Spotting a Home with Character: Which Home Improvements Matter

When buying an older home or one with character in Boulder County, it’s likely the seller lists recent home improvements and upgrades. While it’s nice to own a home with cosmetic improvements, it’s more cost-effective to look for more valuable renovations and improvements that increase your property value over time. Buying a home takes time and commitment as well as a good sense of what’s valuable in terms of the real estate resale market. According to a recent article by, sellers often make the mistake of spending too much money on renovations. When shopping for a home in Boulder County, Colorado, ask your real estate agent whether the home has original hardwood flooring, stained glass from another era, hard-to-find specialty flooring as well as more expensive siding, insulation and outdoor additions.

Kitchen and bathrooms

A beautiful kitchen can make you fall in love with a home and it can bring somewhere between 60% to 80% ROI (return on investment). If the kitchen is not great, think about how much will it need to make it look the way you want to. Major kitchen renovations can take a lot of time and money. Refacing the cabinets, putting new countertops, updating the hardware or lighting in both bathrooms and kitchens can make a big difference at a reasonable price.

Insulation, entry door and garage door

A good ROI comes from attic insulation, a new garage door and a steel entry door. When buying a home, give yourself a sense of security by finding a home with a new garage door, which provides a 92 percent ROI. If you don’t like the colors, hire a professional painter to change the color scheme of the garage door and entryway door. Changing the door knobs or installing levers or key pad entryways are other easy and inexpensive improvements.

Asking about the workmanship

Your real estate agent will often find out whether some of the renovations completed by professions or DIY projects. A good home inspector will help you figure out whether a DIY or professional renovation is quality work. Sellers sometimes make the mistake of using more expensive materials but inexpensive or inexperienced help.

Most home owners want to live in a house with character. You don’t need to buy a vintage home to enjoy great architecture. Many new builders borrow the best ideas from architects from the past, incorporating interesting modern designs in a new build. Many homes less than 10 years old have lower utility bills. If you like the newer, modern look, consider buying a home that someone lived in for less than 5 years. Many former model homes go on the Boulder County housing market. You don’t end up paying for all of the upgrades and special showcase features when you buy former model home. Other ways to create character in a Colorado home is by furnishing a home with special antiques and furnishings. Since interior design styles constantly change, it’s easy to stay on-trend by changing out lighting fixtures and furnishings as opposed to removing entire walls or changing the architectural style.

Some homeowners make improvements without thinking whether potential buyers will like their choice of flooring, cabinetry or countertops. If you find a home with upgrades you like, it’s often a win-win. Some of the nice features in older homes that create value include original hardwood floors in good condition, stained glass, architectural touches from a particular historic period in home building and brick walkways. At Laura Guerra Real Estate, I help my buyers and sellers as well as investors looking for a Boulder County real estate property. For more tips on buying a home, please contact me.