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5 Best Home Improvements to Add Value to Your Property
First-time and experienced homebuyers should both know that a house is one of the most substantial financial investments you’ll make during your lifetime. To protect your assets as a homeowner and maximize your return on investment if you are planning to sell, it is only sensible that you implement home improvement projects that will increase its value.
While this may take time and money, there are many home remodeling projects you can do yourself that can increase the value and functionality of a home. By paying attention to which particular areas can be upgraded, making your home just a bit bigger, and implementing new technologies, a homeowner can significantly increase the value of their house and decrease its time on the market.
1. Kitchen Remodeling
The kitchen is often the main focal point of a house for potential homebuyers. This makes sense, as it is the heart of a home and is where hosting, cooking, eating, and more activities will take place for families. An outdated kitchen where friends and family will be crowded may deter a buyer — especially if appliances are antiquated, making the preparation of food and doing chores more difficult. Remodeling an area as essential as the kitchen could drastically increase its value.
The Most Valuable Kitchen Upgrades
It is one thing to know that a kitchen might need remodeling, but understanding which upgrades to focus on for the best return on your investment will save you time and money. With resale or functionality in mind, consider the following projects when remodeling to maximize value:
Replace cabinet hardware and faucets. This project should be relatively easy and inexpensive. Replacing your cabinet hardware can give them a whole new look, while replacing your rolling latches can get rid of kitchen annoyances. Replacing leaky, outdated, or ugly faucets can give your kitchen a new feel as well. Consider switching to a stainless steel or chrome kitchen faucet to make the whole room feel like new.
Incorporate solid surfaces. More durable materials are now being implemented in the kitchen design for both utility and aesthetics. Think about upgrading to granite or quartz countertops to modernize your home and surprise a potential buyer who is used to seeing laminate.
Install a dishwasher. No one likes to do dishes by hand anymore, and a dishwasher has now become a must in the kitchen. If your home doesn’t already have one, it is strongly suggested a dishwasher be included in your list of upgrades.
Replace your backsplash. The area between your kitchen countertop and upper cabinets may have been comprised of the best materials and colors at the time a kitchen was made, but that may not be the case currently. Upgrade your backsplash with glass mosaic or fresh tile to make the whole room more contemporary for you or potential buyers.
2. Sustainability Upgrades
Making some sustainable enhancements to your home is not only environmentally friendly; it can be kind to your wallet as well. By decreasing your property’s impact on the environment, you may be able to save money on monthly utility expenses such as energy and water. Energy conservation components in your home can also improve its value as well as be a selling point to buyers when they ask about the utility bills. To help make your home more attractive and practical, you should look to make it more eco-friendly.
Examples of Sustainable Upgrades
There are a variety of sustainable improvements someone can make to their home, and, depending on the location of your home, some may be more attractive and useful than others. However, there are several eco-friendly elements anyone should consider to cut costs for themselves and captivate potential buyers, all while being environmentally conscious:
LED light bulbs. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs can reduce energy usage by between 25%-80%, as LED bulbs last longer. Using less energy means it's easier on the environment and can save you money on utilities. Additionally, a younger, eco-friendly market of buyers may appreciate this little fix.
Solar panels. A solar panel system for your home can also conserve energy and related costs, and you may even get a tax break as well. By supplementing electrical energy use with the sun’s energy, a homeowner may be able to save on monthly expenses and do their part to protect the environment.
Tankless water heaters. Traditional water heaters are wasteful and inefficient, using energy nonstop to heat gallons of water that are sitting in a storage tank. This tank will inevitably be tainted by sediment and spring leaks, among other energy and water loss mishaps. Tankless water heaters heat water as needed and use recirculated pumps for instant hot water. Several other technologies make tankless water heaters an alternative to pouring funds into old-fashioned machinery that wastes energy, water, and money.
Eco-friendly washer/dryer. Laundry appliances use a substantial amount of energy and water. With new and emerging technologies and a concern for the environment, eco-friendly washers and dryers are available for purchase. While purchasing these may be an expense initially, they should save you money in the long run.
Caulking and weatherstripping. A simple upgrade and DIY project is to caulk and/or weatherstrip every crevice in your house — especially those that lead to the outside. Caulking and weatherstripping can prevent these holes from leaking the hot and cold air in your house, causing your HVAC system to work harder to keep the house at a stable temperature. This project is best for homes in locations that experience extreme heat or cold, and may save you money on the energy bill as well as holding off on replacing the windows.
3. Increase Usable Space
A bigger house generally means a higher value. Increasing the square footage of your house by adding onto your attic or expanding basement space can boost the value of a home, but a homeowner can also raise the value of their home and increase its functionality simply by utilizing usable space. In this case, “usable” space can be functional as well as decorative, depending on the layout of the room. Making the best use of this space can include adding decorative cabinets, mantel shelves over the fireplace, and adding storage solutions in various areas of a home — it’s just a matter of understanding where to create this space.
Where to “Create” Space
There are 3 common areas where a homeowner can expand upon the usable space in their home.
Demolishing walls to create open, flexible living areas: Open areas make a house seem bigger, without actually adding square footage. For example, knocking down a wall between the living room and kitchen can increase the usable space of a home simply by not having a wall in the way, being able to see and walk into the kitchen easily, and making the area generally feel larger.
Completing an attic conversion: The attic is an often forgotten space that may be used to store boxes and other junk. Decluttering this space and transforming it into a functional, livable area can increase the usable space of a home. Adding shelving can keep items off the floor and onto the walls allowing the homeowners to use the room for a variety of other purposes.
Basement refinishing and remodeling projects: A basement remodel or finish may be the biggest expense generated to create usable space, however, it may pay off for homeowners. Turning a basement into a livable space can cost $6,500 to $18,500, but it can increase your home’s usable space significantly, and can give friends and family another large area to hang out in.
It is always important to remember to check with a builder before starting a project, as well as to always adhere to local ordinances and building codes, and to work with the county assessor to present blueprints for major projects.
4. A Fresh Coat of Paint
A fresh coat of paint in the right color on the exterior of your house can drastically increase its curb appeal — which is often the first impression a buyer will get of a house. Additionally, painting high-traffic rooms such as the kitchen, dining room, and living room can brighten up these spaces, making the areas look more open and making the furniture and features of a room stand out. This will be a valuable tactic when showing the home to buyers.
Painting Tips to Maximize Value
Although painting the exterior and rooms of your house may increase the value of your home, something as simple as painting the front door can help the house sell for $6,000 more. When painting anything in the house, you’ll want to use neutral colors such as light blue, tan, white, grey, and eggshell while straying away from bold colors like green, red, and purple. The paint of a room should be complementary such that the aspects of the room are highlighted.
5. Smart Technology Upgrades
Smart technology is becoming increasingly popular. It is only natural that people would want to control aspects of their home with their mobile devices. Smart technology for a home does have an added bonus besides convenience — it also can increase the efficiency of your home, saving you money on monthly expenses. Including this convenience and savings to your home can raise the value of it while attracting a younger generation of buyers.
Examples of Smart Tech
There are an abundance of solutions for turning your house into a smart and connected home. Some save energy and water, some may provide security, but all come with the ease and convenience of being able to control certain aspects of your home with the touch of a button. Common smart tech features for your home can include:
Smart lighting. Homeowners are now able to purchase smart LED bulbs that contain software which connects to an app. From here, the homeowner can download the app on a personal device and control the lighting remotely, automate when the light will turn off, and dim and brighten the lights of their house. This automation allows for better energy efficiency as if someone is not going to be home, they can remotely turn the lights off until they arrive back at the house.
Smart thermostats: By using the same technologies, thermostats can be connected to personal devices for better control of AC and heat — further decreasing energy usage for homeowners.
Smart door locks: Installing smart door locks are perfect for the person who is always forgetting to lock the door before they leave. Homeowners are able to use their smartphones if they think they have forgotten to lock the door while they’re away on vacation for peace of mind.
Smart sprinkler control: Smart sprinklers can preserve water, which can in turn save you money on the water bill. By controlling your sprinklers with your smartphone you’ll decide when they will come on and off — as opposed to leaving the house with the sprinkler on and having to wait to get back home to turn it off.
Smart moisture control: Smart irrigation and soil moisture can be especially useful in homes that are in dry climates. Soil moisture-based controllers can measure and control the exact amount of moisture for a healthy and eco-friendly yard.
Maximizing Your Home’s Value
While it may cost money initially, making improvements and renovations should be well worth your return on investment, particularly if you decide to sell your home. Be sure that you understand the tax implications of making improvements to your home , as you may be required to pay taxes on some projects while others are tax-deductible. In many ways, paying taxes may be the determining factor in making the financial decision to invest and make improvements on your home.