Advice

HGTV’s Rachel Street on How to Get the Most Value From Your Home Renovation

The host of Philly Street Flippin’ shares her top tips.


rachel street home renovation advice

Rachel Street on the job. Photograph by All That’s Digital

Want to make sure your home remodel is going to add value — and attract another buyer down the line? Rachel Street, a realtor and contractor who hosts HGTV’s Philly Street Flippin’, weighs in with ways to get the most out of your renovation.

Start with your systems.

The number one place you’re always going to see a good return on your investment is in the home’s systems, says Street. Whether that means replacing ancient knob-and-tube electric, adding central air, or upgrading your HVAC to a high-efficiency machine, you can’t go wrong by ensuring that all the mechanical parts of your house are working and up to code.

Pick a room and go all-in.

Maybe it’s a gorgeous kitchen. Maybe it’s a master suite with a stunning bath and closet. Street likes to prioritize one standout space: “Buyers tend to focus in on something special in the home,” she says. “Create something that they have an emotional connection to, and they’ll want that home over all the other homes on the market.”

Keep your backdrop basic, then personalize the details.

If you want your home to appeal to future buyers, keep the bones of what you’re changing pretty neutral, and use the easier-to-swap-out elements to add your unique spin. Cabinet pulls, backsplashes and light fixtures are all simple to replace as tastes and trends change, says Street.

Don’t remove something just because it’s old.

“I think now more than ever, people are really gravitating toward some of those more traditional elements, those homes that have history,” says Street. “You want to renovate your property but still keep its soul. There are a million gray boxes out there that you can buy, but I think there’s a lot of value to having something that’s unique.”

Find a team you trust.

You know what’s a waste of money? Having to have work redone because it wasn’t completed the right way the first time. “Make sure you’re working with people who know what they’re doing,” says Street. “When you’re looking for a contractor, make sure they’re properly licensed and insured. Research to see what some of their other projects have been and if there have been any issues.”

Published as “Happy Returns” in the “Home Makeovers: Philly Edition” article in the March 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.