Which items will add value to your home and help with resale when the time comes to sell? The answer is: "Only the ones that future buyers will also want and be willing to pay for." There are many different ways you can add value to your home by making small changes.
As a general rule, choosing the functional over the merely cosmetic and choosing neutral over unusual or exotic will pay at resale. Taste and current trends can also affect the value of an update. You want to make sure you are appealing to as many potential buyers as possible, so it's a good idea to keep it simple instead of making bold choices.
Which updates will add the most value to your home?
Many people consider things like a new roof or a pool when they think about adding value to their homes. Things have changed quite a bit over the last few years, leading to many buyers preferring things like energy efficiency or low maintenance yards. It's a good idea to make sure you are spending your time and money on things that will give you a good return, a quick sale, or a wider range of buyers.
Let's go through some areas of your home and see which areas can be tweaked to add some value to your home. Some of these ideas might shock you with how much of an improvement they can make to your final sale price. Use one or all of these great tips to make sure your home is selling for top dollar!
Clean it Up
This tip sounds like something that doesn't need to be said, but when we say clean, we mean DEEP clean. You need to make sure you are cleaning up everything in the home that you would regularly clean, but also all the things you might have been avoiding. Baseboards, blinds, fans, and cupboard tops are all notorious dust collectors, and you should make sure you get all of this out before you have people walking through your home.
The best way to ensure that your home is clean from top to bottom is to hire a professional cleaning company. These workers have the experience, supplies, and knowledge to clean the most stubborn areas in your home. They will also be able to see your home with a fresh set of eyes, which makes it much easier to spot areas that you might be overlooking when you do your regular cleaning.
TIP: You need to make sure your entire home (carpets, walls, windows, etc.) is shiny and fresh before you start showing it off to potential buyers, so schedule a cleaning just before your open house. If you’re choosing to paint, schedule your cleaning for after in case any significant messes need to be cleaned up.
Start With Your Yard
One of the best places to start for your improvements is the first thing that people are going to see. Updated landscaping will draw in buyers before they even walk through the door, and it's a great way to make people feel like the interior is well-maintained. Adding a small garden to your front yard is a great way to make the home feel welcoming, and it could increase the value of your home by up to 5 percent!
You need to make sure you are not going too overboard with your landscaping, as a large yard can be daunting to many people. Too many plants or exotic plants can be difficult to take care of, and people prefer a low-maintenance yard that they can handle all year long. Keep your landscaping to a tasteful minimum in order to attract as many people as possible by keeping your shrubs, trees, and grass trimmed and tidy.
TIP: If you want to make your home stand out, consider adding something unique like flagstone or a water feature to the front of your home. An exciting touch can make your home memorable to buyers who have been looking at houses all week.
Liven Up the Exterior
After you’ve completed your yard, you should move on to making the exterior of your home shine. You want to make sure the house's exterior doesn't look too old and dingy, so do whatever you need to do to give it some new life. You can clean it, paint it, or even reside it if the home requires it.
Curb appeal is essential to adding value to your home, so consider making some significant adjustments to the areas at the front of your home. Adding some new windows, new gutters, and bright-looking plants is an excellent idea if you are looking to draw the eye toward the home. You should also consider clearing out any larger tree branches that might be blocking the view of the home from the sidewalk.
TIP: If you’re doing a fun accent color for the trim or your door, carry that color throughout the front of your home to make it feel cohesive. If you have a fun purple door, add some violet flowers to the front yard and give your mailbox a coat of paint to tie the whole front area of your home altogether.
Fix Any Issues
Some homes have minor issues that you have just ended up living with for the past few years, but now is the best time to make sure they are fixed before a potential buyer can see them. Things like cracked windows, patched-up drywall, or damaged carpet may seem like small issues to you, but a buyer prefers a home that is move-in ready, which means they want to spend the least amount of time possible on extra repairs.
The more minor issues they see, the less likely they are to pay the asking price for the home. These repairs will likely run you a couple of hundred dollars, but it can sometimes mean the difference between a couple of thousands when it comes to the final sale, so it's a good idea to invest the time and money into getting them done.
TIP: If you find there are too many things to handle, or you don't have the time, hire a local contractor to deal with some of these issues for you. They have the tools, knowledge, and supplies to fix many areas of your home, and this will free up some of your time, so you can work on fixing up other parts of the house.
2) Brighten Up the Interior
When it comes to the interior of your home, you want to do everything you can to make the space feel larger and brighter. Start by going through your home and looking at the window treatments. Many times people have their curtains closed to keep their homes private or to block out the afternoon glare, so open them up to take advantage of that extra natural lighting.
Painting the interior is another great way to make the space look much brighter, and it's easy to use color to make the room look larger. Neutral tones are the best choice for your interior paint colors because it makes it much easier for the buyers to envision their own belongings in the space. A good paint job can add up to 5 percent to your final sale price, so it's well worth the investment to get your interior painted professionally.
TIP: If you have dark spaces or corners, use well-placed mirrors to direct the natural light toward the areas. You want the home to look as spacious as possible, and adding light is one of the quickest and easiest ways to create that illusion.
3) Make Some Updates
Update your kitchen and/or bathrooms with new flooring, appliances, or hardware to make it look modern and trendy. Whether you need a minor or major remodel, updating the kitchen or bathrooms in your home will yield a high return on investment. Stay timeless with your updates, but also pay attention to trends.
Lighting is another quick upgrade you can make that can change a room completely. Lighting is often overlooked when it comes to a redesign, and many people enjoy hearing that the lighting has been recently installed or redesigned. Many lights are simple to swap out, and they can change the entire look of the room, so this is an excellent investment to make if you want a significant impact.
TIP: If you’re unable to redo the lighting fixtures, then consider replacing the bulbs. People have started to enjoy smart home upgrades, and smart bulbs are a quick way to add some extra tech to your home. These can be easily installed, and they are relatively inexpensive, which makes them an ideal upgrade for those who are on a budget.
4) Create New Spaces
When you’ve been living in your home for a long time, you become well aware of how much extra space and storage your home has. You want to do your best to increase usable space, so look into clearing out any areas that have been designated as storage. There are plenty of great storage companies that can provide you with a container to temporarily store all of your junk until you end up moving.
Take these spaces and convert them into areas that have a function, like a game room, an office, or a guest room, instead of leaving them empty. It's much easier for buyers to picture themselves in a home with existing furniture. You should also consider staging your home professionally, as most staged homes sell for 5-15 percent more on their final listing price, and they typically sell about 40 percent faster.
TIP: If you don't have the money or time to convert a room fully, you can fake it for photos by using some boxes to build a faux guest bed and angling your photographs to show only the top. You can also look into hiring a "digital stager" who will edit photos of your home to give the illusion that it has been professionally staged.
5) Get Smart With it
We mentioned how smart home upgrades are a great draw for new buyers, and there are so many different places where you can add them. Look into upgrading some of your appliances with ones that are Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control them from anywhere. You can also upgrade your HVAC system to one that will help the user conserve their energy use by allowing them to monitor and control it from their phone!
Smart home upgrades are one of the easiest ways to attract buyers that are on the younger side, and it's a great way to increase the value of your home. Many people have started to look at things like high energy use when it comes to their new home, so they have started to lean away from pools or hot tubs that require too much energy. Upgrading any area of your home to reduce energy consumption is a great way to make the home more attractive to many different types of buyers.
TIP: Don't forget about adding some upgrades to your outdoors. A Wi-Fi enabled lighting or irrigation system can be very attractive to buyers who enjoy spending time in their yards. If you have ever considered upgrading your systems, now is the best time to do it.
6) Get Back There
Your backyard is one great place that can draw in many types of buyers, so it's a good idea to make some extra effort to give it a new look. Start by cleaning up any major debris or branches and consider adding some lights to make the space more accessible in the nighttime. You should also look at keeping the plants in your backyard to a minimum and make them as easy to maintain as possible.
If you have a garden, keeping it is a great idea, but you should make sure you clean it up a bit. People have started to be drawn towards gardening, and a well-maintained plot of soil can actually be incredibly attractive to some buyers. Keep your garden looking fresh and healthy, and you might end up getting more back on your final sale price.
TIP: If you have a garden with no plants, consider looking into some local species that will do well on their own. Talk to an expert at your local garden center about which plants will thrive in your climate conditions. They can usually give you some great options for plants that will grow with little to no effort so that you can create a minimalist garden.
Fence it In
If you have a large unfenced yard, then you should consider adding a sturdy fence to show off the size of the property while keeping the yard safe. Buyers with children or pets will be much more likely to buy a home with a fenced-in yard to ensure they can keep an eye on their loved ones.
A good quality fence will run you a few thousand dollars, but you will likely get that money back on your final sale price, and it will open up your buyer pool. It's also a great way to physically show where your property lines begin and end.
TIP: If you are building a fence or hiring a company to do it for you, you need to make sure you are within the local regulations. Some areas require a permit before a fence can even be placed, so make sure you are getting all of your legal ducks in a row before you start.
Get Decked Out
If your home has the space for a deck, you should consider installing one to bring in people who love to spend time outdoors. A deck can be a big undertaking, but a contracting company can usually build one within a few weeks. A new deck can add value by creating a focal point for the exterior of your home, and it's perfect for buyers who are interested in entertaining outdoors.
There are many ways you can build a deck, but a second-story deck is one of the most beneficial. These decks require a bit more work, but they look incredible, and they will make you the envy of your neighborhood. The upper area is excellent for barbecuing or enjoying some time in the sun, and the underside can provide shade for pets or storage for children's toys.
TIP: If you don't have the space for a large deck, try something a little smaller, like a pergola or a pavilion. The fantastic statement pieces can make your yard seem more welcoming and inviting for the buyer, and it also allows them to extend their time outdoors, which is a benefit many people are looking for.
Upgrade Your Appliances
If you have the money, upgrading your appliances is a great idea, and you might even end up getting it all back on your sale price. Upgrading appliances have become very important for those who want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and those who wish to reduce their energy costs. New appliances are designed to be energy efficient, or they have settings that allow you to switch from one or the other.
New appliances could add about 3-7 percent to your home's final sale price, and they will bring in a wide range of buyers. If you’re upgrading the appliances in your kitchen, you should think about doing some minor upgrades to the counters or flooring too. Updating an entire room is a great way to make the space feel modern and fresh, which is perfect for buyers who love spending time in the kitchen.
TIP: If you are getting new laundry appliances, you should also consider adding a bit more to the space or even putting them in their own laundry room. Cleaning has become a relaxing hobby for some people, and laundry rooms have become a huge hit with younger buyers. Adding some shelves and extra storage around the area is a great way to turn a boring washer and dryer into a luxury laundry room.
Finish Your Basement
There are so many homes with unfinished basements that are typically used for storage. Finishing these areas with proper framing, walls, and flooring might sound like a large task to take on before you move, but this extra space can add so much value to your home.
Keep in mind that basements typically have no windows or small windows, so these areas can't be considered an extra room after they’re finished (most states require a window large enough for an adult to quickly exit, along with a few other regulations, to consider a room livable). That being said, you can still advertise the extra space as something appealing. Basements are great places to put a kid's playroom, and many adults would love the idea of a movie or music room in their basement. Any extra space you can make in the home will be appealing to buyers who are looking for a larger home to spread out in.
TIP: If finishing your basement isn't in the cards for your timeline or budget, cleaning it and painting it will help the appearance quite a bit. Use concrete-friendly paint for the floors, and make sure to get out any dust or cobwebs that are lurking in the corners. If your basement is damp, consider adding a dehumidifier to the space to reduce the wet smell and feel.
There are so many things you can do to make sure that you get more buyers who are interested in buying your home as soon as possible. These tips and tricks are perfect for anyone who needs a bit of extra help adding some value to their home. Whether you’re on a time crunch or a budget crunch, these ideas can help make your home appealing, more memorable, and more exciting for potential buyers to see.