Tips to Enhance Your Home's Value Image

10 Tips to Enhance Your Home's Value

T.E. Cunningham Image
As we shake off the winter blues and head into spring, many homeowners start thinking about projects to dress up their home, or perhaps to put it on the market and find a new dream home. Whether you are financing a small project yourself or looking to secure a home equity loan for a major renovation, you want to make sure you maximize the value of the work on your home.

“If you truly want to build equity in your home, do your research first. On the big projects, temper your personal preference with what a potential buyer would find appealing and valuable,” recommends Kent Fruits, owner of Topeka-based contractor Kent & Co., and a past Chairman of The Topeka Area Building Association. 

Fruits handles remodeling, in addition to new home construction. He suggests starting with the following list:
  1. Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Making small changes, such as new paint or repurposed furniture, can dramatically improve the look and feel of your home.

  2. Tackle one room at a time and prioritize them.  Kitchens and Bathrooms are key in most buying decisions; put them at the top of the list if they need modernization.

  3. For the kitchen, put the focus where a potential buyer would: cabinets, countertops, and flooring. 

  4. For a master bath, strive to create a “spa-like” feel that invites relaxation. Areas of focus: update the vanity and hardware, update mirrors, stone the shower or add a freestanding tub for a special luxurious touch. 

  5. Knock out a non-structural wall. Open floor plans are “in”!  

  6. Don’t forget the first impression of the house is the outside.  Paint the front door, change out hardware, mow, trim, mulch, landscape and add plants and flowers. 

  7. Think “Green” and replace the water heater with a new tankless system, add solar panels, install a low-flow toilet and change out lights to LED and CLF bulbs for immediate energy savings.  If your HVAC system is on its last legs, new models can save homeowners as much as 40% a year on their energy bills.

  8. “Floor” potential buyers. Hardwood floors, stone and tile can create a beautiful ambience in your home and greatly increase value for a home with tired carpeting and worn linoleum.    

  9. Light it Up! Add windows so your home floods with natural light. Add dimmer switches and unique, eye-catching fixtures to update your home.

  10. Finish an incomplete basement.  This is one of the largest projects you will undertake, but the upside is huge, and putting in a bathroom is a must!
Ready to list your house? According to Cindy Carnahan, a Broker Associate with The Carnahan Group at JP Weigand & Sons in Wichita, KS, “Less is more when staging your home. Take the personal pictures down, remove clutter on countertops and furniture. The first viewing of your home is on the internet and many houses listed don’t make it to the second cut of a showing so pay for professional pictures.”

According to Carnahan, thousands of viewings online in the first several weeks is not uncommon. Lighting is also key; have the house ready, bright, cheery and welcoming. A few other recommendations include no fake flowers or plants, a clean smell and avoid heavy fragrances, wash the windows and make sure nothing is “scary” to potential buyers. For instance, don’t have a mop and dry vac in your basement, doors that don’t open or sloping floors—fix them first.    

How do you approach home improvement projects? Are you thinking resell value first, or placing a higher value on personal preferences? Have you run into any horror stories from showing your house, or looking at others? 

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Tags: Home Mortgages

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