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8 things you can do to increase value in your home

by Heather Warthen
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While many have taken on the DIY approach for home improvement projects during the recent pandemic, some things you may have on your to-do list could actually help you increase your home’s value. 

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s Improving America’s Housing 2019 study, the aging of the housing stock in the U.S. has helped boost the remodeling market to nearly $425 billion in 2017. During that year, the Joint Center’s analysis of the American Housing Survey suggests that 22 million homeowners in the United States completed at least one home improvement project that year.

But what value will those home improvement projects hold when it comes time to price your home? For those who haven’t started their DIY projects or are still in the planning stages, check out the list below to see what projects could help you secure the right price for your home.

1. New paint, new home

Anything looks new with a fresh coat of paint. Don’t worry – you do not have to paint every room in your house before you sell, but keep your focus on high traffic areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms. Use neutral colors so the next potential owner can easily envision themselves living there – think of it as a blank slate to potential home buyers. Don’t just focus on the interior either. Repainting the exterior of the home can also work wonders for curb appeal, but it’s best to let professionals tackle that task. “Homeowners can definitely freshen up their trim around windows or repaint a garage, or front door, but the body of the house should be done professionally if it was painted before,” says Jennie Norris, chairwoman of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals and her own Denver-based home staging business, Sensational Homes.

2. What’s cooking in the kitchen?

A survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed that 53% of real estate professionals said the kitchen is among the most important rooms to have updated before selling. Updating the kitchen could include replacing appliances with upgraded stainless steel appliances or updating the flooring. Simple switches could be adding in a colorful backsplash or repainting the kitchen with a new modern color. According to HGTV, homeowners can potentially recoup 60%-120% of a kitchen remodel when it’s time to sell.

3. Bring your bathroom up to date

Remodeled bathrooms can also increase a home’s value. According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report, returns on both midrange and upscale bathroom renovations are increasing. The report says on average the job cost of a midrange bathroom remodel is $21,377 and the resale value is $13,688. A few easy ways to update your bathroom to increase value includes replacing faucets, updating to granite countertops and adding new tile.

4. Let your landscaping do the talking

First impressions are important, especially when you’re selling your home. Make sure your landscaping makes a solid first impression by updating it. This is one area where homeowners can see an increase in value. The results of a survey from the Virginia Cooperative Extension of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, showed that “relatively large landscape expenditures significantly increase perceived home value and will result in a higher selling price than homes with a minimal landscape.” Bottom line? Maintain your lawn, add new mulch, keep bushes and hedges trimmed and plant some flowers. A well landscaped home, some studies show, can result in a 5-15% increase in value. 

5. Reassess your home’s energy efficiency

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s Improving America’s Housing 2019 study, many home improvement and replacement projects are related to home energy use. The study states In 2017, homeowners spent $68 billion — 29 percent of total owner market expenditures — on improvements to roofing, siding, windows, doors, HVAC systems and insulation. The good news is that those types of projects will not only give home buyers the ability to create large energy savings, but it will also allow them to have a potential increase on the home’s resale value.

6. Splish splash

Swimming pools have always been thought to be one way people can increase value in their homes, but some opinions differ. An HGTV article states that the cost of installing a pool alone may not equal out when it comes time to sell – estimating an average 14×28-foot inground concrete pool can possibly add 5-8% in value to the home, but on average costs $50,000 to install. Others see it as an added architectural feature, particularly in neighborhoods where most homes have swimming pools, which can happen in warmer climates such as Arizona or Florida. In fact, sometimes not having a pool in a neighborhood of homes with pools can actually decrease the value in your home. 

7. Let the sunshine in

In 2019, the residential solar market had its best year yet as costs dropped and solar energy expanded into more markets across the U.S., according to the SEIA/Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables U.S. Solar Market InsightTM report. It’s much cheaper to install solar panels today than it was 10 years ago. Over the last decade, solar has an average annual growth rate of 49%. The average residential system for solar energy has decreased significantly from a pre-incentive price of $40,000 in 2010 to approximately $18,000 today. The report also stated that there are now more than 81 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity installed across the U.S., which is enough to power 15.7 million homes.

A study conducted by Zillow concluded that homes with solar panels sold for 4.1% more, which can likely be attributed to homeowners recognizing the long-term benefits of having a more energy efficient home. The buyer may pay a little more upfront, but there is the thought that they can save on energy costs later. 

8. Work From Home Life

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing many offices to close and have its workers work remotely, many homeowners scrambled to repurpose a room to serve as an office space. For homeowners looking to build a home office or remodel a room to become the home office, they could see a potential value increase. In a recent blog post, REX Homes also reported that there is an increase in sellers listing their home office as an amenity – something that could be a continued trend with many companies reevaluating how they do business.

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