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Home Improvement: What features add the most value?

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Jessica
11.14.11

At BrightNest, we get a lot of questions about home improvement and how certain projects could impact the value of your house. Should you add a third bathroom or install hardwood floors? How much value will a fireplace add? Our focus is on helping you take care of the home you have – making sure there’s hot water for your shower, a functioning fridge, and working A/C on the hottest days in summer. We teach you to take care of all the things that keep you comfortable, keep your home in good shape and keep your bank account from experiencing unanticipated withdrawals.

But, we’re happy to share our favorite articles, resources and sites to help inform your home improvement decisions.

Recently, we came across a neat tool called the House Price Estimator available for free on the National Association of Home Builders website. It calculates the good, the bad and the ugly of potential home improvement projects. Both the physical features that add value (like an extra bedroom) and the elements that detract value (like an abandoned building nearby). NAHB recently updated the tool to reflect current economic factors by incorporating the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

The Chicago Tribune recently tested out the power of the House Price Estimator with a hypothetical house in a Midwest suburb with three bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, 2,100 square feet, and an original estimated value of $180,000. Adding a hypothetical fireplace to the equation bumped the estimated value to $204,000.

But, when the Tribune added a hypothetical fireplace and a third bathroom, the value went up to $247,000. Read more about their test and the NAHB.com site in The Chicago Tribune.

The tool isn’t perfect, but it can help you compare different projects and understand the impact of the internal features you can control, and the external factors that you can’t. Access the tool here: House Price Estimator.

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