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Dollars & Sense – How to Increase the Value of Your Home
It’s no secret that a complete remodeling job, even for just one room, can cost thousands of dollars. While the cost may be justifiable if you plan to stay in the home for a long time, most remodeling projects increase the value of your home by at most 80 to 90 cents for every dollar you invest. So if you’re looking to sell your home soon, or if you’re buying and selling a home for a profit, you want to keep your improvements simple and inexpensive.
Maybe the place to start is by improving the things people can see. The first thing home buyers see is the outside of your home. In rural or suburban areas, home sellers need to make sure the bushes are trimmed, the lawn is mowed, and the landscape is well maintained. Improving these areas and eliminating those highly visible eyesores will add the most value per dollar to your home. Consider these ideas:
Clean the yard. Remove trash and yard waste. Mow your lawn and keep it in good condition with proper watering and seasonal fertilizer application. Use a weed cracker to get into tight corners and curb edges
and the house Trim the hedges, get rid of weeds and water the lower beds.
Eliminate clutter and clutter in the home. You’ll likely be showing the house to potential buyers, so you’ll want to organize the house and get rid of the clutter or put it away. The idea is to make the home as unemotional or impersonal as possible so that potential buyers can imagine living there. Your home is much more marketable the less stuff there is, plus a nice and tidy home will look bigger and more stylish.
Clean, clean and clean some more. Nothing improves the value of your home – and for such a small investment – than a good cleaning. Mold, mildew, leaks, stains, or any evidence of dirt are unattractive and won’t do much to whet the appetite of home buyers. Homes that look and smell clean have great market appeal. Even an old house with older appliances will look good if everything is clean and shiny.
It’s much cheaper to wash walls or siding than it is to paint or replace siding, and many times a good cleaning will make your home’s finishes look like new. Pressure clean your home’s exterior and interior walls. Clean the windows so it’s hard to tell they’re there.
And what about smells and pets? You may adore your dog, but that doesn’t mean potential future owners have to be reminded of its presence. Keep in mind that pet odors, cigarette odors, and food odors tend to linger, so clean carpets, floors, and furniture and do your best to remove these odors.
Add a new coat of interior paint. Sometimes repainting is all you need, but you can do it yourself relatively inexpensively on interior walls.
First, plug the holes, no matter how small. For a silky smooth finish, apply a coat of primer. After the primer dries, sand it lightly with fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit). Apply the first coat of latex paint and then lightly sand that coat as well. Wipe the walls with a damp cloth after each sanding session. Then apply the final coat of latex paint.
Don’t be afraid to spend a couple of extra bucks on good paint rollers. These five-for-$10 rollers will make your walls look like stains. Also, paint with a neutral color like beige. It will make the house look bigger and will be harmless to buyers. Also, semi-gloss paint will make the walls look brighter. If the walls have imperfections, such as drywall spills or cracks in the plaster, consider using flat paint to hide those imperfections. Keep in mind that flat paint shows dirt easily and is difficult to clean, so leave it until just before your open house.
Consider the kitchen and bathrooms. Realtors say that kitchens and bathrooms often sell the house. When it comes to the kitchen, the most important thing for buyers is that it looks spacious. If, for example, your kitchen counter is full of appliances, you may choose to leave one or two appliances there, but the rest should go.
Outdated or worn cabinets can bring down the whole kitchen, but refinishing them is relatively cheap and easy to do. If you have a dark or small kitchen, make it look bigger and brighter by using a lighter finish on the cabinets.
When it comes to bathrooms, studies show that homeowners who did major bathroom remodeling recouped 88% to 91% of their costs. Beyond major renovations, real estate brokers say that simply replacing towels, toilet seats, light fixtures, drawer/cabinet handles or the sink can make a big difference to potential buyers. Finished caulking and redoing the grout on the counters, sinks, bathtubs and showers.
What about the ceiling? The biggest concern for most homebuyers is the roof, according to brokers. Typically, if your roof is 5-10 years old, you’re probably fine. But a roof that is 17 to 20 years old can be a problem. Buyers tend to shy away from maintenance issues that haven’t been resolved, and the more issues they find, the more they’ll want to negotiate the price down.
Carpet and floor cleaning options. You can shampoo or steam clean your carpets, or you can use a dry cleaning system, which requires no water or steam rental, and dries instantly and kills virtually all mold and bacteria. Apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then vacuum. If all else fails, have a professional do your carpeting. You’ll be surprised how much better your carpet will look after a good cleaning.
If your carpet is in bad shape, you can replace it or restore the original hardwood floor. Hardwood floors are very popular right now, and in many cases, older homes have beautiful hardwood floors under the carpet. Tear up some carpet in a closet or other inconspicuous area to check the condition of the floor and compare the price of refinishing hardwood to installing new carpet.
Modern lights, light switches and sockets. Some of the new style switches can be easily installed using the wires already run on the old switches. Just be sure to turn off the power to the room or the entire house before doing any work. New outlets look nice and give the impression that the house’s electrical wiring is newer than it really is.
In general, older people are more sensitive to glare than younger people, and many people prefer indirect lighting to direct lighting. “People often prefer lights to be hidden, so the light source is masked. Warm colors are also attractive,” he says. Also advisable: On darker days, leave the lights on and the curtains open.
Place wood trim and moldings. Simple ceiling coverings or moldings and chair rail are the easiest and most typical DIY improvements found in newer homes and go a long way in improving the look and feel of rooms. To make an even bolder statement, paint the walls a neutral flat color and paint the trim a bright white.
Hang fresh curtains and blinds. Blinds don’t cost much, and curtains can be cheap too. Over time, the sun fades the colors of your blinds and curtains, so the new ones will make a better impression than the old ones.
Five Fast Facts for Home Improvement
When it comes to making renovations to your home, it’s amazing how quickly things can snowball. Take a bath for example. Maybe all you want to do is remove the old, peeling wallpaper and add a fresh coat of paint. Then start thinking about replacing the old linoleum floor with tile to complement the new paint job, replacing the toilet, and maybe adding a new countertop.
Just like creating a budget to manage your income and expenses and live within your means, it’s smart to plan your home improvements and distinguish between what you really need to do and what you want to do. Keep these tips in mind:
- First things first – take it one room at a time.
- Braking appeal count. Take a critical look at how your home looks from the street.
- Clean up now to reap benefits later.
- Focus on the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Pay the principal.
Remember, it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to home improvement. Keep your remodel manageable and affordable by tackling one room at a time. You’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment when completing a project, plus you’ll discover key lessons to apply to the next room.
Small, inexpensive changes will go a long way in improving your home’s curb appeal. Store personal effects from the front yard. Cut back overgrowth, maintain your yard and make sure your lawn looks healthy green.
Keep your home clean and clutter-free for your own enjoyment now and for a bigger, faster return when you decide to sell.
You’ll hear it over and over again because it makes sense. An updated kitchen is cash in the bank when selling your home. The good news is to add value, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a total remodel. And remember, bathroom upgrades come second only to kitchens in maximizing the homeowner’s return on investment.
When you sell your home, the profit you get will be the amount left over after paying off the outstanding loans. You can build more equity and put more money in your pocket at closing by paying down principal whenever possible.
Beware of over-enhancement
There are many factors that go into deciding which improvements will actually add to the value of your property rather than being an excessive expense for you. For example, adding a carport instead of a garage will certainly make your property more attractive to buyers in almost any neighborhood. However, adding a backyard pool would probably only be an effective improvement in a warmer area, not in a neighborhood that experiences cold 7 months a year!
When it comes to your home’s resale value, the best home improvements are largely cosmetic: a new roof, paint, carpeting, small kitchen and bathroom renovations, and just those modifications and additions that bring your home into line. with others from the neighborhood. These improvements increase the value of your home virtually dollar for dollar. To find out what might be typical in your neighborhood, do your research. Drive and see what the houses look like. Visit the open doors. Monitor prices and sales ranges. Improvements are generally wise if they do not increase the value of your home by more than 20 to 25 percent above the current value of similar homes in the community.
Typical improvement and its approximate value:
- Minor kitchen renovation, 94%
- Additional bathroom, 89%
- Major kitchen renovation, 87%
- Additional family room, 84%
- Two-story addition, 84%
- Bedroom in the attic, 83%
- Master suite, 82%
- Bathroom renovation, 73%
- Lining replacement, 71%
- Cover Addition, 70%
- Window replacement, 68%
- Home office, 64%
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