Even if you’ve just moved into your house and home value is relatively far from your mind for the time being, it shouldn’t stray too far! Increasing your home value not only means a more enjoyable experience for you throughout your time in the house, but it also means that, if the time comes to sell, you’ll be able to. Get started with these tips.
Make a plan
First thing’s first: never start any sort of renovations or improvements on your home without having a plan. Having a plan will help you prioritize projects and determine what you can afford and when. Start broadly. Create a laundry list of every project that you would like to see made, knowing that you probably won’t be able to do every single one, and then narrow it down from there.
Do your research. What projects can you legitimately do yourself, and which do you think you’ll probably need to “outsource” to a professional? Be honest with yourself here. Can you really handle knocking down walls or wiring new can lights in the kitchen? With YouTube™ and tutorials galore, we have a sense, nowadays, that we can do almost anything — which is certainly not always the case, especially when you’re talking about projects that can have a serious impact on the structure of your home. If you get yourself in too deep with a project that you really can’t pull off, you could end up actually decreasing the value of your house and will have to call in the pros anyway.
Additionally, and we’re sure this is not a factor you’ve forgotten, you’ll have to plan for everything financially. This goes hand-in-hand with determining what projects you can do on your own and which ones you know you’ll have to hire out. It’s a good practice to over estimate. Depending on the nature of a project, there’s really no guarantee as to how “smooth” it will go and if there will be additional costs along the way, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to pad the budget a bit.
There are numerous sources that will tell you which investments will yield the highest return in the long run, and that’s great, but try to make sure that changes you make to your house are things that benefit you when you’re actually living there. For instance, kitchen and bathroom remodels are typically considered valuable because of their aesthetic appeal for potential buyers. However, if you’re not much of a cook, and won’t really get a whole lot of value out of an overhauled kitchen with all the bells and whistles, then it might make more sense for you to do more minimal updates in the kitchen and put that extra money towards a project that you care about.
That being said, if you’re planning on remodeling parts of your house, you might as well do it earlier on in your ownership, as opposed to making updates simply to prepare your house for the market. You might as well enjoy your hard work for a little while before selling, right?
Additionally, make sure you don’t spend all of your renovation budget on just making a house look pretty. Pretty houses are awfully enticing, however, you and future buyers alike will appreciate investments that make sure the “infrastructure” of the house is in good working order too. It doesn’t matter how pretty a house is, if it’s needs a new roof, water heater and furnace. Oftentimes, buyers will be actually look past aesthetic turn-offs, like a dated kitchen, if they know that the house is structurally sound and won’t need any major improvements in the near future.
You never want to overextend yourself, or your budget, when making renovations. Take it one room at a time, stick to your budget, and make small upgrades here and there along the way. Don’t forget that major renovations will also require breakdown and reconstruction of your house for some time — so if you’ve got more than one sizable, ongoing upgrade, your living situation might become a bit tense for a while.
If you need to take a break or save up more money for future projects, you can still make enhancements to your house, but in ways that are much more budget friendly. Painting requires very little money forward and does have an impact on your house’s value, especially if you choose earthy, neutral tones throughout your house that most people find pretty agreeable. You can also do things like updating old light fixtures, filling out flower beds with low-maintenance plants or adding new hardware to cabinets or doors to boost value without breaking the bank.
Maintain your property
Regularly cleaning and maintaining your property will definitely help maintain the value of your house. A house well-cared for is better for you and better for buyers. So, from the inside-out, make sure to keep your house neat and clean. Choose durable, mark-resistant paint that will help fight off dinginess over time. Take care of your hardwood or carpeted floors with wood treatments and deep-cleaning, respectively. Regularly dust and change your air filter to help maintain your HVAC system. Maintain the outside of your house by pressure washing and, better yet, sealing fences and porches. Clean your gutters to avoid roof damage or damage to your house’s gutter and drain system. You get the idea.
For extra assurance, you could have home inspections conducted on your house periodically. This will not only help you catch problems before they develop into costly nightmares, but these home inspections will remain on record for any potential buyers so they can see how you’ve maintained your home over time.
When making improvements to your house, don’t forget to keep an eye on the market in your neighborhood. You don’t want to put forth gigantic investments on remodeling and renovations, if the market doesn’t support it. Poor school zones, traffic, construction, the value of your neighbor’s houses and much more will all play a factor in the value of your home. So, if you find yourself facing this conundrum, you might want to consider if it’s time for you to move to a new area and put your money towards that, as opposed to sinking a lot of money into upgrades that might not pay off in the long run. This isn’t to say that, if your home exceeds market value, it will never sell or buyers won’t bite if it’s a little bit more, but it’s definitely a factor you want to consider, because there’s no guarantee that you’ll make that additional money back or that you won’t run into problems when it comes time for your house to be appraised for loans.
Before you get started on renovations, it’s never a bad idea to contact a local realtor for some insight into how the market’s doing in your neck of the woods and for some advice on which improvements tend to be the most beneficial.