Growth in the real estate market depends on various factors. Appreciation or increase in value in real estate property occurs due to economic trends, consumer confidence, and household finances. But these factors are abstracts and there is no guaranteed way a homeowner or his realtor can tweak these external aspects to increase the value of a property.
If a homeowner is considering selling his home, he or his realtor will most likely do cost-effective improvements, renovations or upgrades that can help boost for a higher selling price. However, a 2017 study indicated that renovations return is a mere fifty-seven (57) cents for every spent dollar; a garage door replacement is ninety-eight (98) cents to the dollar; the addition of a master suite is about forty- eight (48) cents on the dollar. Based on these, a $10,000 master suite addition will only have a $4,800 return.
There are appropriate home improvement projects that could effectively increase the value of a home. “Value” here may not actually translate to the property’s appraised market value, but rather the home property value in the mind of a possible buyer.
Home Improvement Categories
There may be countless ways on how to improve one’s home, but not all of them would necessarily mean raising your home’s value. Putting up new wallpaper or screening an outdoor room would likely not amount to a break even.
Relevant home improvement work includes simple things such as fresh interior paint, spruced up landscaping, total replacement of exterior siding, and bath and kitchen upgrades.
There are hundreds of significant upgrades that you can do to raise the value of your property. Some may be small improvements while others call for major upgrades – such as opting for smart home systems.
But first, let us classify these improvements into three primary categories:
- Maintenance and upkeep of the property, as well as mechanical systems of the house
- Aesthetic or visual aspect of the property
- Upgrading of home systems
Maintenance and Upkeep
Maintenance and upkeep of property will not actually increase the value of your property, but rather, neglect and deterioration will devalue your house.
1. Regular maintenance will leave the house looking well-cared for, as well as extend the life of its parts and components. Is the HVAC system recently serviced? Is the hardwood floor waxed and buffed.
2. Are the mechanical equipment and systems in the house recently upgraded? Are the water heater and electrical panel updated? Maybe installing a solar panel for heating water is a better and greener option.
3. In some cases, it is best to hire the services of a qualified home inspector so that he may do a walkthrough of your home before you sell. This way, you will have a detailed report of what needs to be done in the property.
Maintenance and upgrades also apply to smart home devices. These should be serviced regularly to function at their best.
Other things to consider:
- Change old plumbing fixtures such as shower heads and lavatory faucets
- Check electrical wiring and upgrade switch plates
- Replace the furnace if needed
- Trim around the chimney
- Check for cracked masonry, foundation, steps, walls
- Check for water seepage in the basement and other openings
Aesthetic and Visual Aspect
This category is all about sprucing up and making cosmetic upgrades to the property.
4. Improving curb appeal can be done by simple things such as repainting the interior with neutral tones and the exterior with earth tones. Replacing the front door is also recommended if repainting it is no longer feasible. If the exterior paint is still alright, power-washing the house siding is a cheaper option.
5. Keep the lawn mowed regularly. Trim hedges, plant trees and flowers in the front yard, lay out garden walkway, clean the gutters and so on. There is no need to hire a landscaper to keep a nice and well-groomed garden.
6. Declutter! Close to 95% of realtors recommend decluttering one’s home before listing. Personal effects such as family photos should be removed for neutrality so that potential buyers can picture themselves living in the house.
7. Deep cleaning the house, including steam-cleaning the carpet, is also recommended by many realtors. If you need to hire a professional cleaning company, then do so.
8. Is your house sunny and airy? Note that dark and dimly-lit homes are hard to sell. If there is not enough natural light in the house, make sure there is enough light bulbs to brighten up any room in the house. Or – if you can afford it and it is structurally possible – a skylight is a great option.
9. What about the smell? The tendency is to light up scented candles or air freshener to mask musty and unpleasant odors. This may or may not work as not everyone is particular to scents such as eucalyptus or bamboo, lavender or lemon. The idea is for the house to smell naturally fresh and clean. Airing the room will do, as well as using an indoor filter to clear out odors.
Upgrading Home Systems
Maintaining and upgrading a home are two different things. Maintenance deters the current value of a home from falling whereas upgrades are more likely to increase the value of a property.
Maintenance deals with routine and standard upkeep tasks such as replacing the air-conditioning unit filter, cleaning the gutter, changing switch plates or waterproofing the basement. Upgrades are more about improving or updating the property by replacing old appliances or changing the kitchen countertop to granite. Another option for upgrading is installing home security devices.
Cost-effective upgrades such as featuring personalized home automation will definitely give any home a competitive edge.
10. Upgrade light fixtures. Do away with dated light fixture and opt instead for unique, LED light fixtures that go with the general design and style of the house. A beautifully lit entryway or foyer can raise the perception of the property.
11. Go for green upgrades. Environmentally-friendly upgrades are generally affordable, but there are gadgets that are so ridiculously expensive that the meaning of cost-effective and cost-efficient is lost. Eco-friendly upgrades such as high-efficiency, state-of-the-art appliances, bamboo flooring, solar panels, and smart thermostats do not necessarily guarantee a translation to a quicker sale than their non-green counterparts, so it is best not to go overboard. Take the time to research what upgrades your house could benefit the most from.
12. Update the kitchen. You don’t have to tear down old cabinets and install new ones if the cabinets are in good condition. A fresh coat of paint, plus replacing old hinges and handles, will make old and dated cabinets look new. Another option is to replace the cabinet doors for those with modern lines. In most cases, replacing old kitchen appliances with stainless steel ones will easily complete a higher-end look.
If your kitchen countertop still looks good, then there’s no need to upgrade it. But if there is a laminate that is peeling, or chipped ceramic tiles, then it is best to consider replacing it with granite.
13. Do a bathroom makeover. Again, there’s no need to tear down a functional and useful bathroom to upgrade. You can replace the old faucet and shower head with more stately options. Adding a prefabricated marble or granite countertop to the bath vanity will be quite impressive. Replace old accessories such as tissue paper holder, vanity mirror, soap holder, towel rack and more with newer impressive-looking ones. A touch of greenery is a nice touch, and so is an aroma diffuser. These last two additions will not actually increase the market value of the house, but it will certainly add appeal and charm to buyers.
14. Upgrade the water purification system. Water contamination happens, and using untreated tap water may lead to infections and diseases. Having a state-of-the-art water purification system can help potential buyers have one less thing to worry about.
15. Invest in home automation systems. A survey of homeowners indicated that 45% are opting for smart house technology during their home renovations. More homeowners and potential homeowners rely on intelligent technology to power up and automate the house lights, thermostat, security devices, make coffee, play a playlist and more. Some of the up and coming home automation upgrades include:
- Security gadgets
- State-of-the-art entertainment
- Temperature control so one could regulate the temperature of the house remotely
- Smart furniture
- Voice-enabled gadgets – which pertains to hands-free technology
- Automatic lawn care
Increasing a home’s property value by enacting these steps may go a long way towards selling a home faster, or at a higher price. A homeowner may not realize the full potential of their household and be hesitant to renovate, but there are a handful of low-cost actions to make your property seem more attractive! Before committing to any expensive or impulsive renovations, make sure you research similar homes in the market or consult with an expert for a second opinion.
About the Author: Nicole Clarke works as a media coordinator for Creative Sound, a custom smart home automation company. They are based in Scottsdale, AZ and specializes in the design and installation of automated home and commercial systems.