Adding value to a home is different than what it used to be. Long gone are the days of marble staircases and elaborate flower gardens. People have a lot of reasons for selling their homes, whether they’re moving or retiring early. Most home buyers today prefer simple and functioning homes over extravagant ones. Less is more in a home because it requires little maintenance. But, with the endless possibilities of increasing the value of a home, where do you start? And how much should you invest in each project? This article will help you get started with ten smart and cost-effective ways to increase the value of your home.
1. Energy Efficiency
Being able to call your house “energy-efficient” or “green” will make it extra appealing to environmentally conscious buyers. One of the top selling points in the housing market today is energy-efficiency. Since energy usage is a long-term cost, investing in energy-efficient products and appliances in your house can increase the value of your home. You can upgrade your windows and doors to energy star certified materials to improve insulation. If you’re working with a small budget, you can install LED lights or light dimmers throughout your house to help conserve electricity. Also, installing a water heater can cut your utility costs up to 25 to 50 percent.
2. First Impressions
Did you know that it can take homebuyers as little as fifteen seconds to make up their mind about a house? That should tell you how important first impressions are.
Exterior flaws can make your house seem structurally unstable even if it is fine. Prospective buyers are turned off and will walk away if they notice an overgrown yard since it signals neglect to buyers. A looming tree over the house is a liability if it falls down during a storm. Overgrown bushes or plants can attract unwanted insects and block out sunlight. Cracks, loose bricks, or chipped wood on the outside of their house can also be a turn-off. Call in a professional to restore the outside of your house, and it can bring your house value up.
3. Spotlight the Positives
Spotlight the beautiful aspects and areas of your home to increase its value. For example, if you live in a Victorian home, hire a professional to repaint all the trims around the house to accentuate its classic and elegant characteristics (here’s our guide to choosing paint colors). If you have a beautiful entryway, give it a good power washing to make it look new, fix the doorbell, or spruce it up with some new flowers. If your door is old, it is worth it to install a new door because a good-looking, sturdy door not only signifies security, it also makes your house stand out from the rest of your competitors.
If you have a backyard with a pool, buying some patio furniture will make buyers think about all of the fun they can experience.
While window replacements can be costly, you don’t have to replace the actual windows if there is no urgency. Instead, replace the glass or the frame, repaint the frames, or clean the glass to make your windows look new. Also, cleaning your windows will not only make your house look like new on the outside, but it will brighten the inside of your home with lots of natural light — and who doesn’t want that? Extra points if you can choose energy efficient materials for your windows.
Whether you have a couple of hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars, there is a lot you can do to increase the value of your kitchen. You can replace appliances, repaint the walls, replace tiles, countertops or buy new cabinets. However, it is not necessary for you to do all of these things. Selecting just one or two of these projects can have just as much of an impact. Repainting the walls or the cabinets would be the quickest way to improve the overall appearance of the kitchen. Replacing cabinets or kitchen appliances would be the best way to improve functionality. What frustrates you the most about your kitchen? Start there. Working on this will most likely help increase its value.
You want to make sure everything in your bathroom is as clean and functional as possible. Plumbing in your bathroom and your entire house should be in tiptop condition. There is nothing worse thing for a buyer than to discover that there is poor drainage. If your tub, sink or toilet needs to be replaced, now is the time. If you have chipped tiles, old shower curtains, replace them. If you have grout, mold, or rust, remove them. The bathroom is a very important room in the house. It is crucial to maintaining it well. A bathroom is the sanctuary of every home and should elicit relaxation and comfort. Old chipped tile or stained counters will distract buyers and quickly turn them off.
If your carpets or hardwood floors are old and full of stains, clean or replace them as soon as possible. Buyers will look down as soon as they walk in and notice the spots not to mention creaky sounds as they walk. If your hardwood floors are no longer in good condition, consider replacing them. You can do this by yourself for a fairly modest price. There are pros and cons to having hardwood floors and carpets, but realtors have noticed buyers tend to prefer hardwood floors because they are easier to clean, free of allergens, and more durable. They are especially desirable for families with young children and pets.
8. Extra Space
Does your house have a spare room or a large living room? Rather than turning a spare room into a guest room or a home office, leave the spare room unfurnished and list it as a “flex room.” As for the large living room, you can set up a corner office space. Nowadays, with more Americans working from home, having a home office is a huge asset. If not an office, then it can be a home gym, a playroom for the kids, an extra closet or a room for laundry. Having any type of extra room or space is extremely valuable. Be sure to emphasize this point when selling or flipping the house.
Also, make use of the corners of your home. You can convert a corner into a mini office by adding a desk and a small chair. Corners can also be used for shelving creating a place for books, photos, plants and decorative furniture.
A beautiful yard is much more valuable when you can use it. If you have extra space in your front yard or backyard, you can turn it into something that can significantly increase the value of your home. The best way to plan this is to consider who your target buyers are and where you live. If you live in an urban area where parking space is limited, you can convert the extra space into a parking spot, which would be a huge selling point.
On the other hand, if you live in a spacious neighborhood where there is plenty of parking space, converting the extra space into a beautiful porch might make more sense. Be sure to consider the weather in the region you live in. If it’s sunny all year round, keep it as an open porch. If it rains a lot, consider installing some awnings.
10. Get a Second Opinion
When you live in a place for so long, you start to overlook the flaws and quirks of your house. You may not notice how dark one area of the house is. You may not notice that the grout in your kitchen tile is no longer white, or that your faucet leaks. Having a professional or some friends come in to take a detailed look at your house can be very helpful. You can also ask them to help you decide what’s most important. You might even discover that one of your friends have experience in carpentry or know someone who can give you a good deal for new tiles. The point is, that a second opinion can help you make these decisions with confidence.
Adding value to a home isn’t necessarily about adding cool, new features, it’s about lessening problems and headaches for the buyers down the road. This means removing glaring flaws, sprucing up old features, and helping the new family save money. When in doubt, put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. What would they want or not want to see in your house? Show them you’ve put in the time and thought to maintain your home. Display pictures of your own family in the house so they know it’s a place with good memories. Talk about your house as if it’s not something you are trying to get rid of but rather something you treasure and is now passing on.