If you want to increase your home’s value before you sell it, there are many options you have. Some things are very low cost (or even free!), and some things involve a lot more time and money. Thanks to the wide range of possible costs when it comes to increasing your home’s value, there is an option or two for everyone. Here are our best tips for increasing your home’s value, with a cost rating for each item.
Call In an Expert (Cost: Probably Free!)
Typically, realtors and interior designers will give you a consultation for free. For this consultation, you will either invite the consultant over or send them many photos of your current home depending on what you are hoping to accomplish. For about an hour of your time, if not less, you can find out where your home needs improvements according to a trained eye and how to go about fixing things to solve those issues. The improvements may be small, such as moving around furniture that you already have, or larger, such as painting a wall or buying furniture that more closely matches. Even small improvements such as cutting down on clutter items can go a long way. You will have the choice to continue on with the consultant or handle the issues yourself. Keep in mind that if you ask for a consultation from an interior designer rather than a realtor, you might have to pay a small fee.
Get It Inspected (Cost: Low)
Once the cosmetic replacements and upgrades are done, start to consider more serious fix-ups such as your roof, your electrical system, or even removing termites. Call in an inspector and have them check out the areas of your home that no one normally thinks about. There will almost certainly be an inspection of your home via the agents of the person you are selling to, so make sure you are ahead of the game by solving any issue there is for an inspector to find beforehand. These issues may not be visible or noticeable but they can greatly reduce your home’s value. Small issues can quickly turn into bigger issues, and nobody wants to buy a home that they’re going to have to do a total roof replacement on in the first year.
Repaint Everything (Cost: Low)
There is nothing that can liven up a home more than a fresh coat of paint – on the outside and the inside. Fresh paint looks and smells “updated and new”, and that will turn into more money in your pocket. Try to stick to neutral colors or whites – this way, potential buyers will have an easier time imagining how the home will look once they’ve painted things the way they want them. Don’t forget to repaint baseboards, windowsills, outdoor shutters, your front door, outdoor siding, your backyard fence, porch steps, your mailbox, and your cabinets (if they are painted and not stained). Don’t forget to get brushes, rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths, and more. It’s not just about the paint!
Look for Inspiration (Cost: Free!)
Get online and look up decoration inspiration – or, alternatively, check out home design books at your local library, home remodeling shows on television, design boards like Pinterest or other websites, or home magazines at the grocery store. Mark down the ideas that you like and then research to see how expensive it will be to do it. Try to keep your ideas in perspective – right before selling your home is not a good time to take on a six month total home remodeling project! Stick to small things that will take a month or less to complete. Don’t take on so many projects that you can’t finish them all in time to sell your home on schedule. Remember that there are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t do it all!
Do an Energy Audit (Cost: Free)
Most local energy companies will offer you a free energy audit where a technician will come to your home and show you how you can best and easiest maximize the energy efficiency of your house. Sure, you may not be able to buy all new energy efficient “green” appliances, but you are probably able to replace some weather stripping if your windows are not properly sealed. The technician will be able to give you cheap or low cost alternatives to throwing down tens of thousands of dollars on new appliances and solar panels. Sometimes it is as easy as a quick trip to the hardware store and half an hour of work to save money on your energy bill and make your home a little more friendly to mother earth – which spells value when it comes to a home.
Update Your Garden (Cost: Medium)
Does your yard’s landscaping leave something to be desired? Add in some flowering shrubs and colorful plants to your gardens. Make sure that the plants you choose will flourish where you choose to put them in your yard based on their temperature, sunlight, and water requirements. If you live somewhere that droughts are common, don’t buy water loving plants – and if it is the dead of winter, perhaps leave the tropical plants at the store for now. You can also consider planting trees. The trees may be small now, and after you sell your home you won’t be able to see or enjoy their growth, but the idea that in the future they will have shade trees may be enough to get a family to make an offer on your home. Shade trees bring in huge value to an existing home by potentially cutting cooling costs up to 40% in the summers. That’s a lot!
Install a Water Filtration System (Cost: Medium)
This sounds like a huge and expensive project, but you would probably be surprised. These systems purify your water and will also lower your grocery bills, saving you (or, rather, your home’s future owners) from having to buy pitcher filters or bottled water. Usually, you can install these systems yourself – or, if you are not comfortable doing so, you can hire a plumber or a stand alone handyman for relatively cheap to install it for you. If you need an explanation on how the systems work, the plumber or handyman can help you with that, too. For recommendations on which to buy, ask your friends and family. These systems are becoming more and more popular these days and you will likely know someone who has one.
Do a Bathroom Update (Cost: Low to Medium)
Go to the smallest bathroom in your house and think about how you could make it look bigger. Visual space is different than square footage – it is the practice of making a room look larger than it actually is due to visual tricks and techniques. Replace dark colored walls with light colored ones. Remove as much “counter clutter” from the bathroom as you can, leaving only a hand towel and a soap dispenser. Instead of a small medicine cabinet mirror, try one large and flat mirror. Use a lightly colored or clear shower curtain. These small changes can make a big difference. However, if you want to make a bigger change, you can switch out the cabinetry, put down a new counter top, or add in a small privacy window to let in sunlight.
Replace Your Carpet (Cost: High)
If you are willing to spend a little more cash to raise the value of your home, consider getting rid of your carpet. Yes – all of it. The fact is, carpet is harder to care for and is going out of style. Hardwood or tile floor is the way to go if you want to sell your house fast. True hardwood will be quite expensive, so consider tile – but stay away from linoleum. If you can’t afford or don’t have time to do a total carpet replacement, look into renting a carpet shampooer for the day and cleaning what carpet you do have. If your carpets are stained or worn, this is an absolute must-do, but if they were recently shampooed or replaced, you can get away with foregoing this cost. You can also consider only replacing the carpet in one room, likely the room that there is the heaviest traffic where wear and tear will be the most noticeable.
Remodel Your Kitchen (Cost: High)
One of the biggest value adders to any house is a brand new kitchen. Most experts agree that if you only plan to spend money renovating one thing, let it be the kitchen! Outdated kitchens are one of the most popular reasons that families will pass on a house that is otherwise great for them. You want the kitchen to be a neutral color with updated cabinetry, large and open with room for socializing, and with new or like-new appliances. If you can, consider more cosmetic touches, such as new countertops, custom cabinets, or large windows. If all of this sounds like too much, consider replacing what you can – it can cost less than $25 to replace the handles on your cabinet doors and less than $100 to repaint your cabinets themselves. Anything works!