Not-So-Extreme Home Makeovers |

Not-So-Extreme Home Makeovers

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Everywhere you turn these days you can see homeowners renovating their property. Perhaps it’s because of the historically low interest rates available right now. Or maybe it’s all the home improvement shows on television. Or perhaps its simply because home values have been soaring and people are investing in their most valuable asset.

Whatever the reason, Truckee-Tahoe area homeowners are spending record amounts to improve their properties through additions and remodeling.

While property values over time are determined by many factors, the care and upkeep of a property is certainly a crucial element toward getting top dollar when it comes time to sell. But what is the right work to do in order to get the best return?

Whether you are planning on adding more rooms to create extra space, upgrading your kitchen with new appliances or are just thinking of putting your home on the market, here are some home improvement tips that might increase the value of your home.

Kitchen Makeovers: Out of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen is the most popular to remodel. According to Remodeling Magazine, money spent to upgrade a kitchen produces the highest return on investment. “Hot” kitchen makeover trends include adding dual sinks, cooking stations, extra-long dishwashers, under-cabinet lighting, warming ovens and wine coolers.

Bathroom Fixer-Uppers: Upgrading a bathroom is also a sound choice and will usually provide a significant return on investment. Large bathrooms are typically on the top of the list of priorities for those seeking to purchase a home. Adding skylights, glass block windows, ceiling fans and sunken whirlpool baths are also attractive selling features. If you don’t have the room to expand or to accommodate larger appliances, or you don’t think you’ll be living in your home long enough to enjoy the changes and/or see a return on this kind of investment, stick with neutral, mid-builder level updated cabinetry, refreshed flooring and shower/tub, or a new sink and toilet.

Room to Grow: Adding a room or two, such as a spare bedroom or a study, is a significant home improvement that you will be able to take advantage of every day. In addition to the much-needed extra space, it can also potentially provide you with a good return on your investment when it comes to selling the property.

Landscaping the Lot: A professionally landscaped yard can certainly increase the “curb appeal” or desirability of a home. In fact, beautifying your lawn can be one of the most inexpensive home improvements. Additional simple landscaping projects include trimming and edging the grass, manicuring the trees and shrubs to open up the view of the house, removing any dead plants and planting flowers to brighten up the yard.

Repair Jobs: While many homeowners may want to update and remodel their kitchen, if the roof needs fixing or the chimney has to be repointed, then they should prioritize these necessary repairs over any cosmetic changes. These essential repairs must be taken care of before they cause the house to lose value. As soon as you notice a problem, fix it since this will help avoid a larger expense later on.

Cosmetic Touch-Ups: A paint job, new double-paned windows and new carpeting will increase the price of a house virtually dollar-for-dollar. Neutral colored paint and eliminating clutter can make a world of difference. However, don’t go overboard with home improvement projects that will push a house too much above the current average value of homes in your neighborhood. You do not want to price yourself out of the market.

Home Improvement Professionals For Hire: Whether you need an architect, gardener, interior designer or contractor, it is always important to do a background check prior to hiring a professional. Get references from family or friends and interview them. The most important quality to look for is trust, not initial price. Your local Realtor can often provide referrals.

Funding Options: There are a number of options for property owners looking to upgrade their homes, including a cash-out refinance, a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage. Contact your local bank, mortgage lender or Realtor for current interest rates and mortgage prices, repayment options, and professional mortgage advice.

Daunielle Cutting is the manager of Coldwell Banker Northern California’s Tahoe/Truckee region. E-mail her at

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