Every year, trade magazine Remodeling releases a “Cost vs Value” report, which lets consumers know how much return on their investment they can expect from different home improvement projects.
In the 2020 report, for example, installing manufactured stone veneer on a home’s exterior is projected to cost a national average of $9,357. Meanwhile, the homeowner is expected to gain $8,943 in resale value, recouping 95.6 percent of the project’s cost. According to the report, adding a stone veneer is the project that leads the way this year in terms of cost vs. value. Upscale major renovations of kitchens or bathrooms, meanwhile, recoup only 55 percent and 53.9 percent of their cost, respectively.
But not all home improvement projects can be measured solely in terms of resale value. Improvements that make your home more functional or livable can add value to your life, if not your finances. Here are five home projects with value you can’t measure simply in dollars.
1. Finishing the basement
A finished basement actually does provide some resale value because it adds living space, but having a finished basement might also improve a household’s quality of life. It could provide a children’s playroom, a family movie room, or game room.
Adding dedicated spaces that don’t exist in the rest of the house is very functional. Visit any family home with a permanent spot for children to play, and you’re likely to see a lot less “kid stuff” scattered around the rest of the house. Eliminating children’s clutter can make life easier for those who are constantly picking up after their kids.
2. Re-do the laundry room
Nobody is going to buy a home because they fall in love with the laundry room, so remodeling one isn’t going to bring a ton of monetary value.
But it is a place where you must get work done. If you have a large family, you probably spend quite a bit of time in there. It helps to have a counter for folding, bins for sorting loads, and shelves or cabinets that hold supplies. It’s not likely to ever become some kind of oasis in your home, but a better-working laundry room can make life a little easier.
3. Organize the closets
Closets are another one of those things that are an afterthought when a home is purchased. As long as there are enough of them, you don’t really care what’s inside of them.
Your standard wire shelves and rods can seem woefully inefficient when compared to a closet that that’s been put together by a professional. Closet companies have ways to make use of space high and low and can add things like cubbies, shelves, and drawers. Getting better use out of your closet space means you’ll have more room to put things.
4. Add lighting
You might not even realize it, but if your house is on the dark or dreary side, you can come to resent having to spend time in it. A dark house can wear on your psyche.
Fortunately, adding lighting doesn’t have to be super-expensive. Recessed can lights, for example, might cost as little as $10 apiece. In an existing home, a professional electrician might have to install them, but it’s not a budget-busting project.
To add even more light, you could consider putting in transoms or replacing existing windows with larger ones. Natural light especially brightens a place up.
5. Create a drop zone area or mudroom
Do you ever find yourself coming home, walking through the door, and just dumping stuff on the kitchen counter or dining-room table? Do your kids come in from outside and just drop their things wherever?
Creating a dedicated “drop zone” or mudroom near an entrance gives you a way to avoid dumping stuff where it shouldn’t be. Coat hooks, cubbies, and counters near entryways add function by providing a proper place for things.
When you’re considering home improvement projects, it will always make sense to pay attention to the dollar costs and potential for resale value. But also consider there are projects that can improve your quality of life by improving a home’s functionality.
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