I’m a Real Estate Agent: These 6 Uncommon Renovations Can Pay Off

Stock photo and footage / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Stock photo and footage / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Home renovations big and small can really pay off if you know what you’re doing. But you don’t have to stick to the common renovations like remodeling your bathroom or kitchen or repainting your exterior walls. Some lesser-known renovations can also attract potential buyers while adding value to your home.

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If you’re thinking about sprucing up your home, here are some uncommon renovations that can actually pay off, according to real estate agents Lindsey Harn and Danielle Andrews.

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Outdoor Living Spaces

“Outdoor living is an extension of your indoor home, so if you have gathering [or] entertaining spaces, it can go a long way,” said Lindsey Harn, a top agent at Christie’s International Real Estate. “Whether it’s turf — which stays evergreen — built-in fire pits, patios, and pavers, having additional entertaining spaces can go a long way.”

Of course, any home renovation project is going to cost money. According to Outdoor Concepts, an entire outdoor living space renovation can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, depending on the size, complexity, materials, and structures you intend to use.

To keep costs low, consider creating a basic outdoor living space. For about $30,000, you can put in a paved patio with a seating wall, fire pit, privacy wall and plants. The entire space should be big enough to comfortably fit up to five adults.

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Smart Home Technology

“Smart homes are in high demand these days!” said Danielle Andrews, a real estate agent at Realty One Group Next Generation. “Security.org’s most recent survey found that 75% of homebuyers are willing to pay more for a smart home.”

When it comes to equipping your home with smart home devices, you’ve got options. You could put in a smart lighting system, smart door locks, smart thermostat, smart security systems — the list goes on. Be sure to set a budget since costs can quickly run up if you’re not careful.

Detached Casita

Another uncommon home renovation that Harn suggested is a detached, private casita. This is essentially a guest house that’s kept separate from the main house, though it’s still on the same property.

“Perfect for guests, a home office, or grown children, or even rental income,” she said. “A casita can bring as much as $200,000-$250,000 to your resale.”

According to Mariano & Co, building a detached casita can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 per square foot. Taking the low- to mid-range numbers, a casita of about 500 square feet can cost about $75,000.

But again, it depends on factors like the materials, labor costs, size, layout, and amenities. You’ll probably also need to spend extra for the foundation. That said, if you can boost your home’s value by even $200,000, that’s some significant gains.

Wine Cellar

According to Andrews, a wine cellar is also a great touch to any home with enough space to warrant one. They give the home a luxury presence and can increase the home’s value.

Heritage Vine found that wine cellars cost about $30,000 and go up from there. You might be able to lower costs by doing more of the manual labor yourself. Just make sure you do it well to really amp up your property’s value.

Less Common Kitchen Updates

According to a 2023 Remodeling survey, a minor kitchen remodel costs around $26,790 and has a resale value of $22,963. This might be an initial loss, but updating your kitchen in smaller ways can improve the value of your home over time.

“High-end appliances, a kitchen that flows nicely, a big walk-in pantry, and maybe even a butler’s pantry — these can really wow,” said Harn. “Don’t forget a trash drawer, two dishwashers, and an ice maker and beverage fridge if you are really going to wow your friends and family.”

Some of these options cost more than others, but you can always start small and add on additional features as your budget allows.

Walk-in Pantry

On that front, Andrews also suggested putting in a walk-in pantry.

“Buyers love storage and space, especially when it comes to food,” she said. “Couponing is all the rage and buyers need a place to store. The National Association of Home Builders released a survey that indicated that 83% of buyers consider a walk-in pantry essential or desirable.”

Other Uncommon Home Renovations That Can Pay Off

While there aren’t any guarantees on just how much your remodel will pay off, it’s still worth doing the projects that’ll bring you the most joy and — with any luck — add value to your home.

That being said, here are a few other uncommon home renovations to consider:

  • Put in an electric or even gas fireplace to serve as a focal point and add elegance to your living space. HomeGuide found that a gas fireplace costs anywhere from $2,300 to $10,000. If you want to cut down on costs and still make the addition worth it, consider a ventless gas fireplace instead of a vented or direct-vent one. Just be aware of potential safety risks.

  • Put in a carport or three-car garage. According to Ryan Barone, CEO and co-founder of RentRedi, a new carport costs around $3,600, much less than the $28,000+ it costs to build a traditional garage.

  • Build spaces on your property that you can rent out, such as extra storage or parking areas. Alternatively, install an add-on — like an extra bedroom, a storage shed, a gym, or an apartment over the garage — to add value and appeal to your home. Just make sure everything’s up to code.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I’m a Real Estate Agent: These 6 Uncommon Renovations Can Pay Off