Part of being a homeowner is maintaining the house, and with some smart remodels, increasing its value and making a pretty profit when you sell it. It’s also the fun part: gradually, one room at a time, realizing the house’s full potential, making it better and more valuable than when you bought it.
Some projects, like replacing faucets or old shingles, are necessary but boring. Then there’s the fun stuff you daydream about, the reason you own instead of rent. Take a look at the following ideas and tips for harnessing these improvements to increase your home’s value.
Have a Plan
You’ll need to be strategic in the choices you make about what to do when. You likely can’t afford to do everything at the same time.
Some considerations when planning your value-boosting improvements:
- Project List: Make a list of the improvements you’d like to make. Include standard maintenance and upgrades and also some dream projects; be realistic about what you can afford to do.
- Cost: Write down how much each upgrade will cost in time and money.
- Labor: Add a few notes on what these improvements will require. Can you do it yourself or will you have to hire a contractor?
- Timing: Can an upgrade be done any time or is it better to do it in the summer? When will the roof need to be replaced? Are there landscaping additions that need a few years to grow?
- Long Term Plans: How long do you plan on staying in the house? If you plan to sell in a few years, focus on the high return on investment upgrades. You can indulge in more dream projects if you’re staying awhile.
- Budgeting: Some upgrades may have a big price tag, so look at how these larger expenditures fit into your budget and space them out over a few years. Estimate your yearly budget for improvements and maintenance.
Return on Investment
Research and prioritize the most cost-effective upgrades. You’ll want to do the improvements that add more value first; you may not have the time or money to complete everything on your list.
A bigger price tag doesn’t always mean a bigger payoff. For example, a new $1,500 garage door has a payback of 92% while a $50,000 major kitchen remodel may get only 65% payoff. A new backyard pool, custom wine cellar, or ornate chandeliers would likely be bad investments.
Prioritize and Schedule
Once you have your list priced and prioritized, draft a rough schedule, noting when you’ll have the funds, the materials, and labor required, and how long each task will take to complete. Try planning on one upgrade a month and make small changes like new light fixtures or paint as well.
One Step at a Time
You’ll be in that house for many years, so you don’t have to get everything done right away. But time does zip by faster than you expect, so keep up with your schedule.
Focus on one room at a time. There are two rooms that get a lot of attention because smart improvements can have a great return on investment.
The kitchen is still the focal point of a house; this one room has a large impact on buyers’ perceptions of the house. Upgrades to the kitchen will have the biggest return on investment. Consider these improvements:
- New paint
- New cabinets or drawers and doors
- New tiles for the backsplash
- A rolling island to add more counterspace
- Matching stainless steel appliances
- Granite countertops
- New flooring
- New, brighter light fixtures
Want to go big? Knock down a half or full wall to open up the kitchen to the living room. Buyers love an open floor plan, and this can make the space seem larger.
This another important room. Dated or grimy looking bathrooms can turn people off. A few upgrades can yield a modern transformation, such as:
- Under-mount sinks with nice faucets
- Wall-mount lighting
- New floor tiles and toilet seats
- Shower upgrades like stone tile, body sprays, and new adjustable shower heads
- Heated floors
- Reglaze old tubs
- New window or skylight
Keep Up with Cleaning and Repairs
Try to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Attend to repairs as needed and don’t let them accumulate. Small problems like cracks and leaks can grow into expensive headaches if neglected. Regular appliance servicing extends their life.
First Impression Improvements
Look at your house from across the street and assess its curb appeal. Would a stranger find it attractive? What are the first things you notice? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Look for ways of emphasizing the house’s strengths and drawing attention away from the weaknesses. Consider painting the front door a bright color and planting bright accent flowers near the good points.
Removing the lower branches of large trees around your house can reveal views, make the yards seem brighter and more spacious, and open up interiors. If you have a large lawn, consider installing a sprinkler system.
Contact a real estate agent for more upgrade ideas that fit your house, plans, and budget. If you want to learn more about real estate topics, visit 360training.com, where you’ll find interactive, online courses available on-demand.