In certain market cycles, it may be easier than others to maintain your value. It may seem like a distant memory but not so long ago, all a person had to do was put a for sale sign in the front yard and the home could be sold the very same day without even really trying. In the last two years, it has been a tough sell to offload any home. In a buyers’ market, you need to do double-duty in order to get your home sold for the price you want.
Don’t despair! Even in difficult cycles, homes will sell. The ones that will seal the deal are those that are in the best shape and present the greatest value to the most discriminating buyers. Here are some tips in terms of maintenance that you can do to increase the value of your home.
Creating Curb Appeal
Nothing makes an impression like a first impression. Buyers are likely to be impacted by what they see as they arrive with the realtor or walk up to an open house. The investment you make in these areas is referred to as creating curb appeal because it is what people see from the curb in front of your home. That curb appeals includes the following aspects of your home:
- Front landscaping
- Siding or stucco
- Front windows
- Walkways or pathways
There are even shows on such channels as HGTV that focus on specific tips just to spruce up your curb appeal. First impressions last so this is a good place to start in terms of increasing the value of your home.
Hitting Up the Backyard
Landscape projects should also take precedence in the backyard. It has been estimated by real estate experts that investments in landscaping can deliver a return of between 100 and 200 percent of their cost – the highest return over any other project that you can do to your home. That does not mean you have to spend a lot of money like putting in a pool just to up the sales price. There are many other landscape embellishments that you can make:
- Build a fence around the property.
- Add a tool shed or other outbuilding that can be used for multiple uses.
- Consider any number of outdoor elements, depending on your budget, such as an outdoor kitchen, cabana, pool house, children’s playground equipment, guest house, built-in barbecue, fountain, deck, patio or patio cover, or outdoor sound system.
- Beautify the area with plants, shrubs, and flowers. Ensure that what is there is free of weeds and overgrowth.
- Focus on adding features that help the environment, such as plants that do not require as much water or the new fake grass that looks beautiful but keeps bills low. Many buyers may be interested in this type of value-added offering.
The two primary areas within a home that add value are the kitchen and bathrooms. Everyone looking to buy a home does not want to spend money on the mortgage only to then turn around and spend considerably more to modernize the kitchen and bathrooms.
Old appliances should be tossed and replaced with up-to-date, more energy efficient amenities in the kitchen. Another excellent investment is to reface existing cabinets or add a designer countertop, such as Corian or granite. Bathrooms also do great with a facelift, including expanded showers, tile, and new vanities or light treatments.
Cosmetic improvements do not have to be expensive but they can go a long way to making a more attractive home for sale. Cost-effective improvements that add value include changing cabinet and door hardware, light switches, and sinks as well as adding crown molding or larger baseboards.
Areas That Don’t Deliver a Return
There are some aspects of your home that you should not focus on because they will not increase your value and may even decrease it. At the top of the list would be adding anything to the home that is extreme in terms of color or décor. This could turn away a lot of prospective buyers away that may not share the same tastes. You need to select neutral colors when painting or adding carpet to make it universally appealing when it comes time to sell.
The other recommendation that could turn around and bite you in the wallet would be to add so many improvements to your home that it no longer fits in the neighborhood. Because none of the other houses have as much as yours, there would be no way to justify the sales price set against the comparison of other houses in the area that shared the same square footage and bedrooms. You would not be able to sell it because no one would want to pay the high price tag when no other home is on the market for that amount.
Things to Remember
Whatever projects you take on in terms of increasing your home’s value, there are a couple of things to remember before you get started:
- Be prudent in what you spend on your efforts. Do not go out of your financial range in order to add value because it may not payoff and it will compromise the stability of your own situation.
- Research what types of home improvement projects make sense for your particular area. While many projects add significant value, they may not be the projects that are appealing to buyers in your area. Find out from buyers what they are looking for in a home and then concentrate your efforts on those projects.
Documenting Your Efforts
One of the most important things to remember is to keep excellent and thorough documentation on all your efforts. A detailed account, including pictures, receipts, information on any outside contractors, warranties, and information on what was involved in each project, will be helpful to buyers who are considering your home so that they can see just how much has been done to add value, reliability, and security.
Companies like Ownersite Technologies offer this convenient and hassle-free service can become a cost-effective partner in helping you increase your home’s value. They provide a Web portal so that you can store a home inventory and information on home improvement projects, track expenses, and stay current on maintenance tasks as well as manage your mortgage statements, home insurance, and property tax.