Without spending thousands and thousands of dollars, you can boost your home value with some sweat, creativity and ingenuity. Whether you want extra value for a future sale or to sell it now, it always helps to keep up on maintenance, cleaning and curb appeal.
“When you are getting ready to list your house, go check out some of the competition — houses similar to your home,” says Kelly Baldwin, Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company in Sarasota, Fla. She also was honored as one of Realtor Magazine’s “30 Under 30” in 2016.
Take note of things you liked and didn’t like about their home, she adds.
“Perhaps some of the items are simple fixes that you can do to your home before trying to compete with them on the market. Little things can sometimes go a long way,” she says.
Here are seven of Baldwin’s ideas on how you can make your home have greater value – pricewise and value for those living there now – without emptying your savings account:
Create great curb appeal
“Pressure wash your driveway and outside of your house once or twice a year. It will help the paint and finish last longer,” she says.
Some other items on the list would be to paint the front door, trim, garage door and shutters; upgrade your mailbox; update exterior light fixtures; mulch flower beds and plant fresh plants.
“You must keep up with your lawn. It is way more expensive to re-sod a yard when you decide to sell and need curb appeal than it is to water, fertilize, and maintain it throughout the year,” she states.
While buyers may be up for some projects when they buy a house, they don’t want to be hit in the face the moment they pull in the driveway with a laundry list of items that already need love, Baldwin says.
“They also want to be able to send a photo to their friends and family (or even a social media post) that shows how charming their new home is even if it needs some work on the inside.”
Declutter, de-personalize and clean
Remove excessive personal items such as kids’ artwork, framed family photos and displays exhibiting hobbies or collections. Organize closets and the garage and get rid of items you no longer need. You can have a garage sale before putting your house on the market to remove any unnecessary items, or just take them to a charity or second-hand store.
“You don’t have to get rid of everything, but this will help clear out the knickknacks and other clutter items. Make sure to clear off flat surfaces and reduce the number of items on shelves especially countertops,” she adds.
You can also hire a professional cleaner to deep clean your house. They hit areas such as baseboards, trim, window sills, bathrooms and behind appliances. Buyers are easily distracted and can be looking at multiple houses in a day, so you want them to remember your house for the beautiful lanai or the spacious garage, not the collection of football figurines and trophies that can be found in every room of the house.
Paint walls in neutral colors
Make sure most, if not all, rooms are freshly painted and in a neutral color palette. While painting isn’t hard or costly, buyers don’t want to walk into a room and wonder how many coats of paint it is going to take to cover up the deep purple shade in your teenage daughter’s room or the candy apple red of your kitchen, Baldwin says.
Also, be sure to touch up (or repaint) all of the trim and baseboards. Freshly painted trim and baseboards really make a home feel cleaner and newer.
Replace fixtures and cabinet hardware
Replace outdated bathroom and kitchen fixtures such as the faucets, toilet paper holder, towel rods and controls along with cabinet drawer pulls and knobs. When your white cabinets throughout your house have brass knobs on them from the 1980s, the white cabinets now look like they are old and need to be replaced – which most buyers see as dollar signs and another project.
A simple switch to neutral brushed nickel fixtures and hardware throughout the house may not add a wow factor, but it will take away the shock of seeing the outdated bright brass.
Add new windows, front door or garage door
Not only does this increase curb appeal but depending on where you live, this can save a homeowner a lot of money on insurance.
“In Florida, it also gives buyers peace of mind that their home is more safe and secure during a hurricane,” Baldwin says.
According to Remodeling magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report, the national average to put in a new garage door is $3,411 and you can recoup 98.3 percent of your cost when selling your home.
Enhance your outdoor living space
You can add a paver patio or fire pit area, so you and your family have a place to relax and entertain. If your yard is sloped, installing a deck could entice more buyers. The Cost vs. Value Report shows that a median priced deck would cost about $9,000 and recoup 83 percent of the cost.
Put in some hot trends that home buyers want
Baldwin says these additions can add value for a low cost:
- Built-in wine coolers or wine cellars
- Kitchen island with a second sink
- Rain showerheads – but also with a handheld to make cleaning easier
- Smart home controls (air conditioning, security, blinds, lights and more)
- Office/work-from-home space
What’s more important – revamping a kitchen or revamping a bathroom?
Baldwin says that a kitchen would be a better choice. However, the budget will really be the deciding factor.
“A kitchen renovation is going to be much more costly than a bathroom,” she adds. “If money is no object though, a kitchen is a better investment. More guests that come into a home will see the kitchen. Most will never see your master bathroom.”
What are simple ways to renovate a kitchen that add value but not big costs?
Countertops, light fixtures, backsplash and hardware are less expensive ways to add appeal and value without doing a huge overhaul of cabinets, layout, flooring, and appliances, Baldwin explains.
What things might homeowners not clue into that could add value to their home if they just did a little tweaking here and there?
A clean, de-cluttered home full of light, even if it isn’t natural, is the best way to make sure your home shows well – therefore improving the value, Baldwin adds. In addition to cleaning and decluttering, make sure all bulbs are replaced with the brightest bulbs that each light fixture can accommodate. Also, keep your appliances matching. If you have to replace one of your appliances, keep it in the same brand and finish as the others.