Wondering how to increase home value?
If you’re looking for tips on how to increase the value of your home before selling it, the best ways to add equity to your home, or ideas for cost effective home upgrades, you’re in the right place!
This article may be a longer read, but it’s worth it if you want to know a whole range of handy tips to boost the value of your home.
Many of the items covered below are DIY, while others require some professional assistance. Take a scroll down, get some quick ideas, and select the options that make the most sense for you and your home.
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Let’s begin with the basics and take a look at the things that raise home value and the things that usually won’t:
What increases home value?
You’ve probably heard of many of these already, like curb appeal, upgrades, a fresh coat of paint, and energy efficiency, but there are two other things that can raise home value that you might not have thought about: low maintenance and smart technology.
Let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world, and everyone (including your potential buyers) will enjoy low maintenance living and the latest smart home technology. As NerdWallet pointed out, things like “thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks and lighting” can go a long way to making your home more appealing for today’s buyers and those are two things you shouldn’t overlook when you’re thinking about what adds value to a home in our 21st century.
Along with the tried and trusted DIY coat of paint, flooring upgrades, bathroom improvements, fancy kitchen appliances, and front-entry landscaping, the answer to the question “what increases home value?” question lies in paying close attention to what modern-day buyers are looking for. Focusing on giving buyers what they want will help to increase your home value with the least amount of effort on your part.
Myths that don’t boost home value
Before we dive into how to improve home value, it’s important to be aware of some myths about what increases home value, so you can avoid spending too much on upgrades that don’t typically boost home value.
These home value improvement myths include:
- over the top landscaping
- water features
- fancy electrical wiring e.g. copper pipes
- swimming pools
- hot tubs
- white appliances
- solar panels
As you read that list you might have begun to realize why these items typically don’t increase the value of your home, in fact, they can sometimes decrease the likelihood that potential buyers will choose your home.
Let’s take a look at one item on the list to address this in more detail—the swimming pool. While swimming pools can be sought-after commodities in hot climates, many people prefer not to have a pool at their home for several reasons, mainly because they don’t want to deal with “upkeep or safety issues” as The Balance pointed out.
Swimming pools require regular cleaning, sometimes need to be covered, might require a gate around them to prevent young children from falling in when unattended, and can be very expensive to repair. Some buyers will actually ask sellers to fill or remove a pool as a condition of a home purchase, so adding a swimming pool to your home probably isn’t the best way to increase the value of your home.
In a nutshell there are 3 reasons to avoid making those costly mistakes:
- They are personal preferences
- They are costly to maintain
- They are expensive to repair or replace
Ultimately, when considering what adds value to a home, the best ways to improve home value is by concentrating on things that are not unique to any particular style preference, are not expensive to upkeep, and are not costly to fix or replace.
Potential buyers are not just looking for what they like in a home, but also for what will make sense for them in terms of maintenance and financials for years to come. Cost effective home upgrades are the way to go—for you, and for the buyer.
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s take a look at easy ways to improve home value.
Easy ways to add equity to a home value
Here it is…the list you’ve been waiting for:
- Curb appeal
Although this list is in no particular order, curb appeal is listed first for good reason—it’s the very first thing that potential buyers see when they visit your home and, well, first impressions count.
In fact, Bankrate shared that a HomeLight survey revealed that “76 percent of top real estate agents nationwide agreed that improving curb appeal is the No. 1 step a homeowner can take to boost their home’s marketability.” So, if you’re focused on what increases property value most, curb appeal might be your answer and is also one of the easiest ways to increase home value before selling it.
It doesn’t have to be fancy and, as we covered in the “myths that don’t increase home value” section, going overboard defeats the purpose. Just make a few small improvements, such as a paved pathway, lanterns, and planters with flowers to make your home feel welcoming before potential buyers even walk inside.
- Kitchen upgrades
It’s 2020 and let’s be honest, today’s buyers don’t want to see 15 year old, stained white appliances. They scream old-fashioned and instantly date your home, which is why if you’re debating what rooms add the most value to a home, upgrading kitchen appliances is one of the quickest and relatively inexpensive upgrades that increase home value.
The best approach is to shop for a package deal, most often found around national holidays at your local home improvement store.
Not only do you get a better price with a package deal on kitchen appliances, buying them in a package ensures they all match, which helps to make a kitchen look designed and modern.
While kitchen appliances are now available in various colors and finishes, it’s always best to stick with what most buyers would like, so you might want to go with the trusted stainless steel finish.
Along with appliance upgrades to raise your home value, upgrading your kitchen countertops, sink, and flooring can also be excellent upgrades that increase home value.
Even just adding a nice modern backsplash can do wonders for the overall look of your kitchen and is one of the best cheap renovations to increase home value. Plus, that’s something you can probably do yourself at a reasonable price. As HGTV pointed out in a decorating article: “Home improvement stores teach classes.” This might just be a great time to learn a new skill!
- Bathroom upgrades
Like kitchens, bathrooms are one of the rooms that add the most value to a home.
Laying new flooring and replacing the bathroom countertops are just two of the (higher priced) upgrade options and they make a huge difference to the look of bathrooms. But, there are also less expensive DIY ways to quickly improve the look of bathrooms that make our list of top cheap renovations to increase home value.
In a great home improvement HomeLight article, several DIY tips are offered, including:
– Upgraded towel rails
– Upgraded toilet roll holders
– New mirrors or mirror frames
– Floating shelves
– Countertop accessories, like new soap dispensers and candles
– Clean white towels
Start there with the small improvements to increase home value, for very little cost.
- Fresh paint
As DIY Network phrased it: “Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value.”
The impression of new and pristine is extremely important to home buyers, as they want to imagine themselves in the home. Paint goes a long way in helping to set the scene for a happy home life and what’s great about this home value booster is it’s fairly inexpensive, if you can do the painting yourself.
The thing to remember though is that you’re not painting for your preference—you’re painting to cater to potential buyers—which means selecting paints that maybe aren’t your first choice, but are neutral enough to be appreciated by most people.
Just think about how many times in a House Hunter’s episode the potential buyers cringe at a bright pink wall and you’ll understand why neutral is always best when selecting paint.
If you stick to neutral colors and do the painting yourself, fresh paint is one of the best ways to improve home value.
- Floor plan modifications and space improvements
When it comes to home value, bigger is usually better.
“Bigger homes usually lead to higher values, and that’s something buyers tend to notice” stated a Forbes article on increasing home value.
As such, one of the best ways to add equity to your home and one of the top recommendations for increasing home value before a sale is to make your home appear more spacious and usable.
This can mean removing a dividing wall to create an open-plan feel, but it can also be achieved by less costly and time-consuming means, such as by decluttering an attic space to create the illusion of having another usable room.
- Flooring upgrades
Flooring has long been a tactic in increasing home values, but today it goes beyond just the look of the flooring, to the ease of maintaining the flooring.
NerdWallet suggests that sellers “consider replacing easily stained carpet with hardwood floors or replace high-maintenance wood siding with vinyl siding,” explaining that “improvements that make things easy to clean and maintain may also increase home value.”
As with paint and other aesthetic-based upgrades, along with ease of maintenance, prioritizing a neutral design that will appeal to most potential buyers is the best way to go.
- Home efficiency
A Consumer Reports article quoted Joe Rivellino, a real estate agent in NY, saying that “millennial buyers usually ask for two years’ worth of utility payments.” That request is likely to become more common across the nation as energy costs rise.
The cost of energy bills can add up and potential buyers are being smart about where they invest; paying closer attention to the financials over the years, not just at the time of purchase.
While costly solar panels are not the recommended upgrade to increase home value before selling, selecting energy efficient appliances and installing LED light bulbs are easy ways to improve home value for very little cost, and definitely makes our list of the best small improvements to increase home value.
- Smart home technology
Everyone wants to be up to date with the times and smart home technology is not only trendy, it is also convenient and safe.
Best Life Online shared that “Investing in some smart home technology can increase your home’s value quickly, without the expense of a huge renovation” and indeed smart home technology is one of the easy ways to improve home value today.
Technology like the Nest thermostat, Ring doorbell camera, and security-driven additions are relatively inexpensive and highly sought-after upgrades that take your home from standard to advanced. Best of all, most smart home technology can be self-installed with ease.
Conclusion and FAQs
Things that raise home value can sometimes be costly, but they don’t have to be. There are several things you can do to increase the resale value of your home with very little expense.
When considering how to increase home value, pay attention to what most potential buyers would want to see in a home. This means no crazy wall colors, no outdated appliances, and no expensive-to-maintain items.
The tried and trusted ways to increase home value before selling it remain: curb appeal, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and a fresh coat of paint. But, new items make the list now too, such as energy efficiency, low maintenance living, and smart technology.
By focusing on what most buyers want today, you can make the best, cost-effective choices to increase the value of your home.
That’s easy—kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms that add the most value to a home.
Painting, adding a modern backsplash, tidying up spaces such as an attic, framing a mirror, upgrading towel rails, and staging your home with candles and other small decor items are some of the best DIY projects to improve home value.
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