Because real estate has always been a wise investment, it does pay off to indulge in a few home improvements in order to increase the value of your house. Indeed, in a rapidly evolving economy, real estate is the one industry that has sustained the test of time and financial breakdowns. Having said that, improving the value of a home is more than just heading over to IKEA to pick up a few accessories. While it may not be a necessarily expensive job, sprucing up your home does require some masterful arrangements and a few investments which will skyrocket its value, providing you with financial security for the future.
If you’re a complete beginner to home renovations, rest assured that capitalizing on home improvement is not necessarily a tedious task. All you need is some creativity and some light knowledge of redecorating trends. If you’re on a limited budget, it’s always a good idea to indulge in some DIY to cut back on costs. Another thing to remember is that decluttering always goes a long way into improving your interior. Bear in mind that you need a neat and clear space to work with so don’t hesitate to throw or give away anything you don’t necessarily need. Homeowners often neglect the basics such as covering the furniture with drapes and the floor with newspaper before starting a new paint job: not only will this make cleaning up easier but it will stop you from having to buy new pieces of expensive furniture prior to selling.
How to increase the value and how much can you expect to spend on it?
Regardless of whether you’ve just moved into a new place or want to improve your old house, you can- at any point- ensure its solid market value by making a plan to innovate and refresh it. Write down all the ideas that you might want to explore and make a brief overview of the rooms that do need sprucing up so it’s easier to go back to your notes a few weeks or months down the line. Also pay close attention to leaks- even minor ones- exposed popes and anything similar which can significantly bring down the overall value of your house.
While it is certainly possible to renovate a house on a budget, this task does get easier if you can afford to splurge. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Consult a professional
A professional designer or realtor can come in quite handy in providing the necessary tips and adjustments you might need to make to improve your home’s value. While most realtors can offer tips for free, home designers do require a fee which can be around $100 or less per hour, depending on where you live. These people are trained to spot out any imperfections which you might not notice or suggest improvements in terms of furniture placement, color palettes and the likes so it does pay off to consult with a designer.
Visually enhance the square footage of your house
It is a well-known fact that a house’s overall size directly influences its value. However, if your house is on the small side, it is also possible to visually increase its square footage by focusing on optical illusions that make rooms appear bigger than they really are. Light is your friend when it comes to opening up any room, therefore don’t hesitate to toss out heavy drapes in favor of pale-colored shutters or blinds. If you have too much clutter that you can’t get rid of, you might also want to invest in a sprawling shelving unit for around $300-$400 to stow away those items that don’t seem to belong in any particular room.
Don’t neglect the bathroom
There’s nothing like a large, luxurious bathroom to add some panache to a house. In fact, according to diynetwork, the two easiest rooms to spruce up are the bathroom and the kitchen. As far as money is concerned, renovating either one of these rooms can set you back around $750 or less. Try to focus on small albeit significant changes such as changing the tile and light fixtures or replacing aged plumping and vanity. If possible, try to focus on paler, pastel colors to open up the room. Alternatively, you can play around with sharp color contrasts such as white and black, green and pink and red and white, among others. These will instantly bring a contemporary and updated look to just about any room of the house.
With home owners- and potential home owners for that matter- becoming more and more environmentally conscious, owning an energy-saving home can instantly increase its value while enabling you to save up on a few bills. Admittedly enough, installing a solar water heater can cost between $5000 and $6000, but this can help you save up to 80% on your hot water bill, which is why these heaters are often regarded as long-term investments. Just be sure to have your solar water heater set up in a place where there’s unobstructed exposure to the sunlight. When buying a solar water heater, never neglect to read the fine print to ensure that you’re covered by a solid warranty.
By the same token, you might want to add some energy-efficient windows to boost the green status of your home. According to Energy Star, their environment-friendly windows can help you save around $500- if not more- per year when it comes to your cooling and heating bills. Replacing all the current windows in your house with Energy Star ones is undeniably a costly matter and can set you back anywhere between $7,500 to $10,000 but in the long run, you will be able to recoup your investment and start saving money.
Pay close attention to areas that are prone to leaks such as light switches, around windows and doors, electrical sockets, basements and attic hatches.
Adding a Deck
Given that more and more home decorating magazines are emphasizing on outdoor living spaces, it should come as no surprise that houses with decks and front porches tend to sell better than those without. According to the popular home renovation show, HGTV, the addition of a deck can actually help homeowners recoup up to 90% of their investments. Adding a front porch or a deck varies largely in terms of price since the overall cost will depend on factors such as the size, built-in seating, stairs, materials used and built-in flower beds, among others. In fact, this addition can cost anywhere between $2000 and $10,000.
Of course, some DIY can help you cut back on these costs but contrary to popular belief, deck construction may not be the easiest thing to do for beginners. For starters, you will undoubtedly need to invest in expensive tools such as band-saws. For this reason, some home-owners choose to hire a contractor to help them out. In this case, you might want to ask around and go on personal recommendation. If possible, it’s also a good idea to ask the contractor for past references in order to avoid home improvement repair scams. Some people also like to consult websites such as Angie’s List to hire a trustworthy contractor. Another easy way to boost the green factor of your home is to give your old lightbulbs a toss in favor of CFL ones which tend to consume at least 75% less energy than regular ones.
Go back to the basics
If you don’t feel like spending a lot of money to improve your home, don’t forget that a little does go a long way into bringing a fresh, edgy feel to just about any building. As HGTV points out, fresh lick of paint or new wallpaper can easily change the overall mood in a room. Replace wood that starts to rot or clear up any mold before investing in mold-resistant painting in order to ensure that the house always remains fresh-looking, regardless of when you decide to sell it. Similarly, if you live in a humid region, it’s a good idea to invest in coatings that will protect your painted walls, wood panels and wallpaper from mold and dampness.
If you’re intending on selling your house, be sure to regularly maintain both the exterior and interior to avoid large and sudden expenses when you finally snap up a client. Therefore, pay close attention to the plumbing and electric wiring and make replacements as soon as the need arises.
Landscaping and the Outdoors
As appealing as your home is from the inside, don’t forget that the outdoors is what will make a first impression on any prospective buyer. Consequently, it’s always a good idea to pay a professional landscaper who will bring a fresh and alluring look to your lawn. If you can’t afford a landscaper, you can also improve your garden by pruning any weeds and planting a couple of colorful plants that will contrast with the overall greenery. Still, it’s not always a good idea to go overboard and opt for super-expensive landscaping since the outdoors doesn’t normally add to your asking price, which means that you have very little scope of recouping any money you’ve spent on a costly landscaping plan.
According to a Cost vs Value report, just a few subtle albeit classy changes such as small trees and shrubs can easily increase your house’s value while helping you recoup at least a portion of your money when it’s time to sell.
Replace that Roof
Other than your front lawn, the roof is the one feature that will immediately strike your buyer’s eye. A new roof can also ensure that your home remains competitive, at least on the real estate market, since it prevents a plethora of issues such as mildew stains, mold and ruined walls, among others. However, while it will make your home more visually attractive, don’t expect to be able to raise your asking price just because you renovated your roof. According to the experts, home owners should only expect to gain back around 55% to 60% of their new roof. Still, it’s worth remembering that an old, crass-looking roof will instantly turn away potential buyers, hence the importance of regular maintenance and renovations.
Bring the Kitchen to life
The age-old saying that the kitchen is the heart of the house does have some truth to it. The kitchen is the one room that potential buyers will be sure to inspect when they first visit your house: how are the fixtures? Is the fridge close to the counter? How wide is the counter? Is there enough space for the family to comfortably circulate in the kitchen? These are all the questions that prospective clients will be asking when touring the kitchen so it does pay up to renovate the kitchen, even if you plan on only making some light changes to the rest of the house in general. When re-doing your kitchen, do bear in mind that it should match with the rest of the house. Consequently, if you have a Victorian-style home, an overly contemporary-looking American kitchen will look out of place and just plain awkward, regardless of how expensive the fixtures are.
Home-owners who can’t afford to spend a lot might want to look into mini-remodeling. This concept entails focusing on some small modifications which will instantly transform both the look and feel of the place. For example, instead of getting new cabinets, you can easily re-paint them in a faux wood finish at a fraction of the price. New tiles or carpeting can also go a long way into adding a touch of freshness to the kitchen.
What to Avoid
Improving your home to increase its value can be both an exhilarating and expensive experience, hence the importance of avoiding certain pitfalls to ensure that you don’t become a victim of common scams or spend more than you should.
The first thing to remember is that not all upgrades will lead to an increase in value. As this post lines out, a common misconception among home owners is that the addition of a swimming pool automatically entitles them to a higher asking price. However, the reality is that most families- especially those with small children and pets- might not necessarily want a pool in the yard for safety reasons. Also, swimming pools can cost anywhere between $3000 and $10,000, which means that you may not be able to recover this investment, even if the potential buyers do decide to purchase the house.
Similarly, installing a hot tub on the deck just to increase its value might not always work.
To avoid these pitfalls, you should first familiarize yourself with the elements that do add value to a home. Along with the above-mentioned renovations, the placement of your house is often an overlooked albeit just as important determining factor as far as the asking price is concerned. If you live in a nice neighborhood with well-manicured lawns and fresh-looking houses, for example, rest assured that this might actually increase your property value more than an expensive landscape or a fresh new roof.
According to Investopedia, as far as neighborhoods are concerned, it is additionally important not to overbuild your house so it stands in stark contrast to your neighbors’. For instance, if you decide to add a couple more stories to a house row of smaller, one-story buildings, you might actually bring down its market value instead. No matter how larger and more appealing the building now looks, potential buyers will not want to fork out $250,000 for a house in a $150,000-per-house neighborhood just because you decided to make a few additions.
Another feature that might lower the value of your home is wall-to-wall carpeting. While this type of interior decoration may feature in some home magazines, the truth is that not everyone might appreciate such a uniform- and frankly boring- look in their new homes. Each person has his or her individual taste when it comes to carpeting and yours might not necessarily match theirs. Additionally, installing wall-to-wall carpeting can be quite an expensive affair and these hurdles might make it difficult for you to recoup this investment.
Try to steer away from invisible investments as well. Projects such as installing new air conditioning, venting and heaving units or even fresh plumbing systems are all excellent improvements of course but at the end of the day, your prospective buyer will have no idea what you actually spent a small fortune on such renovations. In fact, clients automatically take these fixtures for granted.
Which improvements will bring the highest ROI
Having said that, there are admittedly a few home improvements which will yield a much higher ROI. According to Hanley Wood’s Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, not all projects are created equal and only one remodeling project out of 27 will actually provide an increase in value. As for the 26 other projects, they can yield an ROI that ranges between 56 % and 91%.
According to this same report, adding fiberglass to the renovations can significantly skyrocket your asking price. The report illustrates an example whereby a homeowner installed an attic fiberglass insulation system that cost him around $1268. This home owner was able to benefit from an ROI of 117%, or $1482.
Here are some other common home improvement ideas with a general approximation of their ROI:
• Manufactured Stone Veneer: Replacing vinyl flooring with stone veneer can cost around $7,519. Home owners can expect a return of 92.9% or $6988.
• Garage Door Replacement: Since the garage door is among the first things that a prospective buyer will see, it may pay off to replace your existing one with a fresher-looking one. Depending on the size and material, a garage door may cost around $1650 but you can expect an ROI of $1550 or 91.5%.
• Entry Door Replacement: Some people like to invest in a whole new front door when it’s time to sell the house in order to make an even better impression on the prospective buyers. The return value on a $1330 door is around 91% or $1200.
• Kitchen Remodeling: A mini kitchen remodeling can set you back for around $20,000. The return value is surprisingly unimpressive at 83%, or around $16,700. It is not advisable to go for large-scale kitchen remodeling since the return on these are quite low at 61.9%. In fact, if you spend around $122,000 on a complete kitchen renovation, expect to earn back around $76,000.
• Master Suite Addition: A common misconception among first time home sellers is that they need to add a whole new master suite to their existing house in order to increase its value. However, the truth is that master suites have among the lowest RIOS, with a return of only 59.9% which is only $150,000 on $250,000 of renovations.
• Bathroom Remodel: It’s always best to go for a bathroom remodel since an addition will only yield an ROI on 57.1%, while a complete remodeling has a slightly higher return of 59.1%. As a result, you can expect to gain back around $35,456 if you spend $59,979 on improving your existing bathroom.
Just before selling: tips and tricks
While renovations are highly advisable when it comes to increasing your home and property value, home staging is just as important in order to entice prospective buyers while helping them imagine a life within those very walls. The act of preparing a home- renovated or not- to make it more appealing to buyers, home staging can be considered an art in itself.
Below are a few tips and tricks to render your home and lawn more visually attractive before selling.
<h3>Favor a clean bathroom over a new one</h3>
If you can’t exactly afford to re-improve your existing bathroom, you can simply indulge in some deep cleaning to instantly boost its allure. Scouring your glass shower door with a mixture of water and muriatic acid, for instance, will give it the kind of clean look that only comes with new doors.
Since tiles are notorious for attracting grime between them, you can also paint over them if you don’t feel like scrubbing for hours. First, you need to cover the tiles with a high-adhesion and high-quality primer. Secondly, use a brush to add an epoxy covering to the tiles before finally painting them in the color of your choice. If you’re on the artsy side, you can also add some contrasting swirls or patterns on the freshly painted tiles.
If your bathroom is on the small side, just adding a mirror can automatically brighten and open up the space.
Free up Space
Regardless of how many improvements and renovations you brought to a house, all of it would be for nothing if you don’t clean up any unnecessary clutter or furniture prior to showing the home. An over packed hallway filled with large paintings, furniture and general clutter is a major red flag for prospective buyers so be sure to clear up as much floor space as you can prior to the showing. The idea here is to show the buyers what they can do with the interior.
Similarly, don’t hesitate to discreetly draw your buyer’s attention to potential storage spaces. Neat- or even empty- closets, cupboards, cabinets and empty shelves are all elements which will automatically draw a personalized picture of the place for each individual person who visits your house.
Make clever use of Colors
An extremely easy way to stop traffic or create separations in small spaces is by making clever use of colors. A row of brightly colored flowers in copper pots arranged on a windowsill goes a long way into bringing a fresh, airy feel to any room. Faux finishes, freshly-planted flowers on the front lawn and differently-colored walkway pavers will go a long way into staging your house for viewing.
Depersonalize your Home
We all like to hang our memories on the wall or put up special keepsakes on the mantelpiece but while these items mean a lot to you, they can leave a potential buyer feeling like an unwanted visitor in the place. Therefore, experts recommend that you put away any such objects and try to depersonalize your home as much as you can before the showing. A neutral setting will help the visitor mentally personalize the space in his or her head, which radically improves the chances of finding a buyer. Because the bathroom and the kitchen tend to be more functional and utilitarian, it’s best to depersonalized spaces such as the living room and bedrooms.
Aromas and Odors
The oldest trick in the staging book, aromas and odors go a long way into creating an inviting feel which can create enticing illusions of a cozy home life in the visitor’s mind. Before you get out the Pot-Pouris and scented candles, be sure to rid the house of any odors related to food, pets and cigarettes. Invest in some high-quality freshener since these don’t tend to have the lingering chemical after-scent which cheaper ones tend to leave behind. Scents such as peppermint, orange, bergamot, grapefruit, rose and lime tend to have a universal appeal.