Improvements to increase your Portland-area home’s value generally fall into two categories: boosting the resale value and increasing the livability of the home for your own use. When you start the process of deciding what kinds of upgrades you will tackle, you’ll need decide which of those factors is your main motivator. The types of changes you make to your home will be driven by your motivation.
As illustrated by Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, not many major upgrades will return more than the amount of money you put into them. Does that mean you’ll skip projects such a major kitchen remodel or addition of a master suite because the return on investment for such upgrades is calculated at less than 70 percent? Not necessarily. If your family needs the extra living space that the suite would provide or the lifestyle improvements that come with a redesigned kitchen, then your spending should be considered an investment in an improved lifestyle. Along with that immediate benefit, your home also will increase in value upon resale — just not by as many dollars as you spent on the work.
But if you’re planning to move soon and want to make changes that will directly affect how much a buyer will pay, there are many projects, both little and large, that you could consider. Start first by talking with a real estate agent for input on the kinds of upgrades the buyers in your area are looking for. You also should consider hiring a home inspector to point out hidden problems such as a failing roof or shifting foundation that a prospective buyer might ask you to correct. In general, the kitchen still heads the list of spaces that buyers want to see in top shape. Bathrooms also are important, as is the curb appeal of your house. A buyer will pay more for a home that feels move-in-ready.
Here’s a list of lower-cost improvements that would boost the resale value of your home without a large investment of money.
- Give a room a fresh coat of paint. It’s a quick and inexpensive way of improving its look. Whatever your own taste in colors, stick to a neutral palette to avoid turning off a buyer.
- Remove any popcorn ceiling texture that survived from the ’70s. This is another job that a do-it-yourselfer can handle. Just be sure to first submit samples to a testing company to make sure the “popcorn” doesn’t contain asbestos, as it might have even after the 1978 Clean Air Act banned asbestos in ceiling treatments.
- Replace the backsplash tile in your kitchen or regrout around the tiles in your kitchen and bathroom. This will definitely freshen things up.
- Keep your house clean and embark on a serious dejunking campaign. Your real estate agent — and buyers — will thank you.
- Pull out old carpeting — which can get worn-looking and stale-smelling — and install hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring that’s easier to keep clean.
- Focus on your home’s curb appeal by planting flowers or a well-placed tree and making cosmetic improvements to the exterior of the house.
The 2018 Cost vs. Value Report for the Portland area actually does contain some larger home improvements that are calculated to give you close to or more than a 100 percent return on your investment.
- Upscale garage door replacement: average cost of $3,504, resale value of $4,581, for a 130.7 percent return on investment.
- Manufactured stone veneer added to the exterior: $8,203 cost, $10,540 resale value, 128.5 percent return.
- New siding: $15,577 cost, $15,344 resale value, 98.5 percent return.
- Conversion of a bathroom to universal design: $17,257 cost, $16,951 resale value, 98.2 percent return.