How to Increase Property Value with 10 Home Improvements

Relocating for work?  Are your kids financially secure to where you know they won’t boomerang back home any time soon?  Do you need more space or are ready to downsize and clear out the clutter in your life?  Do you just need a change of scenery in life?

At some point in life, the above questions may surface, which leads to an even bigger question:  What can I do to increase property value of my home for resale? The bottom line answer depends on how old your home is and what shape it’s in.  One of the first things you can do is search on any major real estate website, such as Remax or Long and Foster to get an idea for home values in your area.  A great app that you can download to your smartphone is Zillow, which provides easy to find listings of all homes currently for sale as a well as recent homes sold in your area. 

Some of the home improvement programs on HGTV or the DIY network, such as Property Brothers, Flip or Flop or any of the “Crasher” shows reflect the current styles folks look for in a previously owned home.  This is a good place to start when researching how to increase property value, but the best thing you can do is consult with at least two to three qualified realtors in your area who are always happy to walk through your home and will give you an honest opinion about how to improve your home.

Why two to three realtors?

When you rely on just one realtor, you’re getting one person’s perspective, who may have tastes and views that radically differ from your own.  While most realtors tend to be objective, some allow their personal views to filter the advice they provide.  Getting two to three opinions about your home helps identify the core actions you need to take to prepare your house for selling.

The good news is that not all home improvements are major ones and some of them, while inexpensive, can easily add value to your home and recoup your additional investment.  Here are some worth considering on how to increase property value.

home inspection

How to Increase Property Value Inside Your Home

Make Your Kitchen Sparkle

The first room that most homebuyers checkout when buying a home is the kitchen.  Make sure to keep this area clean and free from clutter as well as updated, particularly if your home is more than ten to fifteen years old and your appliances are the original ones.

If you’re like me and have every appliance under the sun, the first thing you need to do is organize your counters to eliminate clutter.  Yes, we all have them, but homebuyers prefer to see fewer of them when they are in a position to buy and spend money.  Unless you really use these appliances daily, put them away or pre-pack them for your move.  A home that looks lived in helps buyers imagine what it will be like should they buy your house; however, too many items just scattered about on the counters is a major turnoff (plus, they will think you’re a slob and tell their friends!).

Some easy ways to update your kitchen are replacing the faucets, adding new cabinet drawer pulls, updating your lighting fixtures (trust me, no one likes those nasty fluorescent lights—if you have them, swap them out!), and resurfacing your cabinets.

The good news is that you can do all of these things on your own.

If you’re the proud owner of truly ancient appliances, prepare to update some or all of them in order to sell your home.  One of the initial turnoffs to potential buyers is the realization that your kitchen needs a lot of work and that they’ll have to invest in time and money to make your current one look like the kitchen they desire.  However, before going overboard with what to buy, talk with your realtor and do some research before making your purchases to find appliances that will fit your current space.  I recommend Consumer Reports or home improvement programs as a great place to do some research on the most affordable and reliable appliances on the market.

Buff Up the Bathroom

Aside from the kitchen, homebuyers make a beeline for the bathrooms.  Sometimes all your need to do to improve the look and feel of the bathroom is change your toilet seats.  However, if your cabinets are in rough shape or your sinks are rusted, you may need to invest in some new counters.  Truth be told, a pedestal sink is actually easy to swap out and if you have any DIY DNA in you, you can do this yourself.

If your tub and shower look bad, you can easily re-grout them.  If you have cracked tiles, replace them.  There are many great products on the market you can purchase to cover up a dingy tub without having to refinish the bathroom tile or tub.

The important thing here is to keep the bathrooms spotless and make sure they look presentable!

Finish the Basement

If you’re selling your home and your basement is still unfinished, consider taking this on prior to putting your home on the market.  Yes, this can be a pricey endeavor, but most homebuyers tend to want to see a finished space as opposed to major home improvement project waiting for them the minute after they go to closing.  I’ve seen a lot of homeowners take tons of pictures of their homes for placement on the real estate sites and yet choose to leave out snapshots of an unfinished basement.  Trust me, no one likes that surprise moment when they head downstairs and start visualizing just how much it will cost to make their dream home a complete one!

If it’s not in your budget to do this, be honest when you describe your home to the public so they know what they’re stepping into when they visit your property.  Yes, there are some buyers who will buy a previously owned home with an unfinished basement; just don’t hide the basement until they’ve set foot inside your home.

Create Storage

People love knowing there’s a place for everything in a home.  Anything you can do to create some additional storage will help sell it.  If you’re a clothes horse or a shoe wh—err—enthusiast—and you know WHO you are, the first thing you need to do is clean out your closets so that they look organized.  Messy closets are an eyesore!  Remember, that if you have an open house, your neighbors will be among the first to arrive to see what your home looks like; do you really want them to think you’re the biggest slob on the planet?

In all seriousness, many older homes may not have the space to expand closets or build new ones.  If that’s your home, consider redesigning the storage space you have.  I love the Container Store as they sell a lot of great products you can use to easily redo your pantry, your clothes closets or create spaces within existing rooms for additional storage.  As we’ve seen with some home improvement programs, there are also some great companies, such as Closet Stretchers,  who can work wonders to create additional storage inside your home!

Add Insulation

If you’ve been in your home for a while, odds are your insulation has settled and you may be letting in too much hot and cold air or losing it when it matters.  Energy efficiency has become the new norm and most potential buyers now look for ways to save when it comes to utility costs.  If you haven’t noticed them lately, more and more homes now have solar panels on their roof as the savings from this alternative energy now prove to be a sound investment.

The good news is that updating your home to save energy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  We’ve had a lot of clients spend under a $1,000 who end up saving $2,500 or more each year just by making some changes. You can easily rent a machine to add extra insulation to your attic for $500 or less, which can save hundreds each year on utilities.  Having documentation that supports this can make your home instantly more valuable to a homeowner who’s concerned about energy costs.

Get a Home Inspection

The last thing a homebuyer wants is to know they’ve purchased a home that looks gorgeous on the surface level, but has several accidents waiting to happen within the walls or pipes throughout the home.  Since most homebuyers will require a home inspection before purchase, it’s a good idea to get this done before putting your home on the market and be proactive toward making any necessary repairs that will prevent your home from selling.  If you haven’t moved in more than twenty-five years, don’t be surprised when you’re told you may need to invest in some wiring or plumbing.

How to Increase Property Value Outside Your Home

Replace Your Doors

If any of your doors (front, garage, sliding glass or cellar) are worn and in terrible shape, replace them.  You don’t want prospects pulling up to see your home and instantly get turned off because your front door looks as if it’s been in a war zone.  Typically, door replacements are easy and you can do most of them on your own.

Clean Up the Garden or Add One to Increase Property Value

If you have a garden that’s out of control and overrun with weeds and unsightly shrubs, get rid of them or at least cut back everything so that your outdoor space looks nice.  If your yard is barren, you can easily add some curb appeal with a few small shrubs, a tree or two and some flowers.  A lot of homebuyers may choose to redo the yard completely to suit their tastes.  What they don’t like to see is a yard that’s so messy and unattractive that they’re instantly resistant to buying your home before they see the inside of it!

Increase Your Living Space Outdoors with a Deck or Patio

If you have additional outdoor space suitable for entertaining and haven’t done so, consider adding a deck and/or patio to increase property value. This type of upgrade is also something that is also evident in many common home improvement programs. Outdoor living spaces are extremely popular nowadays, especially since more and more people take time off work for a staycation and enjoy relaxing at home.  HGTV claims that homeowners recoup 65%-90% of their investment by adding a deck.  Patios are great as they offer additional space for entertaining or relaxing while outdoors.  There’s now a huge market for outdoor furniture, kitchens and media (yes, you can now get TV sets and projection systems for a wall-less media room!).

adding a deck

Add or Repair a Fence

Buyers of previously owned homes typically appreciate knowing where their property begins and ends.  Many homebuyers may not have additional cash to spend on installing a fence, and not having a fence can make the difference in selling a home. If they have children or pets who enjoy time outdoors, knowing there’s a fence in place can help sell your home and increase its value.

If you happen to have an existing fence and its a little dinged up, make sure you have those fence repairs done in advance as broken panels, rusted gates or bent aluminum fences can detract from what a homebuyer is willing to spend on a previously owned home.

Need to Build or Repair a Fence?

If you’re ready to move and you need to either build or repair a fence,  contact us today and one of our expert fence consultants will work with you to design a fence solution to help prepare your home for selling!

Got questions?  Take advantage of our live chat feature (click on the left side of the page!) or stop by our headquarters in Frederick, MD and we’ll be more than happy to help you get ready to sell your existing home and prepare for your new one with a fence solution that meets your needs and your budget!