Which Renovations are Worth the Investment? (And Which to Avoid)

When renovating your property, you should evaluate each change as a potential investment in the property’s value. Will the funds spent on updating to a fancy kitchen come back to you later? It’s important to ask yourselves questions like this before beginning an expensive renovation. Investing in the right upgrades is a smart way to increase the resale value of a property, but there are some renovations that simply are not worth it. Read on for a few renovations with great potential for return and others that will have you throwing your money away.


Renovations to Consider:

Curb appeal

Making a great first impression is key when meeting new people. It’s equally important that your property makes a superb impression on prospective buyers. Many homebuyers form an idea of your property as they are first walking up to it, and this can be difficult to change. You don’t need to overspend on these aesthetic alterations, but simple attention to detail can really pay off. A fresh coat of paint for the front door is an inexpensive, eye-catching update. You’ll also want to invest in cleaning and maintaining the outdoor areas. Lawns should be mowed regularly and the yards kept clear of any debris. Seasonal plants can add color and interest, and outdoor lighting should be in working order. If you can make buyers feel at home before they enter the property, you’re on the right track.

Bathroom / Kitchen

Updated bathrooms have proven to be worthwhile investments, as well as updated kitchens. Modern fixtures and appliances catch the eyes of homebuyers who are often willing to spend a bit more on a home with these updates. Bathrooms are considered one of the more profitable updates, particularly within the master bathroom. The rate of return on an average bathroom remodel is about 75%. The kitchen is, of course, one of the most important spaces in a home for prospective buyers, so a moderate remodel is often a smart investment if the kitchen is outdated. Moderate is the key word here, as going overboard with your renovation can actually make it less effective. Studies show that a minor kitchen remodeling of about $18,000 will yield a better rate of return (86%) than a major remodel of around $55,000, which only yields about 83% back.


Newer, energy-efficient windows will lower the utility bill and are more eco-friendly. New windows convey to prospective buyers that the property is well-maintained and upgraded. However, switching to fancier windows in unique shapes doesn’t help your likelihood of a good return. Keep it simple, and you’ll increase your chances of appealing to buyers with varying tastes.

Repurposed spaces

By finishing spaces like the attic and basement, you add to the usable square footage in the home. Homebuyers are generally willing to pay for a home with less projects they have to do themselves. Like all of your renovations, moderation is key in order to make the investment worthwhile.


While repainting may not seem like a “renovation”, it’s an easy and effective way to update a space. Choosing a simple palette can help buyers see themselves in the home. Especially if the previous colors are ostentatious or overstimulating, repainting to a clean and simple color palette can do wonders. This is one of the easiest and least expensive changes you can make, and it’s also inexpensive for your buyer to alter later on should it not appeal to them.

Renovations to Avoid:

Swimming pool

Adding a swimming pool will rarely increase the value of a property enough to cover it’s installation costs, so this is an upgrade to skip over. Installation cost aside, many homebuyers may not want to deal with the upkeep of a pool (or other outdoor fixtures, like fountains) so cross these off your list when trying to increase your home’s value through renovations.

Home office

Although a home office may be an important space for some, renovating a room specifically for this purpose is not often a worthwhile investment. Keep your renovations simple so that they appeal to a wider audience of homebuyers. You want prospective buyers to be able to envision their own possibilities within the home.

Overly-upgraded spaces

There is a fine line between using quality materials and going over-the-top fancy with your renovating. Don’t skimp on quality, but try not to go overboard with overly-lavish renovations. Each renovated room should match the rest of the home. You also want your renovated home to be in keeping with the neighborhood. While outshining other properties may seem like a good thing, your remodel still needs to stay within the neighborhood’s market. Check local listings to see what the standard is in your neighborhood, and renovate accordingly.


The roof of your home is certainly important in its functionality, but you should only invest in the roof when it’s a necessity. When selling your property, often the return rate on a roof remodel is less than 60%. So unless the roof is in need of repair or replacement, focus your efforts elsewhere.

You always want to consider the housing market when renovating your property. Look at comps in your neighborhood so you understand the competition. Having an updated home can increase its value, but investing too much money in projects that aren’t valued by buyers is essentially throwing your money away. The key here is balance. Choose upgrades that are simple and universally attractive, focus on the areas that get the most attention from prospective buyers, and don’t skimp on quality. A few smart upgrades can really increase your returns, so choose the right projects and get started!

Tiempo Escrow, Inc.

2100 Main Street, Suite 330,

Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Phone. 714-843-0101