No matter how long you’ve owned your home, it’s never too late or early to start trying to improve the value of it.  A person’s home typically represents the largest single investment a person makes in their lifetime and it’s a good idea to try and get that investment to pay off.

Here are 10 Tips to How to Help You Increase Your Home’s Value

  1. Make a Plan.  Home ownership is typically a long-term game.  The average homeowner lives in a home 5-7 years before they decide to move.  Planning for the future will help you determine what needs to happen and when.  It will help you from making mistakes and having to redo areas of your home that you already did.  For instance, if you plan on remodeling the kitchen and the living room but to get all the trash out of the house you have to go through the living room you would want to do the kitchen first so you don’t have to replace the living room carpet twice.
  2. Remodel One Room at a Time.  It may sound counterintuitive to only redo one room at a time because you would only want to make the mess one time but, if you’re living in the home while you’re doing the remodel then having an escape from the remodel is vital to your sanity.
  3. Make a Small Improvement List. I’m always surprised at how small improvements to a home can add so much to a home’s value.  Everyone knows that kitchen and bathrooms are where people tend to make the most return on their investment but they are also the most expensive areas to remodel in a home.  However, not all kitchens and baths need a total remodel.  Sometimes they just need some special touches.  A kitchen can have a whole new look with a fresh coat of paint on a good set of cabinets with a new sink and countertop.  Bathrooms can be refreshed with a new faucet for the vanity and tub.  Take a look at the home and see what flooring, paint, and hardware can do.
  4. Maintain and Clean it.  A well-maintained home has a much greater return on an investment than a comparable home that hasn’t been maintained properly.  Taking the time to go through a complete maintenance list annually will keep the home in pristine condition and remove worry from any prospective buyers in the future.  It’s best to keep a record of all services done to the home as you do them that you can pass on to the new buyers.  Also, a clean home shows “pride of ownership” to those who would be interested.  It tells prospective buyers that they really cared for this home by how clean it is.
  5. Make The Outside Inviting.  Curb appeal is king when it comes to gaining value for a home.  It doesn’t take a lot of money to keep the grass lush and green while adding flowers, shrubs, and trees.  Keeping everything outside clean and crisp outside is a major draw for people looking to buy a home.  The old adage is so true, “You only get one chance at a first impression.” The outside of a home gives an impression of what they can expect on the inside.  Consider painting the home too.  The curb appeal of a home is by far the greatest return on investment.
  6. Upgrade the Kitchen.  We’ve already mentioned that a kitchen is one of the best upgrades to do in a home. If you can’t just get by with a minor upgrade then this is where you can do some incredible things.  People are looking primarily for function in the kitchen.  If it is laid out well and functions well, people can look past some of the other upgrades that may be needed.  However, if you’re going to do an upgrade to a kitchen then make sure not to skimp on quality.  A kitchen is one of the most abused rooms in a home and need materials that can handle that abuse.
  7. Upgrade the Bathrooms. Like the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most expensive but best investments you can put your money into.  If a minor remodel is not possible then follow the same guidelines as were for the kitchen.  Bathrooms are used hard and need quality materials to handle the use.
  8. Consider Selling. It may not sound like a way to improve your home’s value by suggesting selling it, but depending on what the home is worth prior to doing a remodel on it, it may be more prudent to sell it rather than do the remodel.  If a home is close to its maximum value in the neighborhood, it is in danger of being overdeveloped.  One of the situations you want to avoid is being the most expensive home in the neighborhood.  Instead, you want to be the best value in your neighborhood.  Selling your home at the top of the market may be easier than trying to add to a home that cost too much and not be able to get your investment back.
  9. Make it Efficient.  Depending on when your home was built, it may have some less-than-efficient mechanical systems in it.  The furnace and air conditioning units may be working fine but are probably not near as efficient as the new systems that are available.  It’s not always a great return on investment for mechanicals but it does add some value because a new buyer would be making any offers based on whether or not they would need to replace those units in the future.  The same applies to the windows in the home.  Replacement windows are not a cheap item but if the old windows in the home are drafty and worn out then the utilities will be higher and will affect a buyer’s ability to afford the home.
  10. Decorate Wisely.  This may seem like we are reaching here but it is vitally important to make a home that is inviting not only for you but for future buyers.  You may be fond of frogs but having everything in home painted green with frog borders all around is not a good fit for the vast majority of home buyers.  Having an understanding that your tastes are not the same as everyone else’s is a vital component of increasing a home’s value.  It’s best to keep it simple and clean while avoiding a lot of the extreme elements.  Remember that some things you add to a home are what you like and are there for you but they have no value to some buyers.

One final thought for you.  This list is about increasing your home’s value.  However, a home has value because it’s, well, a home.  It’s your home.  It’s where you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  It’s where you stay dry in the rain and make memories with your family.  That means it has value all by itself.  If you’re looking to make it payoff later with some additional cash in your pocket then work through this list but always make it yours.