Home Owner Tips SpringCheck out the best home improvement projects with the highest resale value, even if you don’t plan to sell.

There’s something about warmer temperatures and brighter sunshine that make homeowners think and dream about two special words: home improvement. Spring is a popular time to plan and implement remodeling and renovation projects in order to create extra space or spruce up existing rooms.

And because we provide home equity loans to so many of our customers, we often get asked the question, “What home improvements will increase the value of our home?” Even if you don’t ever plan to put your home on the market, it doesn’t hurt to know what will help increase the selling price, and what makes selling more difficult.

So as you tackle those spring home improvement projects, take a look at what will add value to your home in the long run (and what won’t).

Bigger bang for your buck

Kitchens. Whether it’s a complete renovation or just an upgrade, better function and livability goes a long way. And a dated kitchen screams “more money” to potential buyers. Go for up-to-date appliances, modern conveniences and contemporary styles. Kitchen improvements add value – especially in older homes.

Bathrooms. Outdated bathrooms are a buzzkill. By updating fixtures and surfaces, and replacing tubs, showers, toilets and cabinets, you can see a return of up to twice the amount you spend on the project.

Landscaping. Take advantage of free classes at local garden centers to learn about landscaping trends, designs and techniques (plus you’ll probably get discounts for future purchases). You’ll also get a good idea of where to start. Clean up overgrown bushes or trees, create focal points and clean lines, and invest in new walkways, water elements or other hardscapes that will accentuate the architecture and create outdoor ambiance.

Exterior improvements. A new garage door, paint, vinyl siding or an updated entry can make a huge difference to the appearance of your home. And the average resale can be up to 95 percent. Additional updates can include lighting, pergolas, columns and fencing.

Other tips? Make sure that any changes you make to your house fit in with the general style of your neighborhood. In other words, if you are surrounded by two-bedroom patio homes, adding a second story with two more bedrooms won’t fit in, and might be a turn off.

Lower Value Projects

Awkward add-ons. Sure, transforming your back porch into a family room sounds awesome, but if it means your kitchen window now overlooks a game room, or the flow from room to room is choppy, it won’t be a hit with potential buyers.

A swimming pool. Having a pool at your disposable just steps away might be your dream, but it will be a hindrance during the selling process (unless you’re in a warmer climate, like California or Florida). For families with young children, it’s a safety hazard.

Over-the-top upgrades. You might be a serious foodie and take cooking very seriously, but upgrading your kitchen to a tune of $50,000 will not serve you well if your home is worth $200,000. Luxury feels good, but adding decadent rooms or features to an average-priced home just won’t pay off in the end.

Of course it’s your home, and you should create the environment that suits you and your family. And if a home equity loan will help you get there, we are here to help. By making smart home improvements that not only help create the home of your dreams, but also set you up for a great return on your investment, you’ll fall in love all over again with your home – regardless of the season.