Increase Home Value

If you are planning to move, ways to improve your home's value.

When my husband and I started looking for homes over three years ago, we were very particular. Who wouldn't be? After all, this is probably the biggest investment you will make, so you don't want to rush into anything. For us, if the house was messy or had trash in the yard, we kept on driving, because that demonstrated owners who did not care much about maintaining the overall condition of the home. If the entire house was carpeted or had any linoleum in it, we did not bother going in because flooring was a big factor for us. Every person has those important things they look for in a new home. If you plan on selling your home soon or are simply looking towards the future with the improvements you make today, here are ten things you can do to increase the value of your home.

1) When we first moved into our new home, I was tempted to paint the walls bold and vibrant colors. My husband had to talk me out of it and I finally agreed to stick with the neutral colors that already existed on the walls. I'm glad we did this because we find ourselves relocating a few years later. Although a maroon kitchen and olive green hallways may strike your fancy, the majority of people looking for homes want neutral-colored paint and accents around the home. Before putting your home on the market, touch up the neutral paint that already exists or paint over those bold colors you used.

2) Another item that can easily up the value of your home is the type of flooring you have. Look at any home magazine and you will find that people are moving away from carpet and linoleum to tile, stained concrete, laminate flooring and hardwood floors. These types of flooring do not reveal their wear and tear as much as carpet does, so if you want to add a couple of thousand to your home's value, upgrade your flooring.

3) Many families spend the majority of their time in the kitchen area, cooking up family meals and sitting in the breakfast nook. Kitchens, especially beautiful kitchens, are big sellers, so focus on that area, as well. If finances allow it, upgrade your linoleum or vinyl counters to granite, marble or silestone. Again, be sure to keep the colors neutral since not everybody would appreciate a lime green counter.

4) If you have old cabinets, refinish them or replace the whole kit and kaboodle. An easy and cost-efficient upgrade would be to simply refinish the cabinets and upgrade the handles or pulls to something a little nicer.

5) Making sure that the landscaping is well-tended is key. There is something real estate agents call "curb appeal." In other words, the first thing a prospective buyer sees is the front lawn and the exterior of the home. If these things are shoddy, you can forget the buyer ever setting foot in your home, even if the hallways are lined with gold! Prune the shrubs, add a few colorful flowers to your landscaping and spend a weekend weeding, mow and trim the lawn, and mulch the flower beds and trees.

6) Nobody wants to move into a house with a roof that looks like it's sliding off or gutters that look like they're hanging by a string. Invest in a new roof (if your house needs it) and clean out the gutters or replace them if they are old and worn.

7) Remember that curb appeal we talked about? Be sure to pay close attention to the exterior of the house. If it needs repainting, repaint it. If the siding looks dingy, have a professional power wash it. Clean all the windows from the inside and the outside of the home. This will definitely make a difference.

8) If your finances allow for it, make sure that you have energy efficient windows and appliances (those that will remain with the home, like the dishwasher and stove). People want to move into a home that will help them to save money and prove more cost-effective.

9) Be sure that all major items like your furnace, your hot water heater and your air conditioning units are all working properly. These are big ticket items and nobody will want to move into a home knowing that they will have to replace the furnace soon after.

10) This may sound simple and almost like common-sense, but you would be amazed at the number of people who do not do it: clean the house. Simple things like steam-cleaning the carpets, washing the tubs and sinks, removing all cobwebs, dusting the ceiling fans and keeping everything in order are all ways to demonstrate to prospective buyers that you do your best to maintain and take care of your home.

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