How to Increase Your Home Value

A home is often a person's biggest investment. When you're thinking of selling, it makes sense to select improvement projects carefully. Choose ones that will boost your home's value rather than spending money on expensive remodeling that may not attract buyers. Experts agree that some fixing-up is in order before you put your house on the market, but you may be surprised at how little money is needed to increase your home's resale value.

Clean and Declutter

Removing excess furniture, decorations and personal effects makes your home look and feel more spacious. Think of the stripping-down process as depersonalizing your space so potential buyers can imagine themselves living in it. To free up space, store family photos and memorabilia in the attic or in a rented storage unit. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to make the house sparkle and remove any pet odors.

 

Freshen Up

Painting your home pays big dividends. "The easiest and most inexpensive recommendation is a fresh coat of paint, both inside and out, using contrasting but neutral colors between the walls and trim," says Monique Young, a real estate broker in Walnut Creek, California, of more than 28 years.

"If a homeowner is planning on putting the property up for sale, consult an agent to help with color choices, so it’s something that will appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers," says Young. You can save money by doing this yourself, but professionals may be faster.

 

Clean Up the Yard

When you consider how many people drive past homes for sale before deciding which ones to tour, it's easy to see why beautifying your yard can help increase its market value and curb appeal. Mowing the lawn is essential, but other yard work — like trimming large shrubs, raking up leaves, getting rid of the remains of old plants and power washing sidewalks and patio furniture — can reap big benefits. If you're lucky enough to have mature trees in your yard, take care of them. According to Young, they add substantially to a property’s appeal, even if the rest of the landscaping is simple.

 

Spruce Up the Kitchen and Bath

Updated kitchens and baths also add value to your home. You may want to hold off on any major renovations if you're putting it on the market soon, so consider small but important upgrades that add a contemporary aesthetic to the rooms, like installing shiny new faucets.

Tackle minor repairs that could give a potential buyer pause, like fixing loose light fixtures and removing stains and burns from countertops. Other important, but inexpensive, upgrades include applying that new coat of paint and replacing cabinet hardware and curtains.

 

Lighten Up

Light makes your house come alive, so do whatever you can to brighten your home. New light fixtures not only spiff up the look, but can also focus attention on architectural details that might otherwise go unnoticed. Every home has distinctive elements that deserve emphasis with the use of track lighting, floor lamps or new wall and ceiling fixtures.

Natural lighting is also appealing, so fix broken panes, make sure windows open easily and remove anything blocking windows or skylights. To increase your home's natural light, consider installing sun tubes. These fixtures, which are less expensive than skylights, funnel natural light indoors from a globe-capped hole cut into the roof.

 

Mistakes to Avoid

Not all home improvements increase the value of your home, some can actually decrease it. Young warns against custom upgrades that might not appeal to everyone's taste.

"Homeowners should decorate their home in a way that works for them, but those custom green blinds, expensive light fixtures and that unique kitchen backsplash all will probably have less appeal to anyone else and may negatively affect its value or desirability in the future."

If you're thinking of selling in the near future, consider turning that fun home project into something that can pay off down the line.

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