doable. In most cases, the big box stores that sell product usually offer free DIY classes on installation of stone, as well as other materials and projects.


In the real estate world, fresh paint is by far the cheapest and most valuable home improvement money can buy. Nothing rejuvenates a home more for the dollar than a good brush, roller, tape, tarp, and the right mix of base and accent color paints. It’s like that ‘new car’ smell, for your home. Get creative, but keep the tones neutral—especially if you’re getting ready to sell. 

New Front Door

In spite of its relatively modest contribution to overall drive-up appeal, the front door is an excellent opportunity to make a bold statement on the walkup and entry to any home. 

Modern door design offers a wide variety of styles and configurations to make your statement. As an added benefit, new doors also play a role in energy efficiency and impact resistance. Be sure to ask your insurance agent if an updated front door improves your wind mitigation, which can lower your insurance premium.

Even a fresh coat of paint or accenting can add to the visual appeal to your existing front door. 

New Garage Door

The same benefits of a front door can be said about a new garage door. Garages, especially ones with a western exposure, tend to get hot in Florida. Today’s doors are not only impact resistant, but offer insulated panels as well. You’ll find a wide variety of new designs and styles to complement your home’s elevation.

Crown Molding

While crown molding isn’t for every home, selecting the right style in the right places adds a touch of class unmatched by any other finish. However, the quality of the installation is paramount; like a bad tattoo, botched crown molding lives with you for a long time.

Close-up of flooring samples.


Like paint and stone veneer, flooring can define a space, accent rooms and build warmth and comfort into the home. The challenge is making new flooring co-exist with other types of floors. 

Carpeted bedrooms, for instance, can be converted to hard floors, but the likelihood of matching existing flooring is virtually impossible. Therefore, contrasting selections, or the use of listello transitions to disguise different material lots are proven techniques. 

Like paint and stone veneer, flooring can define a space, accent rooms and build warmth and comfort into the home. The challenge is making new flooring co-exist with other types of floors. 

Carpeted bedrooms, for instance, can be converted to hard floors, but the likelihood of matching existing flooring is virtually impossible. Therefore, contrasting selections, or the use of listello transitions to disguise different material lots are proven techniques. 

Bad Home Improvement Ideas May Actually Subtract Value

Above Ground Spa

Giving up precious outdoor living area for a spa may be no big deal for some. Buyers, however, tend to view them as an eyesore. We’ve seen our share of hot tubs removed after the sale. So unless you really, really love jumping in the hot tub on a chilly evening, skip it, especially for resale value. 

Backup Generator

Like a top-notch first aid kit, a backup generator is unquestionably a great investment. Having one standing by, ready for duty is practical and prudent. However, it’s not something the average homeowner is going to use everyday. Most buyers don’t see it as a key selling feature and therefore, won’t likely factor it into an offer. 

Get one for your own comfort and peace of mind, not for resale value. 

Bathroom Addition

Because this is such an expensive, invasive and involved improvement, the decision to add a bathroom should be based solely on the number of bedrooms.   Some older homes may only have one bathroom, or one guest bath serving 3 or more bedrooms, which makes the effort worthwhile. 

The only other exception is where the bathrooms are located within bedrooms. In that case, a half bath or ‘powder room’ might be appropriate when guests are frequently entertained.

On the other hand, a bathroom remodel goes a long way.

Built In Entertainment Center

Built-ins represent the ultimate in functionality and are great for making best use of space. But be careful; some built-in executions can pigeon hole you into a dated design that must be torn out rather than updated.

Take It To The Bottom Line

Whatever you decide to do, consider the 3 C’s: Comfort, Cost and Continuation. Is it an improvement that will bring more comfort and enjoyment to your lifestyle? Is the cost reasonable and adds value to your home? And finally, will you continue to live in your home long enough to enjoy it? Weigh all three, then decide.

If you would like us to take a look at your home and evaluate the practicality of your home improvement resolutions, give us a call. We’re always glad to help.

Let Us Know How We Can Help.