Buying a house is like investing in your future, and who wouldn’t want to get the most return out of an investment? Whether you’re getting ready to sell your house or are just wanting to improve its value, there are plenty of things to keep in mind before undergoing any project meant to add value to your home. Many things that might be on your ‘to-do’ list may not be as worthwhile as you originally thought.
Things that will NOT add value:
When you’re looking to spend money to improve the value of your house, it’s important to not fall into some standard traps that some people will believe will add value to your house. Some of these easy-fixes aren’t as easy as they look, nor will they actually net you anything near the price of what you put into them.
As pretty as your yard may look once you’re done spraying weed killers, adding flowerbeds, and trimming bushes, it still won’t add any value to your property, so don’t make the mistake of sinking a whole lot of money into it. Many people will think it’s absolutely gorgeous, but chances are they will neither have the time or skills to maintain it, so they don’t really see it as worth paying any extra for. The real benefit to landscaping? First impressions. Your yard is the first thing a potential buyer will see, so a nicer yard will entice people to look. The lesson? Keep the yard trimmed, looking nice, and add some inexpensive flowers, but don’t make it a big project. Even small, affordable changes will draw people in.
If you’re looking into making massive upgrades to the floors, always hesitate with wall to wall carpets. A lot of people nowadays are turned off by an extensive amount of carpeting, especially if it’s in a kitchen or bathroom. Instead, if you’re looking to replace those old carpets, replace them with some nice linoleum, tile, or hardwood that can really serve the room’s purpose better.
Plumbing, heating, and behind the scenes upgrades
While these upgrades might very well be necessary, don’t expect them to really add value to your house. Most buyers are going to expect that these are all going to be in good working condition and updated as it is, so they’re not really willing to pay extra for this. As you live in the house, keep these systems up as regular maintenance, but don’t expect it to pay off when you decide to sell the house.
Making upgrades to rooms is wonderful for adding value to your house, but within reason. For example, if you spend $10,000 to fix up the kitchen to look modern and sleek with stainless steel appliances, but your living room or dining room looks terribly outdated then the upgrade in the kitchen isn’t going to seem like such an improvement. Instead of dumping a large sum of money into any one room, make sure that all the rooms are fit to be sold. While there are certainly some rooms that should be given more attention than others (yes, the kitchen is one of them), it’s an equally bad idea to neglect other rooms in favor of one room, too. You might have a wonderful kitchen, but if a potential buyer feels they’re going to need to spend money fixing up other rooms despite this then you’re not going to make back the money you invested.
Improvements too expensive for your neighborhood
While adding value to your house is great, remember to not get too carried away with it. What you can get for your house, unfortunate as it is, largely depends on the neighborhood it’s in, so always check out the competition first. For example, if you’re living in a neighborhood of one story houses that sell for $125,000 then adding a second story to your house to upgrade it to $225,000 may not be as good an investment as it may seem. There’s a good chance people will see the house as overpriced for the neighborhood and will instead seek out a house for the same price in a neighborhood of houses that are all going at about that price.
Things that will add value:
By this point I’m sure you’re wondering well what can I do to add value to my house? There’s quite a bit, just always try to think ahead and make sure the amount you spend is going to be reflected in the value increase otherwise it’s not worth it.
Kitchen and bath renovation
It’s very true that the two areas of a house that make or break a sale are the kitchen and bathroom, so these should get some attention. Remember, as mentioned before, don’t focus all your attention on these areas if the rest of the house needs work, too, but don’t take them for granted. At the very least, you want to show off the space in the kitchen and bathrooms and do your best to make them look big, which means getting rid of any clutter. New appliances may very well be out of the question, but small touch-ups can make a big difference. One thing to look for is wallpaper. If you have wallpaper it might be a good idea to consider pulling it down painting. Make sure the colors are neutral, too. I can tell you from experience that no one likes walking into an orange and blue bathroom (especially if there are blue frog stamp prints on the walls). Even though you may think the décor is great, possible buyers may not, so make sure the colors aren’t too drastic. Also, pay attention to the cabinets. A big focus in the kitchen is going to be on the storage space. If the cabinets are painted, try a fresh coat to spruce it up. Hardwood cabinets are especially nice, though, and even stripping and restaining cabinets can bring a whole new atmosphere to the room. Also try new lighting in the bathroom and kitchen and new cabinet door handles, especially if some handles are missing. These small changes can make a big difference.
This goes back to rooms having weird colors. It may have been great for the purpose you wanted it to serve, such as a child’s bathroom, but not so great for the buyer who doesn’t have children as it’s one more thing they’ll need to do themselves and that could be a big turn-off. Paint isn’t very expensive, maybe $20 – $40 to paint a room yourself, and it’s an inexpensive way to really give a room a whole new feel, as well as making it more appealing to potential buyers. Keep in mind that neutral colors are the best.
Add a deck
If you don’t have a deck right now, build one! They’re great to have an are major assets when trying to sell a house. Don’t build it too big or too small, though. A good measurement is the size of about one third of your house. Most decks cost less than $10,000 to build and less if you build them yourself or know someone who can and you’ll get most of that back in the increased value of your house.
Renovate or create a master suite
Many buyers nowadays expect for every house to have some sort of master bedroom, usually connected to a master bath, so if your house does not have one, then it may be a good idea to create one. It will make your house that much more appealing in the first place, plus add some value to it as well.
Jean Folger. 6 Things You Think Add Value to Your Home — But Really Don’t. Yahoo! Business.
20 Ways to Add Value to Your Home. HGTV.