7 Home Renovations That Add Major Value, According to Real Estate Experts

Whether you’re preparing for a move or looking to update your home, remodeling can be a huge undertaking, so it’s important to know if the reward is worth it. Knowing what renovations will yield the highest return for the money is key so that when it comes time to sell, you can demand a higher price. Ultimately, you’ll want to make the best home improvements to add value to your home. Before you decide on a remodel project, evaluate its cost versus its value, and decide if the renovation you want to do is a worthy investment of your time and money. So what renovations offer the biggest impact on a home’s value? Six Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate experts weigh in on what projects are actually worth taking on. Here are the best home renovations for resale that will raise the value of your home.



1. Create an Addition

As your family grows, why shouldn’t your home? Consider building an addition to add major value to your home plus increase square footage. Maximize your investment by selecting the perfect materials and details to enhance your home’s value and character. “Any kind of physical expansion—whether it’s a new bedroom, an extension of a living room, or whatever space you desire—has a huge impact,” says Joe Rand, managing partner and general counsel at Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty. “If you can add square footage to a house, you always add value. Size matters!”


2. Redo Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of the home, so functionality is a top priority. Remodeling a kitchen can be exciting and satisfying, especially when it’s designed to meet your needs and desires. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s 2019 remodeling impact report, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 52% of the cost of a kitchen upgrade if they sell their home.

“Updating the kitchen with new appliances and bathrooms with new plumbing fixtures may seem trivial, but it’s a must,” says Brad Carlton, sales associate at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers. “Currently, there are many kitchen features that are trending in the Atlanta area, such as wine refrigerators, drawer-style microwaves and dishwashers, commercial-style ranges, and hidden outlets.”

Related: Kitchen Remodeling Planning Guide


3. Renovate a Bathroom

An updated bathroom is a major selling point for any home. When renovating, incorporate sleek surfaces for a sparkling space that makes cleaning a cinch. According to the same report by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 57% of the cost of a bathroom renovation if they sell their home.

“If a home has only one bathroom or at most a one and a half bathroom, adding a shower to a half bath, or adding a half bath to a living area for guests immediately improves the appraised value of a home,” says Jody Steinberg, realtor, LaVista Hills Team, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers.

Related: Ultimate Bathroom Planning Guide


4. Update Your Home’s HVAC

Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are the components that keep your home operating. These are some of the most critical items in your home to maintain. Plus, realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 85%  of the cost of a HVAC replacement if they sell their home.

“Buyers are often taken aback when upon inspection, a home’s heater, air conditioner, and roof, are found to be old or in poor shape,” says Derek Whitner, realtor, Team Whitner, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers. “Studies have shown that millennials are unwilling to overlook old mechanicals, even if the seller is offering a home warranty as a way to compensate for the age of these systems.”


5. Amplify Outdoor Living Space

Nothing beats the option of entertaining outdoors. An outdoor living space will make your home a relaxing destination for get-togethers and add major value. No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to update your backyard, porch, or patio.

“Tap the outdoors for extra living space,” says Mary Hutchison, senior sales executive, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes. “In the old days, just about everyone had a front porch or screened-in area to shade themselves from the Midwestern heat, and these classic features are still in demand. A screened-in porch or backyard patio—especially one that includes an outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill and small fridge—makes a wonderful additional entertaining area.”


6. Make Your Home More Accessible

Home renovations should be made with universal design principles in mind. That means creating a space for people of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities. Take careful inventory early in the planning process of all intended users’ capabilities, preferences, and tastes.

“If it is possible to make your home more accessible, your home will be more welcoming to guests, more marketable to the largest audience, and best of all, you will be able to age in place,” says Steinberg. “Do this by widening doorways, changing a main-level tub to a shower, and clearing a path to a stepless entrance (or by adding a door to the back or side of your house).”

7. Update Your Light Fixtures

One of the simplest home upgrades that provide added value to your home is lighting. You’ll be amazed by how well-placed pools of warm light can make your home inviting and user-friendly. Consider the design, as well as function, when choosing the right light fixtures for your rooms.

“Updated styles of interior and exterior light fixtures are readily available at big box stores and online retailers for a bit of pocket change,” says Robin Wolfram, realtor/designer at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate All Seasons-Rochester. “It can provide the big wow factor many homes would otherwise lack. If shopping online, be sure to look for any ‘open box’ pricing: an undamaged item that was returned simply because someone changed their mind.”

Is Your Shower Safe?

Ahh, the bathroom.  Very necessary in a home but also a place where many find peace, solace, relaxation, and sanctuary.  It is for this reason so many people spend so much money making their bathroom a reflection of what brings them their Zen.

When designing a bathroom, there is one massive factor that you need to keep in mind, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 235,000 people over age 15 visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom.  Roughly 14 percent are hospitalized.

More than a third of the injuries happen while bathing or showering, and an unbelievable 14% happen using the toilet.  Statistically women are twice as likely to have an injury in the bathroom and the injuries increase with age.

Your health and safety have to be a top priority in every decision you make. You are essential to so many people in so many ways.

There are things you can do which can make your bathroom a safer place without sacrificing the beauty of the room. Your bathroom can jump off the pages of Architectural Digest and be a safe haven, without it looking too clinical.

Safety features benefit all ages. If you are going to build or remodel a bathroom, here is a reminder of what you can do to reduce the risk of injury:

Remove Obstacles – One of the biggest risks for the clumsy or elderly is tripping over the side of their bathtub. Not everyone enjoys a bathtub, so Converting a Tub into a roomy Walk-in Shower can prevent this from occurring. Low threshold and no threshold showers allow for effortless entry and exit.

Essentials Accessibility – Make sure that soap, shampoo, conditioner, towels, and any other bathing items are within easy reach with built in shelving or accessory storage organizers.

Mount Grab Bars – Grab bars are indispensable for the elderly but also useful at any age.  They can be used for the shower, tub area and near the toilet to aid in getting on and off.

Improve Visibility – Daylight and light fixtures can set the mood and need to light the way at any time of day. Night lights illuminate the path from the bedroom to the bathroom and within the bathroom to reduce the chance of a fall or injury.

Non-Slip Surfaces – Skip the floor tiles with the high shine and opt for a tile with texture. Non-slip decals or a textured bathmat should be used in the tub and shower.  When choosing a mat for outside the shower and bath, non-skid is essential! Remove decorative scatter rugs, they are a slip and trip hazard waiting to happen.

Decrease the Heat -Make sure your hot water temperature is a maximum of 120 F to avoid scalding for every age.

Everyone is at Risk- while slips and falls effect the elderly, any age can be in danger whether it be a Tiptoe Toddler, a Tired Tween, a Mindful Millennial Great Aunt Ethel, or you.

Relax- take it easy – Installing a secure bathing seat is great for all ages, a safe place to sit down and shave your legs, scrub your feet, or to feel more secure. A raised seat for your toilet eases the up and down.

Now that we have inspired you with great ideas for your home, contact us and we can show you how easy it is to bring it in to your reality.


Phone: (732) 751-1111
Email: info@inspirehrd.com
Address: 392 Adelphia Rd Suite 100
Farmingdale, NJ 07727

Accent Walls Are In: The 8 Best Bathroom Trends to Try in 2020

We talked to industry experts to find out which bathroom trends, both big and small, will be popular in the new year.

The self-care and wellness movement continues to grow, and bathrooms are seeing the benefit. As these formerly utilitarian spaces become more personalized, acting as a spa-like retreat rather than simply a requisite room, we turned to industry experts to discover the top trends in bathroom design for 2020. If you’re ready to hit refresh on your bathroom heading into the new year, these eight ideas will inspire you to make this everyday space into a total sanctuary.

1. Accent Walls

Homeowners and designers are increasingly using accent walls to amp up interest in the bathroom. A 2019 trend report from Houzz revealed that more than one-third of renovating homeowners are now choosing to include an accent wall in their bathrooms. These can be used to liven up a neutral palette or help draw focus to a show-stopping feature, such as a soaking tub or custom vanity.

“Adding an accent wall provides a touch of elegance and sophistication to your bathroom,” says Gena Kirk, vice president of the corporate studio at KB Home. “Not only will it make your room interesting, but as an additional bonus, it may also protect the wall from moisture.” Outfitting a wall in pretty porcelain tiles, for example, creates an eye-catching (and durable) effect.

f you decide to add an accent wall to your bathroom, take careful consideration of which wall to showcase. Look to the features around or on the wall to help you decide. “A focal point should be interesting to look at, something colorful, or texturally and visually appealing,” Kirk says. “However, if you are selecting a busy pattern tile or bright colors, be sure the other walls are more subdued and complement the focal point wall [instead of] compete with it.” If you’re still not sure which wall is best, select the one directly in the line of sight from the door.

2. Freestanding Vanities

Personalization continues to be a top priority for homeowners, and freestanding vanities, with their furniture-like appeal, present a great opportunity to add a custom look.

“The recent trend in freestanding vanities follows a trend that we see across the building and remodeling market towards personalization,” says Kate Bailey, director of showrooms at Ferguson, a bath, kitchens, and lighting gallery. “The home is highly personal and homeowners want customizable fixtures to make their spaces reflect their personality and lifestyle.”

Updating your vanity is one of the quickest ways to change the look of your bathroom without undertaking an entire remodel. If you’re working with a small budget, freestanding vanities generally offer similar design options and storage choices as built-ins at a less expensive price point. Although you can find freestanding vanities in nearly every design style, Bailey notes increased interest in those with “clean, crisp lines in a variety of finishes that include white and dark wood, bright bold hues, and dramatic black or navy.” To customize your freestanding vanity even further, swap out the hardware with pulls in your favorite metallic finish, then accessorize the countertop with a pretty tray or vase.

3. Black Accents

Black is back in a big way for 2020. Though hardware and faucet finishes are one way to try this trend, we’re seeing a heavier use of this dramatic shade beyond these quick updates. Bold black accent walls, deep-hued vanities, and even black plumbing fixtures are on the rise, according to Lynn Schrage, interior designer at Kohler.

“Pairing matte black hardware and cabinets creates a pleasing punctuation within the bathroom space,” Schrage says. Used sparingly, black accents can provide a pop of contrast in a traditional white bathroom. When applied liberally, black accents help foster a moody, glamorous vibe.

4. Natural Tones and Textures

As homeowners seek to create a calming space, subtle natural hues are on the rise. “Shades that remind us of the calming effect of water and air are most popular in the bathroom,” says Sue Kim, color marketing manager at Valspar. “They create a spa-like retreat, a space for us to unwind and relax.”

Another reason for its popularity? “Neutral shades are common because they nicely accent shades of existing features,” Kim says. Natural materials like wood and marble blend beautifully with a wide range of color palettes. Whether you prefer a minimalist Scandinavian look, a rustic farmhouse vibe, or a traditional feel, natural tones and textures work well with a variety of design styles, too. To help modernize the space, incorporate a small dose of black to ground the look.

5. Double Vanities

In 2018, the median size of a new single-family home was 2,435 square feet. Compare that to 1973, when the median home size was 1525 square feet and it’s clear that new homes, including bathrooms, are bigger than ever. More space in master bathrooms means more opportunities for unique design elements, and homeowners are taking advantage of larger footprints by incorporating double vanities. “Since the master bath space is getting larger, most homeowners are opting for double sinks,” says Bailey of Ferguson.

While incorporating two sinks into one vanity is a popular choice, Bailey recommends splitting the vanities into two freestanding structures for a custom look. To add another element of personalization, customize the countertop heights to fit their primary user.

Although double sinks can reduce the amount of usable counter space, many manufacturers are now addressing that issue with creative storage solutions. Vanities outfitted with power outlets, full-extension drawers, and custom holders for grooming tools can help minimize clutter and make the most of limited space.

6. Large Showers

When space allows, homeowners are saying goodbye to the shower-bath combo, instead opting for a walk-in shower and an equally luxurious tub situation. “Overall, consumers see value in separating the bathtub and shower and opt to include a large soaker tub in their master bathrooms,” says Kirk of KB Home.

As the size of bathrooms continues to grow, many homeowners are also opting to expand their showers. In fact, more than four out of five homeowners who separate the shower and tub also choose to enlarge the shower, according to data from Houzz. That larger shower area presents ample opportunity for introducing customization and spa-like extras. Add an element of luxury with built-in storage niches or a teak bench lined with pampering products.

7. Round Mirrors

Thanks to tile, flooring, and woodwork, bathrooms tend to be dominated by hard lines. To break up all the sharp angles, homeowners and designers are increasingly choosing round mirrors over rectangular ones. The circular shape helps bring softness and visual contrast into the functional space.

“Choosing a round mirror also creates a more modern look and a relaxed, calming vibe,” says designer Kathy Kuo. “Plus, the round shape helps focus the light and your eye for completing tasks, like putting on your makeup or your nightly routine.”

Kuo says a round mirror works for pedestal sinks and single and double vanities alike. For double vanities, she suggests using an oval shape to allow more space between the mirrors. “However you decide to go, the proportions should look purposeful,” she says. “Avoid mirrors with diameters that are just short or long of the width of your sink.” If you’re unsure about the size, consider selecting an oversize option so the height of the mirror can accommodate people of various heights.


8. Spa-Inspired Luxuries

With more and more options for eco-friendly products and connected solutions, advances in technology are making it easier than ever to create a spa-like experience at home. “Many consumers are gravitating toward designs focused on creating a feeling of extreme comfort or a soothing retreat,” says Lori Marks, senior product manager of showering at Moen. “The bathroom is the room where you start your day and wind down for the night, so it’s only natural that spa-like qualities would be integrated into this space.”

Many manufacturers are introducing ways to bring that luxury experience home at a variety of price points. “From voice-activated shower systems to showerheads that offer a spa-like experience, it’s possible to transform your space no matter your budget,” Marks says.

Personalize your shower experience with a smart outlet controller that uses voice commands or an app to start the water and adjust it to your desired temperature. Or install a showerhead that features massaging rollers or produces an overhead rainfall effect for a pampered feeling every time you shower.