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Five Value-Add Renovation Areas That Nobody Talks About

It’s not a secret that remodeled kitchens and bathrooms usually add significant value to a property; however, the total value is really about the overall package. Here are five things to consider when proceeding with your next real estate project, each of which can help you increase the value of your property even further:

  1. First Impressions. We recommend keeping the design aspect simple so that the buyer can imagine their future space as they prefer it. As Barbara Corcoran said: “Buyers decide in the first 8 seconds of seeing a home if they’re interested in buying it. Get out of your car, walk in their shoes and see what they see within the first 8 seconds.” (Source: BrainyQuote)

    A few things to note:

    Landscaping. Depending on the neighborhood, it doesn’t always make sense to hire a landscape architect or to maintain the pre-existing landscaping. Your local home improvement store will have plenty of ideas for you. Refresh the aesthetic by introducing new shrubs, while removing ones that are less visually appealing. You may even be able to get trees planted on the property for free through a local municipal program or non-profit. In other cases, you may want to remove the lawn completely and replace it with gravel, moss, or flower and shrub beds. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s much easier to maintain!

    Exterior. If you need to replace the vinyl siding, consider upgrading to a manufactured stone veneer or fiber cement. Otherwise, make sure you give the home a power wash (but don’t power wash your siding!)

    Entryway. Is the front door freshly painted? Do the porch lights work? Are the house numbers clearly visible from the street and large enough for motorists driving by? Does the storm door need to be replaced? Is there an inviting space for people entering the house to hang their coat and place their belongings? If not, you have a little work to do.

  2. Smart Thermostats. As people are becoming ever-conscious of their ecological footprint, smart homes are becoming increasingly popular. One way to upgrade a property could be to upgrade to a more tech-focused thermostat such as Ecobee or Nest. These allow you to control your home’s temperature from your phone, and have sensors which determine temperature and occupancy to help residents both conserve energy and save money. These are a simple yet great way to enhance a property’s appeal, at a similar cost to traditional thermostats.

  3. Lighting, lighting, lighting. While this is especially important for properties which do not receive ample natural sunlight, you can never go wrong with too many lights. Installing energy-saving LED lights throughout hallways, bathrooms, staircases, and even some closets is key. Perhaps some recessed lighting in the living and dining rooms with dimmer options will add warmth and a different dimension. Good lighting is also key in basements, which are much more inviting when well lit.

  4. Outdoor Space. This is very specific to your location but, generally speaking, you want to ensure that your project is competitive. Balconies, roof decks, gazebos, and patios allow prospective buyers to envision spaces where they can enjoy nice weather and gather with their family and friends to create memories.

    Perhaps the most practical addition of all is a garage. Single family buyers will appreciate a safe and convenient location for their cars, as well as the additional storage space. With a multifamily, owners can rent out space to select tenants for an additional cost. Check that the door is secure, presentable, and in working order.

    When designing your project, prioritizing outdoor space can be extremely important as it gives buyers additional ways to enjoy the property. Low cost upgrades can add a wow factor and help your renovation stand out from the competition.

  5. Basements. Often in small multifamily units, developers leave basements unfinished -- which may be a wasted opportunity. In all cases, check for any safety issues and verify ample lighting. There are several options which may increase the value of the property:

    An additional unit. You’ll have to research municipal ordinances to see if this is possible, but depending on the layout, you may be able to renovate the space to make it habitable. Requirements vary depending on the area, but may include having two working exits, and a certain number of windows to meet the minimum standards for light, air, and sanitation. Your local department of buildings will have to approve it to be rented as a stand-alone unit, but that may be a minor step for the additional monthly income the owner will be receiving.

    This is not always feasible, however, in which case you may want to try a more modest approach:

    Storage units. People often have too much stuff and need additional storage space. An on-site storage unit is a great amenity that is both cost-friendly for the owner, and a huge bonus for those who want it.

    A laundry room. Adding commercial washers and dryers to a property will likely attract tenants and increase the value of the rental property. An on-site laundry facility also generates revenue, without requiring much maintenance.

Additional notes:

Make sure you have the permits you need from the appropriate municipal office before you proceed! Failure to obtain these can stall your project, or even worse, complicate the sale.

It is critical that you are consistently up to date on new technologies, current trends, and what the competition is doing in your neighborhood. You may be able to save on costs through new innovations in manufacturing, insulation, and more. Also, it will be very difficult to sell the property if you are using outdated cabinets or fixtures throughout the home. Attend trade shows, subscribe to industry publications, and know what sells quickly in your market.

We can’t wait to see your finished products! Drop us a note if you found any of these suggestions helpful, and of course if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us at contact@rdadvisorsre.com.

This article is written for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon by any party without their own independent analysis. The opinions expressed and other content of this posting may change at any time and without notice. This information is not to be used or considered as an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any security, loan, or other product, and is not an offer to provide any services. In addition, the information shall not be considered a recommendation for the content of any website or to purchase any other product, service, or investment. Nothing in the above constitutes any offer to provide a loan or other financial product or a commitment to do so or to discuss providing such products. Our loans are not for everyone. Final approval for our loans is subject to satisfactory due diligence, background and credit checks and general credit approval, which depends, among other things, on a determination in our sole discretion that the loan fits our Fund’s investment strategy and portfolio and is generally a good fit for us.