While you may or may not be in the market to sell your home right now, there are still reasons you should be thinking of the condition of your home. Doing the appropriate maintenance is a big part of making sure that the condition of your home doesn’t deteriorate.
Increasing the value of your home can have a lot of advantages. For example, if you increase the value, you automatically lower the amount of money you owe on your mortgage relative to the home’s overall equity, and if that is the difference between having 20% equity or not in your home, it will mean you no longer need to pay private mortgage insurance.
How to increase the value of your home, does not need to be a hard question to answer. All you will need to do is keep reading this article, and we will give you tips and tricks that will not only maintain value, but also home improvement ideas that add more value than they cost.
Cost vs Value Study
You should also take a look at this study done by Hanley Wood Media. It looks at 21 different types of remodeling projects, their average costs and how much they increase the home value by respectively, and thereby how much of the investment is recouped. While it’s an extensive study, its faults lie in the fact that it utilizes averages.
For example, if your home’s siding is in a really bad state, it will comparatively add more to the home’s value than if your home’s current siding is in good condition. If you install new siding, and then you remove that new siding and install new one again, you don’t experience two times home value increase from it.
It also doesn’t specify that you can in fact affect how much your home’s value increases by, by making intelligent decisions in the process.
From the image, you can see that garage door replacement is the home improvement project they say recoups most of the cost. However, if you have a broken garage door that desperately needs replacement just to work, you’ll be able to recoup more than 100% of your investment in most cases.
This article is intended to help you better realize which projects are worth it, and which aren’t.
Infographic of Remodeling Projects That Increase Home Value
We made a simple infographic to help you guide the different remodeling types that you may be considering as well as the most important things to be aware of with each type. To see the full version of the infographic, simply press the photo underneath. It was created using data from the Hanley Wood Media study, and the principles still apply to the different types of home improvement, although the numbers may have changed slightly.
This infographic can be reposted or used free of charge as long as you include an active link back to this page.
Factors that Affect the Value of Your Home
The previously mentioned study has certain limitations to it given that the numbers are averages, and given that the numbers in the study generally signify that you won’t be recouping your full investment, there are a lot of factors you need to take into account that will help you increase the amount your home’s value goes up by. Read this article on the topic too by Berkshire Hathaway.
The location of your property is one of those factors. This basically means everything that is surrounding your home, which includes the schools, access to grocery stores and more. You need to look at all the amenities, and those will largely determine what the house is worth. If your house has an ocean view, that will also make it worth a lot more, than if it’s just three blocks away from the beach.
While there are a lot of these factors that will be the same among buyers, there are some that might be willing to pay more for ocean view than others, and naturally if the couple buying your home have kids, they will want to be drawn to places with good schools.
Another important factor is local employment opportunities, which is a must for employment age homebuyers. Another factor is proximity to recreational, social and shopping facilities. These preferences are important in order to make your home property to become immensely valuable.
Upgrades to The House
Naturally, as a consequence of you reading this article, you already know the importance of home improvement upgrades and how they affect the value of your home.
Focus on the inspection report
When a family buys a house, their offer will often be contingent on a good inspection report. Here are some sample reports you can take a look at. It does happen in markets that are very much favoring the seller, that an offer may not be contingent, but it’s better to assume it will be.
The Importance of Comps
So neighborhood comps play a large role, also when you’re considering if you should remodel or not, and how much money you should be spending on each of the home improvement projects you have in mind.
If you’re the one buying a home, you would also be studying what else is in the market in the neighborhood, how it’s priced, what features it has, and more. When you decide which features to upgrade in the home, you should also look at what comps have. If comps have 3 bedrooms, and you want to install 6, it probably won’t make much financial sense to do.
It can make sense to make your home slightly better than comps, but much more than that and you’ll likely just be throwing away money on upgrades a potential buyer would not be expecting for that specific area, and hence wouldn’t want to pay for.
In any case, if you’re considering selling ask your real estate agent which upgrades they believe you need to make to get the best price.
Reasons to Make Repairs Before You Sell Your Home
If you’re in the process of selling your home, you need to know that there are more reasons to do necessary repairs and home improvement than simply trying to raise the price of your home. While it may be your ultimate goal, there are very good reasons to take a look at the inspection report, listen to your realtor, and set aside a sum of money for repairs.
First of all, as we mentioned already, buyers will want to conduct an inspection with their own respective inspectors, so any potential problems will be discovered anyway, and it will create hesitation when they do. When they discover unexpected problems, their general response will often be to drop their offer more than what it would cost for them to fix the issue.
A lot of the needed repairs are easy to do, and can be done when you have a couple of Sundays where you have nothing else to do. A lot of the needed repairs will also be cheap to do.
Besides obviously improving the state of the home, obvious flaws can simply distract a buyer once they walk through the house, and they may end up focusing too much on those details, while they’re basically insignificant. Your ideal buyer might walk out of the house because of a fault that might have cost you $1,000 to fix, simply because they ended up fixating on it.
During an open house, your realtor will want your home to put its best foot forward.
Fixing a lot o f these issues could lead to a faster close when you’re selling since you will need to negotiate less with the buyer.
If all of a sudden you find out that there are upgrades you need to do right before you sell the house, these will end up costing you more due to their urgency.
When you work with an agent, they will also prefer having to sell a home where these things have been taken care of, so that it just becomes a dragged out process, because your house has some deal-breakers.
Important Repairs to Make Before Selling a House
There are generally a bunch of things that need to be repaired before selling. Doing these will lead to you putting more money in your pocket during a sale, and can get the deal done quicker. Talk with your real estate agent and hear what they have to say. These are general ones that apply to most houses.
Home buyers will see the outside of your home as they’re approaching, and the curb appeal is incredibly important. Make sure to make necessary repairs outside and de-clutter. If there are any parts of the fence missing, have it fixed so it doesn’t look like the house has been poorly maintained over time. Throw away any junk that is simply lying around for no reason, and make sure the lawn is mowed.
Make sure there arent’t any things that turn off a buyer in the kitchen. Whether you should do a full on kitchen remodel depends on a lot of things. Make sure that the kitchen cabinets are working properly, and if there are appliances that don’t work, put in the effort to get them working. The kitchen sells homes, so certain upgrades are worth it.
In the bathroom, you may not want to do a major bathroom remodel, but at least fix the minor things. It includes making sure that faucets aren’t leaking, are easy to turn on and off, and that the toilet isn’t running. Take some time to clean the grout, which is something you can do yourself with the help of this article. It just leaves a better impression.
To make sure the home gives off a nice vibe, focus on getting the lighting right when you’re going to show the home, because it will visually make it seem bigger and more inviting.
If you have hardwood floors have them refinished. It will make them shine again.
Generally, when you’re selling your home you want things to be working. If you are doing an FSBO or your agent is showing your home, they don’t continuously want to be forced to point out that a thing isn’t working. This includes doorknobs, locks, cabinets and more. They’re small things but most home buyers aren’t looking to move into a major home improvement project, and doing these repairs will increase the value of your home.
Cheap Home Repairs
There are many cheap home repairs you can do yourself to increase the value of your home, as long as you have the right attitude and a pair of hands, and these are good to do whether you’re selling your home or not.
While we’ve already mentioned the importance of painting, it’s a very small thing that can be done by you and your family very quickly and for very little money. Painting the siding also has the advantage that it protects it against the outside elements. Wood siding, for example, will start deteriorating a lot faster if doesn’t get either stained or painted when it’s supposed to.
Changing the filter of the furnace is something you will want to do when the filter starts deteriorating, because it will lead to you saving money as your system is operating more efficiently.
Read here why energy efficiency is so important to keep in mind.
Changing the filters and having your HVAC unit need to run less aggressively puts less strain on it, and there will be fewer needs for repairs and it will last longer too. While it more about keeping money in your pocket than increasing the price of your home, you still end up with more money.
If your shower is leaking water, it has to go somewhere. That somewhere could be into your drywall at which point a problem will start developing eventually. Repairing a leaking shower will increase the home value by avoiding water damage and the expensive repairs it brings along too.
Home Improvement Mistakes to Avoid if You’re Preparing to Sell your Home
When you’re getting ready to sell and have started doing a lot of repair work, it’s also important to know that there are things you should not be doing. For example, avoid installing a pool.
Pools are not only expensive to install and require a lot of maintenance, they’re also not for everyone. A lot of homeowners will simply not pay a premium for a house with a pool because they know the extra work it will give them.
If people have small kids, they may specifically not want pools because they represent a safety hazard, and more than 3,500 people drown in pools every year. Installing a pool is one of those things you do because you have a sincere desire to have one, and it’s not a financial investment.
New modern kitchens is another thing not to do. It might be great and give you pleasure those few months you plan on remaining in the home, but kitchens are very individual choices too, and if you invest too much money into a kitchen, chances are you won’t be seeing much of it again. You can, however, make cheap changes that make your home more marketable.
Whirlpool baths are up there with swimming pools. They’re great, but not for everyone, and if a buyer wants it, they’ll install it themselves.
A sunroom may sound like a great idea, while in fact it just doesn’t provide a very good return on investment.
When you think about landscaping, you shouldn’t ignore it because it does provide some curb appeal, but do so minimally in the sense that you focus on repairing smaller things and de-cluttering. Again, it’s one of the things where you think it might be a glamorous addition you’re making, and the buyer doesn’t appreciate it the same way, and then it just won’t add value to your home.
Do you plan on staying in the home for a long time? If so, a home addition might be just great, but if you’re selling, it’s an expensive endeavor that does not give you a positive ROI. Construction is expensive and you should rather consider doing it when you move somewhere where you plan on staying for a long time.
Cheap Ways to Increase Home Value with Home Improvement
The value of your home is also largely perceived by the buyer, and it does not always require that you empty your pockets to get things done. There are many things that can increase the home value very cheaply, and even some of them for free.
For instance, you can invent a new room. What does that mean? What that means is basically just that you use decorating to give buyers a better sense of what a room can be used for. That is one of the reasons why home staging is so important.
The more storage you can add to your home the better, assuming your home doesn’t already have an abundance of it. Often it can also be a matter of rethinking storage, as well as de-cluttering your current storage areas so they seem bigger.
Consider refinishing your cabinetry. If the current color seems very outdated, a coat of paint goes a long way. Make sure that they all open and pull out without issues. Often these are easy repairs that will give a buyer a better impression of the overall home.
You should also arrange seating in ways so that it makes better sense with your home. Got some spare room with no purpose? Why not decorate it so it becomes a nice little place to sit and talk?
Take a serious look at all the different things in your home and make sure they’re arranged the best way possible. This includes all the things that you may have put in storage, or which is currently put inside of your home without much thought. Give them new meaning, figure out how to arrange them correctly.
How to Increase the Value of Your Home
When you’re trying to increase the value of your home prior to selling it, we recommend you spend some time with the real estate agent, because they will know what sells. Make it clear to them that you want their recommendations on where you can put money and make more money than you put in.
Although the cosmetic upgrades will be the ones that you may see at first, there are many others that need to be addressed, and once the inspector comes in, all this will come out into the light anyway. This could be anything from a leaking roof to a termite infestation. When you get an offer, if you haven’t fixed these things, the offer will reflect it.
You should also go online and look at more homes similar to yours to find out how they have been made, and what inspiration you can get from them.
To increase your home value, you often have to think about spending less on utilities. For example, this could be a smart thermostat that lets you set the temperature different depending on whether you’re at home or not, which can help your home become more energy efficient.
Improving the air quality is not difficult, and there could be a ton of positive results as a consequence. For example, if the humidity in your home is too high, it leads to a bunch of bad things including allergens and potential for mold growth. It could also be that it’s just about time you replace those old carpets for some other flooring material that has less potential for keep allergens and other bad things.
You should also take measures to make rooms feel bigger. This includes the color pattern you choose as well as not stuffing over-sized furniture in there.
Maintenance is key. You spent a lot of money buying the place and if you now start slacking on maintenance you’re just throwing all that away, and your home will lose its value surprisingly quick.
Best Return on Investment Home Remodeling
The home remodeling projects with the best return on investment can be seen on the picture we attached earlier. Mind you, that those are averages, and the study only included major remodeling projects. When you go about remodeling your home, there are some things you should keep in mind that will help you get a better return on investment.
Research Each Individual Home Improvement Project
To get the best return on investment, we encourage you to look more closely at the advice regarding that specific type of project.
For instance, if you’re planning on replacing the siding, you will want to look at the different material options available and finding one that doesn’t have a higher maintenance requirement level than you feel okay with.
Choose Something That Complements the House
Whatever project you’re doing, when you want to raise the value of your home, it’s crucial that you try and stay true to the style through out the home. It can really quickly start looking messy if the garage door is contemporary and the rest of the house is very classic.
Think About the Impact on Energy-Efficiency
If you’re replacing appliances or other things, it often makes sense to go with the more efficient option. There are actually a lot of tax credits to encourage you to save electricity.
Not all materials are made equal and some require more frequent replacement than others. With good consideration when picking the materials, you’ll not just have something that increases home value but also lasts a long time.
Does the Climate Pose Any Limitations?
While you may want to undertake a certain home improvement project with a specific type of material, that just may not be good given where you live. If you live in an area with a lot of moisture, you will want to choose materials that are more moisture resistant, for instance.
How to Increase the Return on Investment with a Kitchen Remodel
We mentioned the importance of the kitchen before, and how it could actually be what ends up selling the home. Because of this, and especially if you plan on living in the home another couple of years before moving, a small kitchen remodel might make sense. With a minor kitchen remodel, you can expect to recoup 81%, on average, of what you invest, and even more if your current kitchen is in a horrible condition.
When remodeling, be sure to think about the different materials available and how much each of them cost. They should all be materials that people like, and not just your own weird preference. It’s never not allowed to ask someone if they think it’s a good choice or not.
For the kitchen, you should also think about the requirements you have for the appliances, how strong they should be and more.
It’s also important that you keep consistent with the different aspects of the project which is why you should generally buy appliances from the same brands, if possible.
We wrote a very extensive guide on kitchen remodeling that you can read too.
Should You Replace Carpet Before Selling Your House?
Whether or not to replace carpets when selling depends on their state and the opinion of the agent. Mildly used carpets may not need more than cleaning, while others are so long overdue that it’s horrible.
How Much Value Does a Pool Add?
As already mentioned, you don’t install a pool because it will make you money, you install it because you want it.
When that’s been said, there are times when you will recoup more of your investment when selling than others. For example, if your house is the only one in the neighborhood with a pool, it’s probably just not something that homeowners there care too much for. If instead you live in a neighborhood where everyone has one, then you’ll be seeing more of your money again when selling.
Naturally, there are also places where it makes more sense to install a pool than others. For instance, it would not be weird having a pool in Florida or Hawaii, while people living in Alaska might use a pool slightly less often.
Beware that installing a pool could also increase your taxes, as this is something you will want to think about if you’ll be staying at the house for a longer period of time, and something that a new owner would take into consideration too.
How Much Value Does a Finished Basement Add to Your Home?
Remodeling your basement is an easy way to add usable space to your home in a space that is often not being fully utilized. For example, it can be turned into an extra bedroom, or you could put that perfect man cave you always wanted in it. If the ceiling is high enough, you might even claim it as additional square footage.
Although it’d be great, you often won’t be seeing your full investment again in terms of increased home value. While it might be great for you, during an appraisal, an appraiser will likely not value it the same way as if it was above ground and got all the same sun light and more.
When done right, you can probably expect the basement finishing to an 70% of the cost in increased home value. You’ll only ever know when you talk to a pro and hear what they’re able to do.
How Much Value Does a Bathroom Add?
An additional bathroom is great, especially if you’re a growing family with bathroom capacity problems, but you are likely to not see it return your full investment when selling.
An additional bathroom or remodel will generally yield you an additional 55-70% recouping of your investment. Again, if you do remodel, make it in the same style as the rest of the house.
How Much Value Does a New Roof Add?
Again, it’s one of those decisions where there are a lot of different materials to choose from, and what is common in one state, or one neighborhood might not necessarily apply in another.
Home Energy Efficiency Improvements
There are many home improvement and remodeling projects that increase the energy-efficiency in your home as well as driving up the value of your home too. Besides being good for your electricity bill, these ideas are also great for making a change for the environment.
First of all, you need to ensure your home is sealed. That is both the roof and other places that might be leaking air. Get an insulation contractor to come and check it out and find all those nasty leaks that are causing your heating and cooling bill to be so high.
How old is your water heater? If it’s very old, it probably can’t compare to the efficiencies achieved by the units that are currently being made, and you should consider switching it out.
It’s not just your water heater that should’ve been switched out a long time ago, it could be more of your appliances. In fact, it is estimated that in the economy, 60% of the improvement in energy intensity is due to efficiency improvements, which in turn lead to enormous savings for consumers too, which includes home appliances.
When you look at swapping out appliances, you should generally start looking at the ones that consume a lot of electricity first, because that’s where the biggest potential for savings is. That generally includes the washing machine, freezer and refrigerator. You could be spending as much as $110 per year just to power a refrigerator, and that is simply if it’s more than a decade old, which a lot of fridges seem to be.
Below is a list of things to consider in your home that are all cheap to replace too, and will help you save on electricity. For example, instead of drying your clothes in the dryer, simply use a clothesline, and you’ll also be giving them the nice smell of the outdoors too.
Picture from Mother Earth News
Now you should know more about which home upgrades that pay off, and you can even get more home improvement ideas with this video.