Making your house more functional, will help increase home value by adding square footage, installing smart-home technology and improving the outside living experience.
According to a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,400 homeowners in August 2018, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of U.S. homeowners believe their home value will continue to increase over the next 10 years.
That may be naïve, given that certain variables are out of your control that decide what a house is worth, such as its position and the popularity of that market.
If you feel that your house is your greatest asset, like 70 percent of American homeowners, taking care of it is probably a top priority. The good news is, both proven ways to raise home value over time are to keep up with maintenance and make smart changes.
Use the tips below to maximize your home’s value, whether you want to develop equity or get top dollar when you sell.
1. Make it more attractive
James Murrett, president of the Appraisal Institute, a technical organization for real estate appraisers, says that curb appeal, how your home looks from the street, is the first opportunity to make a good impression. The exterior of a home ought to make a potential customer want to step through the front door.
Make sure that the new ecosystem is well-maintained. Compared to your neighbors, if your yard looks boring, consider planting flowers or repainting the front fence.
Focus on the kitchen and bathroom once the exterior looks fine. Lori Noble, a senior residential appraiser (SRA) in Charleston, West Virginia, said in an email that when these two rooms are obsolete, they will prevent a property from achieving its highest valuation.
And you don’t have to spring for heated towel racks or marble floors, either. According to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Survey,” a minor kitchen remodel recovers 81 percent of its cost in added value on average, versus 53 percent for an upscale kitchen remodel with stone countertops, custom cabinets and commercial-grade appliances.
The same is true for bathrooms; a midrange remodel, new flooring and a few revamped fixtures, offers a 70% return on investment, while a luxury remodel of the bathroom, heated flooring, custom cabinets and designer fixtures, averages 56%.
2. Make it bigger
In an email, Angie Martin, director of operations at Hales and Associates in Overland Park, Kansas, said, “Square footage has a major effect on value.” One way she helps buyers compare homes that are identical in design and improvements is the price per square foot.
Bigger homes also command higher prices, and a buyer will certainly note, even if an appraiser does not officially accept the full value of additional space.
The obvious way to make your house bigger is to add a bed, but by finishing the basement or building a deck, you can also create additional living space.
3. Make it low maintenance
Because many home buyers are concerned about purchasing a home that needs regular maintenance, repairing a major part, such as the boiler, water heater or even the roof, before putting it up for sale, will ease concerns of an emergency repair in the near future and help you get a higher price.
Home value can also be improved by changes that make it easier to clean and maintain. Consider substituting hardwood floors for easily painted carpets or substituting vinyl siding for high-maintenance wood siding.
4. Make it more efficient
Depending on what part of the world you’re in, energy saving features can have a big effect on home value, Joanne Theunissen, chair of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers, said in an email. Energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs) make it possible for homeowners to take on extra loans to finance both home purchases and energy-efficient improvements. According to Energy.gov, EEMs may also deliver lower mortgage rates to raise buying power.
As a way to improve home value and attract energy-conscious buyers, suggest double-paned windows, improved attic insulation, LED lighting and powerful appliances.
Put solar panels on the roof if you’re willing to go bigger. Thirty-nine percent of agents recently surveyed by the National Association of Realtors said that the perceived value of property was enhanced by solar panels. But since solar panels are a huge financial and systemic commitment, they only make sense if you’re aiming to raise value over the long term, not looking for a fast rise in resale value.
To decide where your home is wasting energy and which improvements will save you the most money, schedule an inspection with a professional energy inspector or your utility provider.
5. Make it smarter
According to a 2018 survey by Coldwell Banker, safety-enhancing gadgets top the list of “smart” innovations purchasers want in their new homes. Thermostats, fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, safety cameras, door locks and lighting are included in these secure and smart devices.
While smart tech doesn’t always increase home value, Tavia Galvin, a licensed Realtor in Arvada, Colorado, said in an email, it does add appeal.
Martin said those who view themselves as “techies” are more likely to pay more for these products.
Unlike repairing the roof or renovating the toilet, for around $1,000 or less, you can typically install these devices yourself.