How to Increase Your Home Value
Many home owners want to know their home value in an unpredictable market, whether they want to sell, refinance, or just satisfy their curiosity. Here is a list of some things that are known to either slightly or significantly increase your home market value.
Home value is determined mostly by recent sales. If a recent sale in your area has sold, and did not have many of the things on the list, many factors will determine whether or not your home could sell for higher. Factors to generally consider in home valuation are square footage, acreage, style, amenities, and improvements and upgrades in each home. If you believe you may already owe more on your mortgage than what the home is worth, talk to a real estate professional before spending a dime if you’re consider selling. A broker who is worth their weight in gold can make good suggestions on what to spend money on to increase value, and whether it’s worth it or not. This list is a general guide for improving the aesthetic appeal as well as improving the market value and saleability of your property.
Increase Your Home Value (Exterior)
Curb appeal is an important part of home value. Follow some of these steps to make sure you’ve maximized your chances for a higher home value. Choose the most important features to improve before taking on costly projects. Make a list of things in order of least to most importance.
- Paint & repair front porches that are peeling, faded, cracked or have broken steps, railings or ballisters.
- Repair any broken fencing.
- Repair unsightly sidewalks and walkways if severely damaged or eroded. Weed between pavers.
- Replace broken gutters or secure loose sections, and clean any clogged gutters. Steer gutters away from house using elbows and water diversion products.
- Roofs: If your roof is at the end of it’s life, a new roof will increase your value. However, if the roof has several years left on it, it’s not necessary to replace the roof. Repair any leaks though, which should be done anyway to prevent further damage.
- Replace or properly secure any loose siding.
- Paint front door if peeling or faded.
- Tidy garages, patios and decks and rid of clutter.
- Stain, paint, or pressure wash any peeled, faded or tired looking decks.
- Add potted plants to front porches.
- Take pride in landscaping, and add beautiful flowers and potted plants to decks and porches.
- Repair chipped or peeling paint around windows.
Increase Your Home Value (Interior) – General List
- Fix leaks or water damage, or repair any damage from previous leaks including stained ceilings, water stained cabinetry, or basement damage.
- Replace any old carpet with fresh new, neutral carpeting.
- If you have hardwood floors, remove carpeting to expose the wood. It may need to be refinished, or it may be in beautiful condition.
- Paint any outdated or overly dark or bright colors with neutral, warm paint colors.
- Replace broken tiles.
- Cover over old linoleum with nice, neutral beige sticky tiles from a home improvement store, if you want to avoid cost of ceramic.
- Repaint or restain window trim if it’s aged or peeling.
- Replace or repair loose doorknobs, fixtures or cabinet hardware.
- If you choose not to renovate the entire bathroom you can tackle the job in simpler steps:
- Reglaze outdated tubs in neutral colors.
- Update fixtures.
- Update old flooring with neutral or modern flooring.
- Replace vanity if it’s outdated.
- Thoroughly clean or regrout tiles, floors or tubs if discoloration has occurred.
- Any areas of water seepage or basement leaks should be addressed, and never hidden. Hiding defects such as severe basement flooding can potentially result in a lawsuit.
- Repair any broken glass in egress windows.
- Properly remove any mold with bleach and water mixture. Excessive mold infestation requires proper remediation to prevent problems in the future.
- Basements should not show signs of pest or rodent infestation. However, generally this does not harm or lower market value.
- Boilers are big ticket items. While they may not prevent a sale, it is advisable that they’re in proper working order. Service them on scheduled visits by your preferred professional. A new furnace will be attractive to the buyer, however, if other factors of the home require more serious attention, replacing a boiler may not be as important. Of course, if it’s on it’s last leg, it’s possible that a buyer may reduce their offer in lieu of this.
- Water heaters & softeners should be in good working order.
- Electrical service should be up to code. A new electric service will entice a buyer that much more if the rest of the home is in good condition with several bonuses. Standard updated electric service is 200 amp service. However, many smaller homes can operate just fine on 100 amps or 150 amps. Old circuit breakers should be replaced if they’re hazardous. An honest, reputable, licensed electrician should advise you on this. Ask friends and family for recommendations.
If you’re unsure as to whether to make certain changes, remember that an honest and reputable real estate broker can usually give you good advice. Not all homes will require the same emphasis to be placed on specific items or features, so remember to spend wisely and don’t invest more than your home will allow. If you’re looking to increase your home value, it is always important to take care of the most important aspects first, taking care to budget each project wisely.
Jill Doppel has 15 years of full time experience in the real estate industry. She is the President and managing Broker of Ambassador Properties, based in Millbrook, New York. Suggestions offered on how to increase your home value may vary on a case by case basis.