How many years of experience do you have?
We have over 30 years of experience.
What licenses does your team hold?
d.a. kinsella company has a home improvement contractor license in MA along with licenses in Architecture, in CT, MA, NH, NJ, OK and is proud to be NCARB certified to practice in any US state and a MA unrestricted construction supervisor’s license.
What is your creative process?
Our process includes hand drawing, written language, photomontage, cad, rendering, models, verbal communication and any other tools necessary to assist our clients in achieving their vision.
What areas do you service?
We serve clients in the following areas:
- Andover, MA
- Bedford, MA
- Billerica, MA
- Burlington, MA
- Carlisle, MA
- Hudson, MA
- Lexington, MA
- Lowell, MA
- Merrimack, MA
- Nashua, MA
- Reading, MA
- Middlesex County
- Southern New Hampshire
We all know that making improvements to our home can increase its value, add to its price at resale and improve the quality of living in the home. However, knowing which types of improvements get the best return is important. Over the last 32 years we have observed 2 schools of thought as to the limits on investing in a home.
The first, is the family who is investing with the intention to relocate in the near future and is mindful of the value of their home and maintaining a comparable price to the other homes in the neighborhood.
The second is the family who wishes to age in place or is planning on staying in the home far into the foreseeable future. This family might be inclined to spend less frugally to enhance their space and add creature comforts such as smart home technology, convection ranges or cost saving features like photovoltaic panels.
This article will discuss the eight primary home improvements that will get you the most value for your investment.
1. Landscaping Improvements. Many of the Media outlets such as Better Homes and Gardens and Homes and Gardens tout landscaping improvements as these best improvements that you can make to your property. H and G states in its on line issue that you can recover 100% of the value on landscaping. The sole reason for this is the perception which we form when we think of our home comes from being able to see the entire home. Such items as paver walks, stone walls, plantings and trees help to form our image of home. Secondly, in New England we use our exterior spaces such as pools and decks to entertain, relax and for leisure activities such as yard games.
2. The Kitchen Remodel. When selling your home, the kitchen is the center of the home and therefore a critical room. This is the best place to put your home improvement budget. An outdated kitchen with 15-year-old appliances is a non-starter for prospective buyers. Better Homes and Gardens (May 2022) in the past listed the Kitchen as a 52%, whereas Homes and Gardens believes the return to be up to 705 return on your investment second only to landscaping which is a 1:1 return or 100% of the investment. On the other hand, splurging on a kitchen remodel will give an older home more value because of the importance the kitchen plays any home. A kitchen remodel should consider replacing old appliances with new, more energy-efficient models, refacing or replacing cabinets, installing new countertops, updating the hardware, installing a new sink and faucet, as well as updating the flooring and repainting.
3. The Bathroom Situation. After the kitchen comes the bathroom OR bathrooms. Homes in 2022 are expected to provide at least 1 full and 1 half bathroom and many Americans desire an ensuite off the master bedroom as the minimum amenity in a home. If the situation in your older three – or four – bedroom home has only one then it is advised to add that second bathroom. You can recoup the majority of your investment by adding a second bathroom. HGTV estimates that you can recoup 80%-130% and Home and Gardens estimates 57% of whatever you spend adding a bathroom. If you have the space, a full (tub/shower, toilet and vanity) or three-quarter (shower toilet, vanity) bath is preferable.
Ensuite on the other hand can be crazy extravagant with bidets, his and her vanities, saunas, make up tables and often take on the ambiance a plush spa feel. That said be mindful of your long- and short-term financial and living goals. If you’re updating an existing bath, focus on a new sink, toilet, and fixtures. You should also consider updating the lighting and tile. One more improvement you can make to your bathrooms is reconfiguring your standard bathroom into an accessible one with wider doorways for wheelchairs, adding a walk-in shower, lowering light switches, and installing grab bars.
FYI the Americans with Disability Act requires public places to be accessible not homes but is a good MINIMUM reference for families needing to make homes accessible for themselves or a loved one. Massachusetts has enacted the its own regulation known as the Architectural Access Regulation 521CMR.
4. Siding and Window Replacements. Siding and windows that are old or damaged can have a dramatic negative impact on your home’s curb appeal and a potential buyer’s first impression and be allowing weather to infiltrate into the envelope and building structure causing larger problems. As far as new windows, buyers are looking for homes with high energy efficiency ratings. Plus, because of our climatic weather conditions, windows in Florida must be impact-resistant and shading coefficients whereas windows in Alaska need to have greater thermal conductivity ratings. Several material types of windows are available from a litany of manufactures, such as wood, wood clad (aluminum and vinyl), composite (Fiberglas, PVC or other man-made composite materials), aluminum and finally vinyl. One of the biggest mistake’s homeowners make is selecting a replacement window verses a new construction window. The replacement window goes into an existing window frame usually wood and replaces the moving or fixed parts of the window. The replacement does not address area leakage in the opening in the structure of the window potential rot or insect damage in the existing frame or structure or air leakage in the pocket of the old sash weight type windows. New construction is as it sounds a completely new window and FRAME. New windows require rework of trim siding and sometimes framing. It is the more invasive and costly choice when compared with replacement windows.
5. Garage Door Replacement. A new garage door can really make a statement, increase your home’s curb appeal and bring a higher level of energy efficiency to your home. Research shows that return is near 100% nationwide, and Remodeling Magazine says that a garage door replacement in the Tampa area is 95.1% making garage doors a great project.
6. Deck Addition. HGTV says that homeowners recoup 65%-90% of their investment by adding a deck. That’s good news because this is another home improvement that can be enjoyed year-round in Florida. Locally, you’ll recoup about 78% of your investment in a wood deck, patios, terraces and Lanai or screen rooms add value.
7. Repurposing a Room. Another valuable home improvement is to “reinvent” an existing space in your home. This might look like making a bedroom out of unused attic space or adding a small apartment in or over your garage—which may appeal to a larger family looking at buying your home.
8. Adding Energy-Efficient Insulation. In New England, we know that climate control is a must. You can cut those costs by installing energy-efficient insulation that keeps you from heating or cooling the outdoors. Fiberglass, cellulose, polyisunarate and rigid foam board are frequently used, with fiberglass batts and polyisunarate being the preferred methods in New England.
Sprucing up your home for resale—or to enjoy before you put your home on the market—is a great idea. Use these tips and consider the areas of your home that a home improvement project will bring you the greatest return on your investment (ROI). And just in case you’re wondering, renovating your backyard patio is seen as one of the least valuable home improvement projects. Consult with a knowledgeable realtor in your community to learn what improvements will be of the greatest value and the highest return for your home. A realtor will analyze your market and see what has the greatest potential to make your property stand out.
What is Renovating?
Renovating changes, the main elements or systems and aesthetics of a room. It does so by repairing or updating them to like-new condition without changing the overall purpose or even the layout. So, it usually involves replacing the cabinets of a kitchen, putting new flooring in the living room, switching the fixtures in the bathroom, residing or reroofing, etc. Renovations can include structural rebuilding in the event that the existing materials in the house are damaged by insects or weather or antiquated construction methods and need to be removed.
However, renovating does not alter the main function of the space (like turning an extra closet or bedroom space into a bathroom). Nor does it adjust the layout of the room (like adding an island with a sink to the kitchen). Because renovations are not as complex, they usually are not as expensive as remodeling projects. For this reason, they can actually offer a greater ROI than a remodel, depending on the project.
What is Remodeling?
Conversely, remodeling makes more drastic modifications to the home. Such changes may include reconfiguring the appliances and water sources in the kitchen, putting a shower into a half-bath, tearing down a wall to create a master suite, or walling in a sunroom to expand the living room. Even if you’re just transforming a room into a home office or a guest bedroom, you’re still remodeling because you’re amending the original purpose of the room.
What’s more, remodeling always requires permits, whereas renovations typically do not because you are not modifying the core systems (substructure, superstructure, insulation, windows, doors, plumbing, gas or electricity) of the home. Therefore, the fact that remodeling is usually more expensive than renovating makes sense.
However, remodeling is the best way to correct a poor home design. For example, a random room may interrupt the flow of the house. Or, the pipes for your kitchen may run through an exterior wall and always freeze during the winter. In these cases, remodeling is the only way to fix such design flaws.
What is an Addition?
An addition is an expansion to a home either upward or outward from the original foot print. Because of the increase in space, additions will require a permit from the local building official, and may require permits from health, conservation and historic. A larger home increases the value of the home. The increase in value varies depending what you include in a home, such as kitchens, bathrooms or bedrooms. Additions without doubt increase the value of a property and should be planned to enhance both the interior as well as offer additional exterior benefit “bang for the buck”. Such benefit can be obtained from a placement which creates privacy from neighbors or a street or road or create additional more intimate spaces on the property such as courtyard or gardens.
Getting this extra benefit out of an addition may interest you in advanced planning and are things that most construction companies pay no attention to during the planning because this level of insight may not be part of a contractors professional training. Designers and professionals can add value to the project by assisting the home owner with a number of things such as:
• better spacial awareness,
• gaining advantage of strategic planning,
• placement of windows to take advantage of a views or gardens exist on the property and
• even in color choices to express a bold mood, breaker up a large expanse of wall or coordinate with a cherished painting.
Discuss Your Project with an Architect