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6 Must-Have Home Upgrades for New Construction — and How Much They Cost

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phillipspears / Getty Images

If you’re building a new home, you might wonder which areas of your property should be tackled to improve its value and make the house more attractive to prospective buyers — especially if you are interested in resale later on.

See: 8 Items Around Your Home That May Be Worth More Than You Think
Related: 25 Things To Sell When You’re Ready To Retire

Here are some top upgrades for new homes that can boost the home’s value, how much you can anticipate spending, and the ROI these upgrades provide to newly constructed homes.

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Hardwood Floors

Tyler Forte, co-founder and CEO of freshbuilds, said hardwood floors are popular among homebuyers for a wide variety of reasons. 

“These floors are durable and add character to a room, helping increase your home value,” said Forte. “They also provide insulation and help regulate room temperature.”

Installing hardwood flooring, Forte said, typically costs around $2,311 to $6,115 in a home. The average ROI of hardwood flooring is between 70% to 80%, particularly for resale value.

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Master Bathroom Tilework

“Tiling the main bathroom floor typically costs around $1,200 to $2,400 per 160 square feet,” said Forte.

Upgrading your bathroom tilework is a quick way to add value to your newly constructed home. Forte said you can choose a large-format tile on the floor and then add a bath and shower surround, like a mosaic glass tile waterfall, for a final touch.

If your budget permits, Forte recommends adding standalone furniture-like cabinets with free-standing bowl sinks for a minimalistic look.

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Kitchen Remodel

One essential upgrade to add value to your newly constructed home is a kitchen remodel. 

Jenna Decatur, senior marketing communications associate at Sugatsune America, said while kitchen remodels can require a bit of an investment, they also pay big dividends. 

“The average cost of a kitchen remodel is around $21,000, but the average ROI is $17,000. That works out to a whopping 81%,” said Decatur. 

For many buyers, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. The more functional and stylish it is, the greater the home’s resale value. Decatur recommends expanding your kitchen storage so you, and potential future buyers, have plenty of space for all your utensils and appliances. Use decorative hooks to display and organize appliances while utilizing your wall space efficiency.

Specialty organizers may help maximize your existing cabinets and drawers and cabinets may be upgraded with high-end hardware that showcases your design sense. For those with a little extra money in their budgets, Decatur said installing a kitchen island is a great way to increase both countertop and storage space.

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Indoor Air Quality (IAC)

One trend in the newly constructed home space is increased interest in monitoring your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). 

Breegan Jane, interior designer and Trane Residential partner, said since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are spending more than 90% of our time indoors. Creating a healthy and comfortable home environment is now more important than ever, especially for those with asthma or allergy-prone members in the family. 

There are a few ways you can improve your home’s IAQ levels. Jane recommends monitoring your home’s IAQ levels with the help of an IAQ monitoring device like the Awair Element ($299). 

“This device can alert you of air quality changes driven by factors like humidity and CO2 so you can make immediate changes to improve it, whether that means changing your cleaning supplies, your air filters or adjusting your thermostat,” said Jane.

Aside from purchasing an IAQ monitoring device, homeowners may also clean out their air filters regularly or consider investing in a whole-home air filtration system like American Standard’s AccuClean.

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Smart Thermostat

Another trend on the rise is adding connected devices to your home, like a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats may range in price from $59.99 to $149.99, depending on the retailer.

“Incorporating a smart thermostat into your home is one way to take your comfort and control to the next level for ultimate convenience, peace of mind and energy efficiency – and you can do it right from your smartphone,” said Jane.

Apps, like the American Standard Home app, allow homeowners to receive remote access to manage their home’s heating and cooling systems in real-time (or set-it-and-forget-it-mode) through your smart thermostat. Jane said this gives homeowners the ability to adjust temperatures to your desired temperature from anywhere, turn on Energy Savings to optimize your energy efficiency and control a variety of your home’s smart products by syncing up with other devices in your home.

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Energy-Efficient Systems and Appliances

Many newly constructed homes are upgrading to more energy-efficient systems and appliances. The constant improvements of technology mean there are several ways to cut down on energy costs that increase every year.

Jane recommends seeking out HVAC systems with higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings and selecting ENERGY STAR certified products by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

“All products with the logo come with the peace of mind that your investment is helping reduce energy costs and protecting the environment,” said Jane.

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