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Home Additions that Add Value

By Derren Peters

Home additions can be categorized in two ways. There's the aesthetic ones straight off your personal wish list ? marble floors, granite countertops, a Jacuzzi ? and the more practical upgrades ? installing windows with better insulation, replacing a leaky roof. And while the price you pay for these additions won't always correlate with an increase in home value, there are some additions that translate favorably in the long term.

By most measures, kitchens are rated as the most important room for potential buyers viewing a home. Replacing older-model stoves, microwaves and refrigerators with newer ones can drastically change the kitchen's appearance. Basic upgrades to floor tiles, counter tops, and cabinets also make a big difference.

Adding an extra bathroom or two is on the expensive side, but it's coveted enough that much of the expenses will come back your way in the added home value. Full bathrooms (with a shower) pay off more than half bathrooms, and bathrooms in the basement and master bedroom (if one wasn't already present) are also solid investments. Increasing your functional space will hold value longer than making an aesthetic change. Turning a basement or attic into a rec room or bedroom is wise, as is any upgrade that adds functional, living space to your home. Swimming pools, nice as they may be in the summertime, typically don't add any value, and often wind being filled in by new owners. The cost of upkeep, and the specter of injuries (and liability) often scare people off.

The trend of going "green" has impacted real estate. Consider "greening" your property with cost and energy-efficient lightbulbs and appliances. One of the more effective upgrades is also one of the simplest. A relatively small investment in a new coat of paint for the entire house can make a difference, especially when showing your home to potential buyers.

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