Recent news suggests that due to rising mortgage rates, a labor shortage, building fees, regulations, and other factors, there may be fewer homes for sale in the near future. This can mean a quick and easy sale if you decide to sell, or that you may find yourself unable to find the right home, and that you must stay in your current home longer than you had planned.
Any real estate pro will tell you that making improvements to your property can increase its resale value. While the amount you need to invest is dependent upon the condition of your home and the current market, note that some renovations are DIY while others require the help of a professional.
- Take care of the landscaping and curb appeal. Unless you have a green thumb (and some spare time), it may be worth spending a few hundred dollars for a landscaping company to clean up your lawn, and/or replace lawn with drought tolerant landscaping. At the very least, trim the hedges, get rid of weeds, mow the lawn — or replace with new sod if it’s patchy. If you’re going for the wow factor, plant mature trees to give the aura of an established home.
- Don’t dismiss other pertinent outdoor details. Small changes such as replacing an old front door, power washing the siding (if applicable), repairing cracked concrete on the perimeter of the foundation and re-paving — or replacing with cobblestone — the driveway are details that may not seem important, but will catch the eye of a potential buyer and give it greater curb appeal.
- Fresh paint equals appeal. At an average of $25 a can, perhaps one of the most cost-effective DIY projects you can do is freshly painted rooms — just don’t go too crazy with the color. The majority of people looking at a new home find neutral hues more appealing.
- Tend to the roof. Not only is a damaged roof an eyesore, but it signals future water damage, which will only cost the new owner more money down the line. It is best to handle basic maintenance first, such as installing a new roof, or getting repairs and a roof certification before sinking money into other improvements that a leak will surely ruin.
- Create more open space. Keep in mind that the amount of interior space — even from just a visual perspective — can greatly affect the value of your home. Do away with heavy drapes and bulky furniture while adding mirrors to create the illusion of a larger room. Consider replacing standard windows with French or sliding doors to allow for more light while giving the room a larger feel.
- Add energy-efficient tweaks. Research shows that making lighting and electricity more energy efficient can result in a savings of anywhere between 30 and 80 percent, which can add 20 times the annual savings to the value of your property. Renovations can include anything from a whole-house fan versus air conditioning (they use one-tenth of the electricity) to a solar water heater than can reduce hot water bills by as much as 80 percent, or as simple as installing LED lighting.
- Consider going green. Dated linoleum and worn-out carpeting aren’t going to attract any buyers — but replacing your flooring with environmentally friendly bamboo will. Not only are solid-surface floors easier to keep clean, but eco-friendly materials are currently a big selling point for buyers concerned with the environment.
- Kitchen and bath remodels are key. Most real estate experts will agree that one of the biggest returns on investment you can make is with a revamped kitchen to the tune of 80 to 85 percent on every dollar spent. Luxury touches such as custom cabinets, energy-efficient stainless appliances and granite countertops draw attention, especially if the kitchen was extremely outdated before the remodel.
In terms of a bathroom, small renovations such as updating door knobs, plumbing, the vanity and perhaps ‘70s metallic wallpaper can go a long way. While the average cost to remodel a kitchen ranges from $12,317 to $34,478, the fact that you recoup almost all of the cost when you sale makes it an expense worth taking on.
Before doing anything, It’s not a bad idea to hire a financial planner to help you plan a strategy for protecting your investment. It’s important to know if you should refinance to lower your monthly payments, or pull out some equity to pay for improvements that will ultimately add value to your home. In terms of improvements, make a fair assessment of your home and consider the checklist of things that you’d be looking for as a buyer.
This article was written by Seth Murphy, an avid do-it-yourselfer, and guest-blogger for myfolsom.com.
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