Making upgrades to raise the value in your house often is a two-part thought process: now (while living in it) and someday (when selling it).
The first part is difficult to measure. How much is feeling good in your home worth? We’re guessing it’s a lot, but each of us must answer that question for ourselves.
There are groups out there who pay a lot of attention to the second part, to try to put real numbers on the value of certain upgrades and reno projects to your ability to sell your house for max dollar.
Realtors, for one. They get inside the houses, hear the musts and wishes, complaints and are-you-kidding-mes of buyers as they tour the housing market, seeing what’s hot and what’s not in home designs.
We’ve sifted through that research to see where wood flooring fits into the mix of what upgrades make the biggest impact for homeowners and buyers.
Prioritizing Home Renovations
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed its realtor members in 2015, to gather info on the most popular upgrades and renovations, and what gets the biggest bang for the buck.
From NAR’s Remodeling Impact Report:
“When looking at the interior projects that yield the biggest financial results upon resale, Realtors ranked hardwood flooring refinishes (100 percent of project cost recovered upon resale), insulation upgrades (95 percent recovered), new wood flooring (91 percent recovered), and converting a basement to a living area (69 percent recovered) as projects to consider.”
A personal finance article in USA Today looked at 11 features home buyers are willing to pay for.
“When it comes to certain interior features, many are willing to spend thousands of dollars above the price of the home to have them included,” the article says. “At least 60% of buyers said they would be willing to pay more for central air conditioning, new kitchen appliances and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom if they did not already have these features.”
As much as it might pain us wood flooring experts to say it, wood flooring ranked fifth on that list of 11. But we get it. Having new kitchen appliances, a walk-in master closet and granite countertops feel luxurious, too.
Ranking below wood flooring: en suite master bath, kitchen island, stainless steel appliances, age of home is less than five years, eat-in kitchen and one or more fireplaces.
Forbes took a different approach, spotlighting “6 Things You Think Add Value To Your Home - But Really Don't.”
The list of six:
- Swimming pools
- Overbuilding for the neighborhood
- Extensive landscaping
- High-end updgrades (e.g. stainless steel appliances)
- Invisible improvements (e.g. HVAC)
- Wall-to-wall carpeting
“Removing carpeting and restoring wood floors is usually a more profitable investment,” the Forbes article says. “Homeowners frequently must choose between an improvement that they would really love to have (the in-ground swimming pool) and one that would prove to be a better investment.”
Measuring Renovation Success
The NAR report looked at how consumers felt about their investments after completing certain home upgrades.
Consumers’ Viewpoint After Completing a New Wood Flooring Project:
- Top reason for doing the project? 52 percent say to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials. (12 percent say it simply was time for a change.)
- Most important result? 24 percent say it’s better function and livability, with durability (23 percent) and beauty (22 percent) close behind.
- 77 percent of homeowners have a greater desire to be home since completing the project. 65 percent have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home. 73 percent have a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project.
- 19 percent of realtors have suggested sellers add new wood flooring before attempting to sell, and five percent said the project most recently helped cinch a deal for them, resulting in a closed sale.
- Percent of value recovered from a new wood flooring project: 91 percent.
Consumers’ Viewpoint After Completing a Hardwood Floor Refinishing Project:
- Top reason for doing the project? 40 percent say to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials. 25 percent say they recently moved into home and wanted to customize it.
- Most important result? 23 percent say beauty and aesthetics.
- 82 percent of homeowners have a greater desire to be home since completing the project. 67 percent have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home. 76 percent have a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project.
- 39 percent of realtors have suggested sellers refinish their hardwood floors before attempting to sell, and 5 percent said the project most recently helped cinch a deal for them, resulting in a closed sale.
- Percent of value recovered from a hardwood floor refinishing project: 100 percent.
Home renovations feel good. Sometimes they are more for the feel-good now than for the return in the market later. Sometimes they get to be both.
If you're curious about hardwood flooring, check out our Ultimate Guide to Hardwood Flooring or reach out to our team - call us at 303-375-0280 or visit us at our showroom at 12875 E. 42. Ave., in Denver.