How to Increase Your Home's Value

Real Estate

How to Increase Your Home's Value

There is really only one reason to try to increase the value of your home: if you’re trying to sell your home for more money and faster. If you’re not, deliberately increasing your home’s value most likely will increase your tax bill as well. There are ways to increase your home’s value for resale that range from the very expensive (major remodels and additions) to free (tidying up the front yard). We’ll look at the whole range, noting how much value is added when possible.

Before you begin any of these projects, it is important that you do them with the following in mind: you do not want to raise the value of your property too far above others in the neighborhood. Why? Because people who want expensive homes will shop exclusively in higher-value neighborhoods. If you own the “best house” in the neighborhood, it is unlikely you will recoup whatever investment you’ve made. A good rule of thumb: keep the value of your property within 15 to 20 percent of your neighbors’.

If you don’t have the kind of money it takes for even minor remodeling, there are low-cost ways to increase your home’s value. At the very least, the following things will make your home more attractive and inviting to prospective buyers. Make sure the outside of your home is spic-and-span. Clean out the gutters. Wash the windows and remove cobwebs and bugs. Trim the hedges, cut and edge the lawn, sweep the sidewalks and driveway. Plant some colorful flowers out front. The reason for these small things is simple: If two similar homes in the same are area are both for sale, the one with the cleanest and most appealing front yard will sell first. You may want to add to or improve your landscaping while you’re at it. According to a study conducted by Money Magazine, landscaping may be the best investment to improve a home's value. The study found that well-planned, attractive landscaping was estimated to have an actual recovery rate 100 to 200 percent higher than a kitchen or bathroom renovation.

Great Tips to Increase Your Home's Value is found in an article by HGTV: Clean your house now for profits later. Home Buyers are attracted to a bright and sparkly house. A house can never be too clean. Think like a buyer, would you choose the house that is slightly dingy or the home down the street that is clean and welcoming? Don't forget to de-clutter. De-cluttering is also form of cleaning. Just as dirt builds up, so does clutter. Don't waste money moving your junk around. Get rid of it now. When it's time to sell you will feel confident about what you are presenting to the buyer. Honey Stop the Car! Home Buyers generally fall in love with at first sight, so curb appeal counts. Want a fresh perspective on the value of your home? Walk across the street, turn around and ask yourself, "Does my house have curb appeal?" Does your home look attractive, welcoming and structurally sound at first glance? Make a list of ways to enhance the positive and eliminate the negative. If you have a nice curvy walkway, accentuate it with flowers or lanterns. If the first thing a visitor sees is your big wide garage, try to guide their eyes into a beautiful front yard, or paint your front door red to guide the eye there. These things add value. Take a digital photo and look at your home in black and white. When the color is removed, the truth comes out. That is where you see the cracks in the walls and the glaring flaws. Keep things clean and tidy. Talk to your neighbors because this affects them too. Curb appeal doesn't stop at your property line. Your home will be more valuable if you live in a place where everyone pays attention to appearance. When you're looking at your curb appeal, don't forget the side and rear views. Keep in mind that home buyers walk around and peek over fences.

Do a mini-remodel to your kitchen: change the paint. It sounds simple, but it works. You can also paint a faux-wood finish onto your cabinets. Add a splash of color with a new backsplash. New tile is attractive. Home improvement stores teach classes on this. Go stainless steel. The cold feel of steel is a hot ticket item for buyers. Transition your appliances as they wear out and go with a similar metallic look in your light switches. Make your kitchen rock with a rolling island. Hang a pot rack with fresh new pots, pans and a hanging wine bottle holder. With the rolling island, your kitchen will catch every home buyer's eye. You can take some of these things with you to your new home.

Of all the rooms in your house, the bathroom is the workhorse. There is lots of wear and tear, so you want to keep it functioning well and make good looking upgrades along the way. Focus on your faucet. Bathrooms are not utilitarian anymore. People like to feel relaxed, like they are in a spa. Drop-sinks are old news, people want the under-mount sinks. Go granite or marble with your countertops. If you are toying with the granite idea, your bathroom counter is most likely smaller than your kitchen counter and less expensive. This is a great place to start your first granite project. Nix the overhead lighting in favor of wall mounts to add warmth and value to your bathroom. Make sure that around your mirror you have even lighting with no side shadows. Heated floors attract buyers like bees to honey. Upgrade your bath area. With an 85 percent return, install a shower with body sprays and stone surround tile. If you are not selling right away, you will feel like you are in a Zen garden every time you step into your bathroom. Keep it clean. Dirt and grime can become embedded in bathroom surfaces very quickly. Freshen it up with new grout. Increasing the value of your home is easier than you think. Follow these tips, and your home will be worth more before you know it.

Data on what projects are projected to add the most value to your home is easy to find in Professional organizations like the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Remodeling Magazine create annual reports studying national and regional statistics on which remodeling jobs are most popular and promise the highest ROI. Remember that it’s a tricky business, trying to add value to your home. What seems to be value to you may not appear that way to any given prospective home buyer.

Projects that may increase your home’s value include: Jacuzzi (4 jets or more); permanent hot tub; in-ground pool with nice deck area; security system; sprinkler system; substantial out buildings such as a two-car garage or finished workshop; and vaulted or trey ceilings. Think twice about the following projects however, as they may not add value to your house: above-ground pool; ceiling fans; garden pond; and light fixtures.

Some tips when attempting value-increasing remodeling:

l Remodel with mass appeal in mind. Potential buyers are usually attracted more to neutral, mainstream design.

l Don’t go cheap when it comes to construction. Use durable, quality materials. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, honestly evaluate your ability to do it right.

l Don’t remodel in a different style from the rest of the house. Additions and improvements that look “tacked on” may detract from a home’s appeal.

l Turning a bedroom into a bathroom is a mistake – it reduces the number of bedrooms, a chief selling point.

l Don’t do a $30,000 kitchen remodel in a $100,000 house – unless you plan to continue living there. It is a waste of money.

l If you don’t sell, there are improvements that actually reduce your tax bill. Qualifying improvements are those that increase your home's value or prolong your home's life, including: a fence, driveway, a new room, addition, swimming pool, garage, porch or deck, built-in appliances, insulation, new heating/cooling systems, a new roof, landscaping, etc.