Top 20 Extras People Want to See When Buying a New Home


1. New siding

2. New window trim

3. New bay window

4. New front entry door

5. New garage door

6. Arched pass-through to dining room

7. French doors to deck off dining room

8. Built in cabinets in dining room

9. Entertainment center in living room

10. New gas fireplace

11. Pop out wall for breakfast nook

12. New garden window in bathroom

13. Whirlpool tub

14. Twin bathroom sinks

15. Open staircase to refinished attic

16. Built in closets in bedroom

17. Entertainment center in bedroom

18. French doors to new deck with spa off bedroom

19. Window seats with bookshelves

20. Garage work space


Which remodels make the best resale investment?

Evaluation of resale return always leads to potential problems. Some think the numbers are too high, others say they are too low. The key to resale value is the location of the work. Are homes in the neighborhood losing value, increasing in value or maintaining their value? Resale is always higher in those areas that are increasing in value, even if that increase is due merely to the improvements themselves.


Interior Updating

Resale value 90-150%

New is nice. Outdated or worm carpet, wallpaper, paint, light fixtures, window treatments, hardware and clutter give the consumer little ability to visualize. It’s hard to do wrong putting money here.


Kitchen Updating

Resale value 80-120%

What century is this kitchen? Update cabinets, floor covering, counter tops, appliances, light fixtures and hardware. Lower costs give highest return in entry level.


Exterior Paint

Resale value 80-120%

Color choices that reflect market taste, detailing in key areas, drop cloths and masking tape. Labor is 80% of cost.


Second Bath

Resale value 70-100%

New ¾ baths (minimum) placed in appropriate location in house give appraiser’s tangible value upgrade.

Bath Update

Resale value 70-100%

Interior surfaces that are bright and clean and new make a positive statement. Keep fixtures where appropriate to minimize investment.



Resale value 65-125%

Gas log leads list in current popularity, consider timer or remote control. Cosmetics around the fireplace are usually what increase value in money invested.

Entry Area

Resale value 65-120%

New door and hardware (including dead bolt and knocker) and fresh paint make a good first impression.




Resale value 50-100%

Cedar or redwood creates a high-end look. Stairs, railing, searing areas and planters offer design location to enhance function and appearance. Trex brand is a polymer plastic mixed with wood that never rots. Trex is 4x the green-treated lumber cost.


3 Season Porch

Resale value 50-90%

Fit the house’s look and style and keep material costs in check.



Resale value 50-90%

Additional light makes dramatic impact. Open up chase to broaden “throw” of light. Negative impact can be large source of heat loss.



Resale value 50-85%

A first floor family room is the most popular addition in America. Kitchen additions are a close second.

New Garage

Resale value 50-80%

Homes in older areas may need them. Generic is most cost effective. Packages are available. Matching the look of the existing house can double the cost of project.


New Windows

Resale value 40-80%

Sash replacement is common in pre-1950’s homes because of energy concerns, functionality and lead paint. Repair existing windows in period style homes to maintain architectural purity. Bow or bay windows open up visual lines. One egress window is needed in the basement and one in each bedroom with a 5.7 square foot net clear opening.


Finished Attic

Resale value 30-75%

Permits make costs soar if they require upsized floor joists. Note egress requirements. 2x6 floor structure usually with 2x8 code requirement.


Finished Basement

Resale value 25-50%

Below grade space has a surprisingly low return. Dry with ceiling clearance is an attractive potential. Walk outs typically have a 60-80% return on your investment.


New Furnace

Resale value 20-50%

Energy efficiency is good for occupant. Old gravity “octopus” can be frightfully expensive.



Resale value 20-50%

See it as home maintenance to take the sting out of the return. Tear off is bulk of expense. Appraisers don’t add value to Timberline, 3-tab, or more expensive shingle styles. A total benefit to the curb appeal can help you in the resale.



Resale value 15-40%

80% of cost is labor. Do it yourself to save. $250 added value to the typical home. Landscaping of your home should be done right before selling for best look.


Information from Remodel Magazine and ProSource Education