If you’re like me, you’re always walking around your home thinking about how you can update and improve the value. After all, my house is 20 years old and over time, things need to be updated and replaced. Whether you’re looking to make improvements for your pleasure or increase the value of your home to sell it in the future, there are always cost-effective projects that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
Major Home Systems
Prior to doing anything cosmetic, make sure all the major home systems are in proper working order. This includes, heat & a/c, electrical & plumbing. If you have a 20 year old water heater, it’s probably best it be replaced. Most buyers don’t want the burden of knowing the original systems are still in an older home as it is only a matter of time before replacement is needed. If you’re not planning on selling, the benefit of replacing an older unit is the cost-efficiency as well as not having the inconvenience of it catching you off guard and leaving you scrambling without hot water or air and an unexpected expense.
Outdoor Repairs and Replacements
Begin your cosmetic transformation outdoors. Curb appeal is the first thing that draws a buyer to your home and the average return on investment for such projects is almost 72%. Pressure washing the exterior, cleaning the windows and painting or replacing the garage and front door do wonders for a home. Next, spruce up the yard and flower beds with new mulch and seasonal flowers. Raise the canopy of older trees allowing more light and making your home a little more visible. Finally, keep your lawn cut, edged and watered during the warmer summer months which creates a beautiful, lush, neatly manicured appearance.
Begin your interior transformation in the kitchen. This doesn’t mean you have to completely remodel. However, if you have the budget and the cabinets need replacement get a few estimates. If you’d like to keep the cost down, consider re-facing the doors which is far less expensive. Replacing cabinet hardware is another inexpensive way to update cabinets for a new look. Then freshen up the paint with a neutral color and consider updating or adding a back splash. Adding Quartz, marble or granite countertops is one of the highest returning investments you can make. Buyers love them and in some price points they’re expected. If you already have nice counters, replace the sink. My favorite sink is the deep, undermount granite composite single bowl, available in most any color. It’s enormous and you can fit any size pan in it completely flat with room plenty of room to spare. It’s also easy to clean and the surface doesn’t scratch.
The next important interior feature to update that has a high rate of return is flooring. While most are looking for wood floors, tile is also suitable. What you need to stay away from are less desirable floors such as vinyl and laminate flooring. Most buyers will immediately begin calculating what it’s going to cost them to redo floors throughout the home and subtract if off the asking price of the home. If you’re like me and can’t have wood floors in your home due to wear and tear of having kids, try the tile that looks like wood. It’s durable, easy to clean and doesn’t scratch or dent and people walk into my home and can’t tell the difference.
Finally, most buyers would like to see updated bathrooms. Simple updates include fresh paint, a new vanity, mirror and light fixture, all very economical purchases and can do wonders for a bathroom. If you have money in the budget, consider a new tiled shower with seamless glass.
Making the right home improvements that will increase your homes value is an important consideration especially when you will be selling in the near future. But keep in mind not every “improvement” will add value. Swimming pools, hot tubs, and perhaps an extensive addition that is larger than the cozy, one-story homes in your neighborhood may make it more appealing but will not increase the value. Homeowners frequently must choose between an improvement that they would really love to have (an in-ground swimming pool) and one that would prove to be a better investment. Be sure when deciding on making a home improvement to differentiate whether the improvement is for you to enjoy while living in the home or whether you’re trying to increase your homes value because not all improvements have the same return on investment.