Increase Your Home’s Value

If you’re ready to put your home on the market or refinance, you want it valued as high as possible. What do home appraisers look for when estimating how much your home is worth? They’ll consider the home’s age, size and location, as well as its general condition, interior and exterior structures and features—all of which could either add to or detract from its value. While certain home value criteria, such as your neighborhood and market demand, are beyond your control, some repairs, renovations and a bit of elbow grease may help improve the value of your home. Whether you’re selling or building equity, here are the seven best ways to increase your home’s value.

1. Do the Fast Fixes

Go room by room, assessing the conditions of all doors, windows, tiles, faucets, toilets, lighting fixtures and smoke detectors. Get your tools out to handle minor, relatively low-cost repairs, such as:

  • Fixing leaky faucets
  • Regrouting tiles and replacing broken tiles
  • Replacing burned-out bulbs and dead batteries
  • Tightening loose screws
  • Replacing torn screens
  • Fixing window locks
  • Ripping up old carpeting and refinishing the floors underneath
  • Updating drawer and cabinet hardware

If you can’t do these tasks yourself, consider hiring a professional or asking a handy friend or family member to help you.

2. Focus on Curb Appeal

First impressions count. Make sure your home’s front lawn and backyard are well maintained and visually appealing.

  • Mow your lawn and rake all leaves and debris
  • Paint exterior doors and entrances
  • Freshen up your mailbox by painting or replacing it
  • Plant flowers, adorn your front porch with flower pots and hang an elegant wreath on your front door
  • Add fresh mulch to your edges and gardens
  • Trim trees, overgrown bushes and shrubs
  • Power wash your siding, driveway, porch and deck
  • Clean gutters

3. Downsize Your Belongings

Too much clutter can make it difficult for the appraiser to take measurements and also make rooms appear smaller. When it comes time to sell, prospective buyers will want to be able to envision their own furnishings in the home, so the more spacious and less personalized the spaces appear, the better. Plus, overflowing, disorganized closets and cabinets may suggest the home is short on storage.

Remove and store:

  • Personal photos
  • Stacks of books and papers
  • Excess pillows and knickknacks
  • Rarely-used appliances from kitchen counters
  • Seldom-used clothes and items

You can also donate or sell items you don’t need or want, which will make packing easier when it’s time to move.

4. Go Neutral

While you may have embraced the bright coral trend of years past by painting your den a salmon pink, consider repainting your room with a more neutral hue. Room colors and wallpapers may or may not impact your appraisal; however, neutral colors such as white, beige and gray have been shown to sell faster. These shades create a blank canvas that helps buyers visualize decorating with their personal touches. You may want to add these other tasks to your to-do list:

  • Cleaning up any wall scuffs
  • Finishing any uncompleted paint projects
  • Patching any holes in walls and repainting
  • Repainting poorly painted walls, trim, ceilings and doors
  • Removing outdated wallpaper

5. Add Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Green homes may earn you more when it’s time to sell. A Freddie Mac study found, “Homes with high energy-efficiency ratings sold for 2.7% more on average compared to homes that did not.” Check out these energy-efficient upgrades that could increase the value of your home and attract more buyers:

  • Add or upgrade insulation
  • Upgrade old HVAC systems
  • Replace old water heater with a heat pump water heater
  • Install energy-efficient windows

Crawl Space Waterproofing is another essential consideration for energy-conscious homeowners. By sealing and insulating your crawl space, you can prevent moisture intrusion and reduce heat loss from your home. This not only improves your home’s energy efficiency but also enhances indoor air quality and protects your property from potential damage caused by water and moisture.

6. Increase Square Footage

While it’s not a low-cost endeavor, increasing the size of your home can certainly elevate its value. An extra bedroom, bathroom or home office can be worth the time and financial investment, especially if you’re refinancing and planning on building equity while staying in the home for a while.

Don’t want to add an extension? Consider how to create more usable space within your current footprint:

  • Convert your attic space to a loft
  • Renovate your basement
  • Finish your garage

7. Be Smart With Technology

“Smart” devices that work with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other protocols can control and automate everything from lighting and temperature to your security system. Tech-enabled features add comfort and convenience to your home, which can translate to a higher value. You can do this by adding the following:

  • Programmable smart thermostats that help reduce energy heating and cooling usage
  • Smart plugs that control appliances through apps and virtual assistants
  • Smart security systems that can be monitored and controlled through your phone

How to Pay for Value-Boosting Home Renovations

Some improvements and fixes can be tackled over a weekend, while more extensive renovations are time- and money-intensive. For example, foundation cracks, major plumbing issues or an old roof are safety issues that should be addressed before your home inspection or appraisal. Taking care of these big-ticket projects could ultimately improve your home’s marketability and worth. A home equity loan is a great financing option for those higher-budget value-adds.

Investing in your home can command a higher selling price prior to purchasing. If you are refinancing, you’ll build more equity, which may put you in the position for a more favorable interest rate. This could give you the option to leverage the equity in your home if you choose to do a cash-out refinance or a second loan.