Icon of a home showing increased value

Increase the Value of Your Home: Simple Steps You Can Take Today

Sometimes increasing your home’s value isn’t as simple as a fresh paint job.

Why Add Value to Your Home

Different people see their homes differently. For some, it is a sanctuary or a refuge. For others, owning a home is a source of pride and a testament to their hard work. Others may view the property as an investment to fix up and sell for a profit.

No matter how you see your home, the fact is that an increase in value is a good thing. It can make you feel good now, increase your equity, and speed the sale of your home when that day comes in the future. In this home improvement guide, we’ll review the number one reasons to make those upgrades and discuss some simple ways to get started. Your home value will increase in no time!

Before You Get Started

Ready to dive right in and make some changes? Hold onto your horses! There are a few things you should take into consideration first. Careful planning now will maximize the return on your investment.

A home inspector or an appraiser can be a helpful resource in the home improvement process. A professional eye can tell you which repairs or upgrades will have the most significant impact on your home’s value. A realtor who is familiar with the area can tell you what the local market looks like and which features are most desirable. Tools like Zillow and Realtor.com can also be helpful for scoping out which houses sell fast and at or near their listing price. All this information should inform your choices as you plan a home improvement strategy.

According to Statista, homeowners spent a whopping 407 billion dollars on home improvements in 2019. As you plan to contribute your piece of that pie, you’ll still want to get the biggest bang for your buck. Just as when you purchase a home, you should consider what kind of budget is available for these projects before you commit to one (or several). Materials and tools can add up fast, and it’s easy to get carried away. Without a budget in place, you might find yourself spending more than you can comfortably afford.

Once you’ve determined the scope of the work you want to complete and the total cost it’s likely to incur, it might take a little time to save up first. Setting the funds aside will alleviate some stress and help you stay on track financially. Below are some other things to consider.

Not Considering the Market

  • You should familiarize yourself with the market comparisons for your neighborhood. These comparisons can help you maintain reasonable goals. You don’t want to spend more than what you would get back if you were to sell tomorrow. For example, if an average home sells for $270,000 and you still owe $230,000 on your mortgage, you won’t want to spend more than the difference ($40,000) on renovations.

Over-Personalizing Your Home

  • It’s your home, and you probably want it to look and feel a certain way. However, personal touches that are too personal – like garish paint colors or overly funky fixtures – could turn away potential buyers. Of course, this is more important if you plan to sell in the near future. If this is your “forever home,” go bananas!

Disproportional Upgrades

  • Giving a home a make-over that stands out from the rest of the neighborhood might generate some interest, but overdoing it can hurt your curb appeal. Keeping your look unique but within reason is usually the best approach.

Improvements That Add the Most Value

If your goal is to increase your home’s value quickly to sell or apply for a refinance on your mortgage, it’s best to focus on less complex and more affordable improvements. While dramatic changes like adding a room or renovating a kitchen add significant value, they can be costly and the short-term return on your investment is considerably less.

Small Projects with Big Gains

While your ROI will ultimately depend on market conditions and how much you are willing or able to invest, the safest option is to limit your scope. Small projects are easier to tackle on your own, thereby saving money and giving you valuable experience in hands-on home makeovers. Don’t let the work intimidate you – you might be pleasantly surprised by how simple it is to fill in a hole in a wall or install a new toilet. Instructions and helpful hints are readily available online and at your fingertips.
One suggestion to get your feet wet is a fresh coat of paint on interior walls. This is perhaps the easiest, quickest, and most accessible improvement you can make today. The upgrade to your home environment and the new shine makes your space more attractive and makes a good impression on potential buyers. For just the cost of a can of paint and a few brushes, you’re on your way to a great ROI. But be warned – the fresh paint might inspire you to shop for new bedding, throw pillows, or curtains!

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

Perhaps the easiest, quickest, and most common improvement people make to their home is adding a fresh coat of paint. Repainting a wall or room upgrades your environment and gives it a new shine. Even simply painting the trim or molding can add a lot to your home’s appeal and make a significant impact on a buyer’s impression. Aside from the paint cost, this project is relatively cheap, with a large return on your investment.

Focus on Curb Appeal

A Porch research survey found that 61% of homeowners working on their home mainly focused on exterior improvements, and with good reason. Most industry professionals will explain that a person’s first impression of a house often impacts the rest of the tour. While bad curb appeal could influence the final decision, having outstanding curb appeal could mean that buyers forgive imperfections.

Adding a stone veneer to the front of your home can give it an elegant and attractive new look. Stone veneers are usually applied to the bottom half of the siding, typically around the garage. The extra layer of stone can also help protect from damage and provide a bit of insulation. It sounds very involved, but the project is relatively simple. You can find YouTube how-tos or ask for help from your local home goods store.

70% of realtors agree that installing a new garage door helps sell a home faster. Your garage door is often the first thing people notice when arriving at your house. Replacing it can give a boost to your curb appeal and your value, and with an average cost of $1200, it is a relatively affordable upgrade. Just remember our rule about not overdoing it. You can never go wrong with a classic garage door!

Landscaping is an important selling factor and can significantly impact the value of your home. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive ways you can spruce up even the shabbiest of yards! If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, planting a tree can be an excellent investment. Not only does it provide life and aesthetics to your landscape, but it also provides shade in the summer and can help reduce your energy costs. For a more short term solution that can impress potential buyers, you can install a flower bed or replace existing foliage if it has seen better days. The added color can be transformative!

At a minimum, cleaning up your yard is free. Even if your lawn isn’t the nicest, ensuring it is free of weeds and trash or a fresh trim can make a huge difference. Trimming trees and other shrubberies can add to this clean look and show that you maintain the home.

Soft Remodel the Kitchen

One of the best places to start your home improvement is the kitchen. It can make your home more comfortable to live in and is one of the most important rooms for potential buyers. While a complete renovation can range from $10,000 to $40,000, a soft remodel can be done with less than $1,000.

Though they can be costly, upgrading appliances can immediately increase your kitchen’s look, feel, and function. If you plan on staying in your home, it may be wise to upgrade appliances one by one, starting with the highest priority item on your list. Eco-friendly options are a fantastic choice since they can save money on energy costs and are kinder to the environment. If you’re selling soon, it’s safe to say that those shiny new appliances will catch a buyer’s eye.

Those with a larger budget may consider replacing cabinets and countertops with brand-new purchases. However, you can make some of these upgrades yourself with some common tools and elbow grease! Simple changes, like replacing knobs and hardware or even removing the doors, sanding, and staining, are relatively simple and can be accomplished quickly and affordably. It brings new life to your kitchen and can save you thousands while adding value to your home. You can also purchase new cabinets and countertops and install them yourself, but this is usually not recommended unless you have the proper tools and experience.

Light fixtures are an easy win for your home improvement goals. Not only are they simple to replace, but they can also help your house stand out in buyers’ minds. Beware when dealing with any electrical connections, however. If you are not familiar or comfortable with wiring, do not try to replace fixtures yourself. Hire a licensed electrician to keep you and your home safe. Even if you are not a skilled electrician, merely replacing the lightbulbs in the house with LED or CFL bulbs can up your value. If anything, they will save you money in the long run!

Upgrade a Bathroom

Dated bathrooms are a turn-off for most buyers and hurt your home value, especially when toilets are high flow from the 1950s! To keep your bathroom up to date, Decorsnob recommends remodeling every 4-5 years. Thankfully, you have a few options for updating your bathroom on a budget. You will want to focus on these upgrades first.

Like the kitchen, new light fixtures or lightbulbs can change the bathroom presentation and increase your home’s value. But swapping out the bathtub or shower fixtures as well as the sink is just as easy and can complete your bathroom transformation for only a couple hundred dollars. Pair that with some new towel or curtain rods and a new shower curtain, and your bathroom will be ready for any buyer!

If you own an older home, this could be a must. An older toilet will date your bathroom and cost you money in excess water usage. They also aren’t known for being comfortable. A quality low-flow toilet is available at most big box stores for about $100, making it an affordable replacement that you can likely do on your own.

Replacing a vanity can be a big undertaking that costs a few hundred dollars. The upside is that it’s a worthwhile investment that adds valuable storage space, creates a better aesthetic, and can give your bathroom an utterly modern transformation. Switch outdated mirrors or medicine cabinets that would lack appeal for potential buyers, and keep in mind that, just like kitchen cabinets, you can also sand, stain, and replace hardware for a budget-friendly bathroom update that will pay off.

Create More Space

Homes that feel bigger may sell at higher prices. The reason is simple: appraisals and comparative analyses of housing markets utilize square footage to determine the value of homes in a specific area. If you can add to your home’s square footage through the addition of a new room, you might see a drastic increase in your home value.

The drawback is that an addition is a major renovation project that can be costly. It’s also likely to be outside the scope of what a handy homeowner can accomplish independently. Outside of building out, you can take steps to create the perception of more space. Make a room feel larger than it is by hanging mirrors, keeping it uncluttered, and ensuring that windows are clean and uncovered to let in as much light as possible.

Go Green

This is what we call a win-win-win. Good for Mother Nature, good for your wallet, and enticing to potential buyers. Environmentally friendly options are wonderful investments that increase the value of your home while reducing energy costs, which puts money back in your wallet. If you plan to sell, it also signals that you have taken thoughtful care to maintain and modernize the property.

Did you know that green home features have existed for hundreds of years? (with good reason)? They deliver an economic and ecological way to keep your home comfortable. As an added bonus, energy-efficient upgrades often can come with some great tax incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of helpful financing programs geared towards eco-friendly upgrades, like the Freddie Mac GreenCHOICE program. Curious? Reach out to an On Q Financial, LLC Mortgage Consultant to learn more.

Energy-efficient windows are a major plus for your home listing and your home comfort. Low E windows are designed to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer, effectively lowering your energy usage. Some of these windows are even Energy Star certified and can qualify for “green tax credits.” While the up-front installation cost can be high, these windows will pay for themselves over time through monthly savings and, eventually, an increased sale price. If you are budget-conscious, you might consider replacing one window at a time, assuming you are planning to stay put for a while.

Not all homes are built the same, and over the years, insulation has changed dramatically. Insulation is more than just pink fluff in your walls; it serves a vital purpose for your home, giving it the crucial ability to shelter you from the environment. However, over time, your insulation can wear down, or you may want to opt for more efficient insulation. Many companies offer insulation services in which they evaluate your home and seal cracks, replace worn weather-stripping, and even re-insulate your walls. While not immediately visible, this upgrade is one homeowners often overlook.

“Smart” devices in the home may seem like a fad or gimmick, but the truth is that they can make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Even if you do not plan to sell your home, the savings a smart thermostat can provide should be enough to convince you to shell out the $100 some cost. With features like automatic adjustments and room-specific heating and cooling, you could save more than you would think in energy costs every year. This is one small upgrade that could pay for itself within the first year!

How Can You Pay for Home Improvements?

We have covered a variety of ways to improve and upgrade your home. While all of these suggestions would likely increase the value of your home, you may not have the cash readily available for many.

If you are able, you should include home improvement as part of your budget. Knowing you have money set aside expressly for upgrades could make you more likely to complete them.

Aside from saving, however, you do have other options. While you could apply for a personal loan or a new credit card with a promotional interest rate, there are loans designed specifically for home improvements and upgrades. On Q Financial, LLC offers home renovation loans that can get you into the home you want with any needed repairs rolled in. This could apply to refinance as well. Rather than selling your home, you could refinance and include the costs of any upgrades or changes you would like in the loan. Similarly, Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation loans offer flexible options for upgrades and repairs.

Talk to a mortgage consultant today!

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