What you can do to increase your home value

Thinkstock/maxsattana photo
Thinkstock/maxsattana photo

When considering a home improvement either to make the home more suitable to your family’s needs or because you are looking to add value before you sell your home, you’ll certainly want to investigate what impact your improvements will have on the value of your home.

Not every home improvement project adds value to your home, and many projects that are undertaken do not add value equal to the cost of the project. We are often asked, “What are the best low-cost home renovations we can make that will make our home more comfortable while adding the biggest bang for the buck?”

First, consider the bones of the home.

While cosmetic improvements are always the most exciting as they leave a visual impact with the buyer, the “bones” of the home are critical. The interior systems of your home are often referred to as the “bones.” By interior systems, I am referring to both the structural and mechanical elements that when combined, make a house, especially the heating, plumbing and electrical systems that are the basic mechanical elements of the bones. Buyers today are looking for turn-key homes and typically are not looking to invest into a home that will require any repairs, upgrades or replacements after the purchase is complete.

Start with exterior repairs and replacements.

Many times repair and replacement projects can increase the value of your home more than an interior remodeling project. Repairing and replacing projects can also be the least expensive type of project and not break the bank.

Make sure the roof is solid.

In an older home, if the roof needs to be replaced, you’ll want to replace it before you try and sell it. On the other hand, replacing a roof is expensive. If there are still several years of life left in those old shingles, don’t replace the roof just yet.

Check the windows and doors.

The front door, the garage door, windows and even the siding should all be considered as worthwhile renovations. Today’s modern windows and doors offer both curb appeal and increased energy efficiency, making them a sound investment.

These improvements are not only efficient, but the added curb appeal will help sell your home quickly as well.

Landscaping should be tidy.

Your home does not need to look like it belongs on a magazine cover to have curb appeal. What it does require is a neat, well-manicured lawn, free from weeds. Add seasonal flowers to the planter areas and make sure any shrubbery is trimmed and looking good. Consider replacing it with a new flowering variety of shrubbery.

Add colored bark or stone to planter areas, keeping them looking clean and fresh.

Remember that curb appeal is all about first impressions – many times a potential buyer will just drive by a home that does not speak to them from the curb, or worse, the pictures used online to market the home.

Interior living space needs attention as well.

Your home interior is where you live and want to feel both secure and comfortable. There are many things to consider when choosing which project to take on. Even if your plan is to stay long term in your home, try and look at each potential project as a buyer would, coming through the house for the first time – what will their reaction be?

Inexpensive bathroom improvements go a long way.

Some realtors will argue that the bathrooms are the most important rooms in the house when it comes time to sell. No one wants to buy a home that is perceived to have a grungy bathroom, and there are a number of inexpensive replacement projects you can take on that will help give the bathroom some zing.

For under $100, you should be able to find a nice spa-style shower head. It’s amazing how everyone notices a nice shower head when looking at a home they are considering to buying.

Redo the bathroom floor with a neutral color tile for maximum resale value. Replace those dated plumbing and light fixtures – you’ll be amazed at how far a couple of hundred dollars can go in making a total transformation in this important room in your home.

While you’re at it, spend just a few dollars more and replace those dated towel bars and paper holders as well. If there is a window, then don’t forget the window treatment. Of course, you’ll want a fresh coat of paint, and this room is set.

Flooring should be fresh.

The first thing anyone notices when they enter a home is the flooring, after all everyone looks where they walk, right? What do your floors say? If the answer is “I am tired, I am worn-out; I am beat up?” Well, then it’s time for an upgrade.

The kitchen and bathrooms are two of the most important floors in the home. They should never be carpet or wood – water and wood just don’t go well together. Tile is always the best. Rip out that linoleum and tile it if you want to add value and appeal to a potential buyer.

About a decade ago, laminate flooring was the new hot thing in homes. Today they are common and not a viable substitute for wood floors. Remember, if you want top dollar from the sale of your home, the buyer is going to want top-end materials used throughout the home – you will when you go shopping for a new home, so give your potential buyers the same experience.

The kitchen is the very heart and soul of your home. Anything you can do to improve your kitchen will undoubtedly improve the value of your home. There are many minor projects you can take on that will add to the overall appeal and warmth of the kitchen. Start with a fresh coat of paint.

Consider new flooring, especially if you have vinyl or laminate. Tile is always best in the kitchen.

Just like in the bathroom, consider new plumbing and lighting fixtures to give the room a more modern and contemporary look. New kitchen cabinets are always nice, but if it’s not in the budget, look into resurfacing the existing cabinet doors and drawer faces. This update is much less expensive and will go a great distance at changing the overall appearance of the kitchen. Of course, you can sand down the cabinets yourself and add either a cost of paint or stain, giving them a new look. While it is a very labor-intense project, it is relatively inexpensive.

A very affordable trick is to replace the drawer pulls and cabinet knobs – this simple project is both quick and inexpensive and can go a long way at adding a new personality to a tired and worn room.

Today’s buyers almost always expect granite countertops or some other solid surface – never tile or linoleum, and they are one of the projects that will return with the highest offers for your home.

Create an open floor plan.

Newer homes today are typically built with an “open floor plan” or a floor plan that does not have interior walls defining individual rooms in the home. An open floor plan will create a flow throughout the home, which in, turn makes the home feel larger and offers more line of sight throughout the home. The style is perfect for both family living and entertaining.

If you have an older home, consider removing one or several interior walls. Of course, you’ll have to pull permits for this and verify that you’re not disturbing a load bearing wall. Electrical and plumbing considerations may also have to be made. While it can be a bit more expensive to open up a home’s interior, the benefits and appeal it will have to potential buyers is staggering.

Market your home for sale.

When it comes time to sell your home, you’ll want to maximize the improvements you’ve made and make every potential buyer aware of each one. You’ll want to show off all of your hard work and the capital improvements you’ve made. It’s important that every potential buyer who either comes to your home to preview it or is just surfing the internet is aware of everything you’ve done to the place. You’ll want to have a Realtor representing you that will provide marketing materials to show off exactly what you’ve accomplished. The improvements will influence the price you ultimately sell your home for, so it’s critical to showcase these changes to a buyer and influence them to decide what they will pay for your home.

Call us today, (951) 296-8887 and get the information you need enabling you to make an informed, educated decision. Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, [email protected] Mike Mason, Realtor® & Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate. LIC: 01483044, Temecula Valley resident for 30+ years, Board of Director (since 2011) Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).

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