Home Remodel Profit Playbook

Knowing what home remodel choices boost your house value is more important than ever when you plan your upcoming renovation job. Our homes have been the focal point of significant change and reevaluation, and buyer priorities are very different in 2023 than they were a few years ago.

For instance, features like outdoor areas and home offices are now highly desired. We’ve considered all the current design and buyer trends. This post is regularly updated, so make sure to bookmark it. And contact us to discuss any of the recommendations.

For you to make wiser home remodeling decisions, we’ve put together this list of intelligent renovations that will maximize your ROI.

Inflation has made it critical to make calculated decisions when doing a home remodel. All building materials have skyrocketed in price, including roofing, piping, lumber, and electrical wire.

Know Your Buyer

The first step is knowing your home’s ideal buyer persona. Is your home in one of the few areas with outstanding public elementary schools like Encino (Lanai Rd Elementary) or Laurel Canyon (Wonderland Elementary)? That may be a significant factor for a family with younger children.

On the other hand, if your home has multiple levels, a panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles, and only decks, it may be suitable for someone in the industry who is dating and wants relaxed sophistication.

Now that you know your home’s ideal buyer persona, it’s time to choose a design inspiration point that will guide your home remodel progress. You must consider your home’s existing architectural style, location, and features.

Find a Design Waypoint

For example, if your home is Spanish and has a tile roof and smooth stucco, then don’t fight it. It will be too expensive to change styles completely. Instead, find home improvement design inspiration harmonious with your home’s features.

Add Square Footage

Although buyers generally value space, they have recently expressed a need for even more than they already have. NAHB polled 3,247 current and upcoming home buyers of diverse ages, income levels, geographic locations, and racial and ethnic compositions for its study. More space and a 2-car garage were top priorities.

Space makes sense considering more families are working from home at least some of the time.

If the main home is less than 2,000 square feet, consider converting the garage into an ADU or JADU. Los Angeles has been making it increasingly easy to get permits for these “granny units,” which can easily add 400 to 600 square feet of permitted living space.

Review other homes in your neighborhood to see if they have converted garages to ADUs. If they have and the buyer reception is positive, it may be worth trading the garage for the square footage. In neighborhoods like Westwood, having an ADU instead of a garage is very popular with buyers.

Create or Renovate a Home Office

According to data from Global Workplace Insights, people working from home have increased by 159% since 2009. A home office was listed as the top priority for buyers in their market by 60% of leading real estate professionals, receiving a greater response rate than any other feature or quality of a house.

More than whether a home is move-in ready or has specific square footage, buyers are interested in a home office.

If you live where many individuals telecommute, setting aside new space in a home remodel to serve as a home office is a wise investment. A home office increases a property’s resale value. This amount may be much higher as Americans become more accustomed to working remotely.

Innovative solutions include converting a walk-in closet into a usable office or, for a higher price, constructing an addition or backyard ADU (accessory dwelling unit) to make space for one.

We recently began remodeling a home in Bell Canyon with only three bedrooms. We had to devise a solution to incorporate a solid home office setup that made sense. One solution is to build a home office in the garage. Garage offices can work well even in pricey neighborhoods like Pacific Palisades. Instead of converting the garage to an ADU, have the garage built out with epoxy floors, custom storage, and a built-in office.

In our case, we had a primary bedroom that was very long, like a rectangle. Half the room was essentially unused. We could have designed a seating area that nobody would ever use, but instead, we built a wall and door and created a home office!

That’s a bonus tip; feel free to ADD walls when it makes sense.

Create Open Spaces

Open plans are still popular because individuals want to spend time with their families and entertain. It is possible to create the spacious layout many purchasers desire during a home remodel by removing the appropriate wall.

According to the NAHB poll, 79% of buyers prefer an open plan between the kitchen and the family room, and 70% prefer an open layout. 85% of buyers desire an open design between the kitchen and dining room.

Even though an open floor plan lets in warm natural light, consult a contractor and architect before getting your sledgehammer out. The NAHB emphasizes that a house still needs structural support and a clear separation of spaces.

As we move into the tips and tricks on home renovations that modify the aesthetics of your home, remember this: the more significant the visual change, the bigger the ROI. Consider new exterior paint or garage doors (discussed below). These renovations undoubtedly offer the highest return on investment dollar.

Nail the Curb Appeal

Before a buyer ever enters your home, curb appeal draws their attention. First, sophisticated, native landscaping suggests you care for your house. Buyers will spend materially more on average for a home with exceptional curb appeal than one with a neglected exterior.

You don’t have to hire an expensive landscape designer if you’re on a budget. Many Los Angeles neighborhood gardeners can access the plants, stones, and guys needed for a significant landscape makeover. But you need to have a vision and take them aside to discuss because they won’t suggest these edits.

Stone Veneer Accents

Designing new homes with a mixture of siding and stone has become trendy. It’s a great look that adds visual interest and elegance to your home. Think board and batten vertical wood siding in a dark slate with neutral stone accent sections. If you upgrade the exterior during your home renovation, consider adding stone.

Black Steel Doors and Windows

Black steel doors and windows are a beautiful and sophisticated home remodel addition that can make a massive difference in the vibe of your home. These doors and windows have an old Hollywood feel. If your budget allows replacing doors and windows, check out PINKYS in Vernon, CA. They make stunning steel doors and windows. A word of caution, do not replace your windows with Home Depot white vinyl.

iron windows and doors home remodel
Iron doors and windows

Wood Garage Door

New custom wood garage doors like these from Dyer’s in West Hills significantly impact the look of your home. When viewed from the street, your garage doors can take up much of your home’s visual real estate.

Update your house numbers and mailbox.
Believe it or not, little details like this catch customers’ eyes. Make it part of your next home remodel. Buyers think, “OK, what does the interior look like if they can’t even fix a mailbox.”
A robust finish, ready-to-install standard-size steel mailbox from Gibraltar Mailboxes costs around $25. A craftsman mailbox and post set from Postal PRO cost roughly $60 if you need a base. In terms of home numbers, black 4-inch aluminum nail-on numbers start at around $2.50 per digit.

Retouch or Repaint your exterior.
Even if you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have to repaint the entire house to make it appear brand new. Paint the front door and trim, or touch up any flaking or damaged paint.

Build a Deck During Home Remodel

A deck or patio is the typical mainstay of a home’s backyard living space. It’s a spot to eat, drink, have fun, or spend some time working outside. If your home is tight on entertaining outdoor space because of a hillside, consider adding a large deck extending over the hillside. A deck is significantly less expensive than an infinity pool, yet if done right can appeal to buyers and expand your useable backyard.

Build Outdoor Fireplace/Firepit

A fire pit was one of the top priorities by 54% surveyed regarding the amenities buyers prefer to see in an outdoor area. Even as the evenings grow chilly, this offers a cozy setting for friends and family to get together. According to a different survey, outdoor fireplaces have gained value since March 2020.

Add a Pool and/or Hot Tub

Are you on the fence about putting in a pool? In the last few years, the ROI of this project has increased, which may help you justify the expense if you can fit it into a pool-building company’s busy schedule.

From pre-COVID to 2021, the dollar worth a pool adds to a property increased by 69%, resulting in an average price difference of $27,199 between homes with and without pools. Again it depends on your neighborhood. A swimming pool is often a top buyer priority in the Valley but less so in the Westside, like Santa Monica or Hollywood Hills.

Bonus tip, don’t build an outdoor kitchen. They are expensive and don’t produce ROI.

Kitchens and Bathrooms Home Remodel

Kitchens and bathrooms, according to all real estate agents, are essential selling points. Making aesthetic changes in these spaces might give prospective buyers a breath of relaxation rather than doing financial calculations.

Replace Fixtures

A room gets a fresh, coordinated look from new kitchen and bathroom faucets and pulls. This inexpensive change can significantly impact purchasers since everything feels brand new.

Try oil-rubbed bronze fixtures if your home has more traditional lines or brushed nickel and matte-type stainless steel fixtures for a contemporary look.

Take on Smaller Home Remodel Projects

According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value analysis for 2022, a small kitchen remodels that include updating cabinet fronts, countertops, and appliances costs around $26,200 but nets back roughly $18,900 at resale. In comparison to recovering around 56% of costs for a significant kitchen renovation, it represents a 71% ROI.

Do not install granite countertops. Go with marble countertops instead. Marble is a classic and timeless countertop. You can refinish marble countertops, which cost slightly more than manufactured quartz.

Save your money by avoiding hot towel racks, heated floors, frameless glass enclosures, and body spray fixtures. The solution is new standard fittings and tile floors.

Consider painting your cabinets to update them while saving even more money.

Refinish hardwood floors instead of replacing them. If you replace the flooring, choose hardwood over carpet unless there’s a good reason, like a closet where carpet would be a style accent.

And don’t use “luxury vinyl” flooring. It’s cheap plastic sheets with a sticker on top that looks cheap and can be easily damaged. Instead, install solid hardwood flooring. It is marginally more expensive than vinyl, is timeless, and will produce buyer ROI when you sell.

Light, neutral wall colors make for a fantastic resale palette since purchasers can picture their items in the area.

They also assist in making your house appear its finest in internet listings and images. The cheapest thing you can do that adds so much value is paint.

Keep old systems that are functional, like HVAC and water heaters. New HVAC and water heaters are lovely to discover during inspections but aren’t a selling feature. It’s also hard to negotiate credit over a system that’s beyond its expected life but is still functional. The seller’s agent will point to the home warranty or say it’s working fine and doesn’t need replacement.

Replace old bathroom toilets and vanities and retile old showers and bath areas. A new tile backsplash can completely transform the look of a kitchen. Tile is an intelligent remodeler’s best friend.

When deciding which improvements to make to your property, consider whether doing so will make it more appealing to a buyer as a location to buy. Are there areas of the house that are decades old? You may concentrate there.

Do you need the contemporary conveniences and amenities a remote worker would require to juggle work, family, and leisure? It’s time to build a deck or home office into a garage.
Would the update make life easier or make people happy with the beauty of new, contemporary materials? The cost recovery will rely on your market and choice of the appropriate styles, but it is a safe bet. When in doubt, consult a local real estate expert who can advise you on local trends before moving forward with your renovation plans.

Buyers don’t have the vision to realize what it could look like after some simple home renovations. You want them to think, “You know what? There is nothing we need to change about this house. It’s perfect.”