How to Increase Your Home Value (For Any Budget)

There are many reasons why people would worry about their home value.  Whether you wish to sell in the near future or are wish to apply for a line of credit based on your home equity, home value can be very important.

The crucial thing to remember when looking to improve your home value is that it’s all about maximizing your efforts.  In other words, you want to put in a little to get out a lot.

Here are 3 ideas for home improvements that can get the most bang for your buck, for any budget:

1. Kitchen and Bathrooms

Many home renovations start with the kitchen and bathroom.  These high-traffic rooms are often the ones that become scruffy or out-of-date.

Low Cost:

The easiest fix may be to give the walls a fresh coat of paint.  This is good advice for most rooms, though painting should be done selectively.  Start with your kitchen and bathrooms then move on to the bright rooms (switching them to a white or off-white, as neutrals tend to attract the most buyers).  Using fresh, modern colours – neutrals if in doubt – help to brighten the rooms and make them appear larger.

Pro Tip: Consider choosing a low-VOC paint.  This is a eco-friendlier option which helps your family breathe easy with less dangerous chemicals being released from your paint.

Once your walls have been updated, turn to the smaller details.  Grab some new handles for your cabinets and faucets for your sinks, re-caulk your sinks and tubs, and buy matching front panels for your appliances.  Make sure that if you’re replacing the faucets in your bathrooms, the ones for your sink and shower match.

Give everything a good scrubbing to make it look new.  You can even hang new towels for showings or valuations for that last little impression.

Higher Budgets:

This is where you can go a bit bigger with the kitchen and bathroom upgrades.  Replace any old appliances with energy-efficient models.  Install new light fixtures and countertops.  Make sure your cabinets are modern and all of the colours are fresh.  You can even use a specifically-designed durable epoxy to paint appliances if you don’t want to buy new.

Pro Tip: Pot lights are in high demand in open concept homes.  If you’re upgrading the lights in your kitchen, see if you can get your hands on some of these.

If you only have one bathroom in the house, you might also consider adding a bathroom.  Even a half-bath would set you up to recoup an estimated 80%-130% of your initial investment.  Find room for this by looking at any extra rooms or underutilized spaces, like large closets or spaces under the stairs.  However, it’s never a good idea to compromise bedroom space – you want as much of this as you can get.  Experts say you’ll need to carve out at least 18 square feet for a half-bath and 30 square feet for a full bath (35 square feet if you want to put in a bathtub versus a standing shower).

Pro Tip: Use glass for the shower to make the bathroom feel more spacious.

2. Think About Your Curb Appeal

You don’t get two chances for a first impression.  Think about what the exterior of your house, including your front yard.

Low Cost:

This one’s easy.  Cut the grass, rake up any leaves, remove any weeds, and trim your hedges.  Brighten it up with some flowers – potted or planted – and a couple bags of mulch.

Some other options include power-washing your sidewalk and porch, giving your front door a fresh coat of paint, and putting in a new mailbox.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to give the entire exterior a fresh coat, go for a top-performing semi-gloss exterior paint for best quality.

Higher Budget:

Add or remove trees for landscaping that really complements your home.  Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views and darken the overall property.  Experts say that landscaping is one of the top three investments that bring the biggest return, with investments of $400-$500 bringing a quadruple return.

When in doubt, get a professional landscaper.  Tell them you are looking to increase your home value through improved curb appeal and let them decide some options.

3. Flooring, Windows, and Walls…Oh My!

These might be the forgotten parts of your house but they can be crucial to giving instant improvements to your home value.

Low Cost:

Deep clean everything.  This makes everything look like new and lets in light.  It makes your house feel less cluttered and more comfortable, increasing anybody’s potential interest in your home.  Speaking of decluttering, this is a good time to mention that when it comes to home value, less is more.  Clear off your counters, organize your desk, straighten up any bookshelves, and round up any kids’ or pets’ toys.  It’s all about making space, space and more space.

Higher Budgets:

Rugs or carpets with old patterns that have gone out of style can decrease the perceived home value.  Really, most experts will tell you that any carpet is a no-go.  These days, most buyers want to see hardwood floors.  For a slightly cheaper version, buy those snap-together laminate floor that mimics hardwood.  It gets the carpet up and is better than nothing.

For lucky ones that already have hardwood floors, consider refinishing them to create the same effect as installing new.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to redo your bathroom floors, tile will always be in demand.

Create space by knocking out non-structural walls and removing kitchen islands (if you already have enough cabinet space).  You want to create a sense of flow in the house.  If it’s not already open-concept, get it as close as possible.

Lastly, consider turning your home into a ‘green’ house by making everything as energy-efficient as possible.  This isn’t just about home value – these changes can also save you money on your utility bills.  Switching to energy-efficient windows can save an estimated $500 a year in heating and cooling costs.  Energy-efficient insulation can also be keeping an extra $2500 or more each year in your pocket.  You should also go around a seal any cracks, preventing air loss and those ‘cold spots’ you may feel from time to time.

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