SACRAMENTO - A resurgent housing market has people feeling confident about putting money into their homes once again.
According to CNN, home renovation spending in 2012 hit the highest level in six years. But many homeowners considering upgrades are uncertain of where to invest.
While renovating any area of the home adds interior or exterior appeal, some renovations carry more weight with prospective buyers than others.
Ruth Dubach, a Sacramento home renovation consultant for 14 years, highlights seven areas on which to focus your time and budget for the best chance of a return on your investment:
"Curb appeal is paramount," explains Dubach. "You want to have a nice, presentable exterior with good landscaping to make a great first impression."
"This is probably the most important area in the home. It's a social center where friends and family naturally congregate," explains Dubach. She says to focus on items like granite countertops with nice tile backsplashes, tile floors and stainless appliances to improve the aesthetic and financial value of the space.
"Having nice hardwood throughout is really popular these days," according to Dubach . Whether installing new hardwood or refinishing old flooring, the focal prominence of flooring in a home makes it a wise choice when considering where to upgrade. New carpeting in the bedroom is also a good idea.
Upgrading any bathroom is generally a good idea, but the master bathroom is essential. "Along with the kitchen, the master bathroom is the most important room in the home," says Dubach. "Installing heated flooring, a tiled shower, frameless shower doors, and cost-effective marble or limestone counters, are all really great ways to update the look and value of such an important area."
Anyone who's seen a landscaping show or read "Sunset" magazine knows backyards nowadays transcend grass and flower beds, and instead are viewed more as an outdoor extension of the home. "By fixing up the backyard, you're really updating the quality of lifestyle outdoors," Dubach explains.
Creating an outdoor living environment that offers a great space for relaxing, as well as entertaining is a major attraction. If you can't create a complete great outdoors, pergolas or built-in barbecues are also eye-catching individual improvements, Dubach says.
"Efficient cabinetry and storage space is a huge deal, especially for families and people with an active lifestyle. If you don't have space for a walk-in closet, customizable organizers help to declutter a closet and really make buyers feel like they have more space to work with," reveals Dubach.
Energy Efficient Improvements
"Anything you can do to improve the home's efficiency in terms of energy consumption is a selling point," claims Dubach. But she advises not to get too caught up in going green. "That's a big concern in places like the Bay Area or higher-end homes around here. But it's not something the majority of local buyers are overly concerned with."