DIY : How to Increase Your Home’s Value – RWM Home Loans – Medium

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So you’ve decided to sell your home. Perhaps you may be relocating for work, moving to a home that’s more appropriate for your needs, or just want to cash in on equity. Whatever’s driving you to sell, it is in your best interest to sell your house for a higher price. So how can you get the most for your home?

What Determines a Home’s Value?

Before we discuss bringing up a home’s value, let’s discuss what determines a home’s value. At its core, a home’s value is what a ready and able buyer is willing to pay for it, but an appraiser’s professional opinion of value can also play a large role. Lenders require buyers to get an appraisal of the home, so ideally your sale price will be close to or higher than that number. Let’s look a little more closely at what is goes through an appraiser’s mind when they are appraising the home.

The two main factors that will influence the value of a home are the recent sales of similar homes in close proximity and current trends in the market. You may do some research on what the trends are for your neighborhood by finding the prices of homes sold over the last 6 months or by asking a local agent.

Physical amenities, as well as intangible amenities, can have a massive effect on the value of a home. Physical amenities includes gyms, pools, garage space, accessory units, bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. Proximity to shopping centers, quality of the school district, proximity to large employers, and distance to entertainment or transportation are examples of intangible amenities.

During the visual inspection, it is also an appraiser’s job to evaluate a home’s condition. Let’s explore how to enhance the presence and condition of a property to increase the likelihood of a higher sales price.

Making Your Home Presentable

The first step in boosting your sales price is making sure that your home is in good order. Although it is difficult to say if cleanliness and tidiness will have a direct effect your home’s value, perception is everything. A cluttered home can affect how large it looks among other things that can leave a negatively impactful first impression, so it’s crucial for your home to be clean when showing it to prospective buyers.

Beyond cleanliness and good organization, repainting both the exterior and interior of your home can may make your home look newer. Before you begin painting, take the time to remove any dings, patch any holes, or make any other repairs that you will have to paint over so that you don’t end up having to do it twice.

Potential buyers will see the outside of the home first, so having presentable landscaping is a central part of making a good first impression. This means pruning any shrubs and trees that may have become overgrown, weeding, mowing the lawn if applicable, touching up your mulch (this adds contrast and makes your beautiful plants more noticeable), and cleaning any dirty surface (this might require a power washer for things like fences).

Easier physical enhancements may be updating appliances, light fixtures, and any other technology or energy enhancements that may be included in the sale of your home. Repair or replace any appliances and fixtures before you open your home to prospective buyers.

Working With a Real Estate Agent

Working with a real estate agent offers many additional opportunities for prepping your home along with an insider’s perspective of the real estate market. The National Association of Realtors has found that on average, working with an agent can not only bring down the amount of time that your home spends on the market, but it can also increase the amount that your home is sold for.

First, work with your real estate agent on “staging” the home. Staging a home is setting up the interior design so that it looks more presentable. If you are not living in the home that you are selling and it’s empty, it’s best to set up furniture so that buyers can see what the home would be like if they lived there. After that, you can do staging improvements such as freeing it of personalized knick-knacks, changing the bolder colors of rooms to more neutral colors, and investing in artwork.

Once you’ve staged your home to the best of your abilities, see what resources your real estate agent has available to you. Ask if they can have professional photos taken of the home, as this is far more attractive to buyers than amateur cell phone photos that can be blurry or too dark. Next, find out if you can take videos or even make a video tour of the home. While photos are good, videos have more appeal to prospective buyers because movement can reveal things that a photo might be composed to hide.

After that, see what they have available to them on the marketing side of things. One of the most common promotional tools that real estate agents use are flyers. In addition to flyers, see if your real estate agent can create a personalized website for your listing. Using these materials will build more interested buyers for your home and almost any method that you use to rope in more people is a good one.

High Value Enhancements: Landscaping

Let’s dive into some of the more pricy renovations and improvements that can increase a home’s value.

Upgrading your landscaping not only increases your curbside appeal, but it can also make your home more energy-efficient. Strategically placing trees so that they shade the home from the sun on warm days and shield the home from cold winds during the winter can save the home owners money on heating and cooling costs, which makes your home more valuable.

Another landscaping move that can make your home more economical is xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is choosing plants native to your home’s location that don’t require much water, which can be incredibly useful for dryer regions such as San Diego County that might implement water restrictions during drought conditions. However, be careful that your landscaping design is done tastefully, since a poorly designed xeriscape garden can end up looking like it’s just a garden full of weeds. One way to avoid this is by implementing flowering shrubs such as a butterfly bush or lilac to give your outdoor space color.

As far as improving design goes, you can “softscape” your home by upgrading any planters that you are using to stone planters, which can be both attractive and long-lasting. You can also add natural edging to your lawns in the form of stones, sticks, or other creative materials alongside boulder accents to give your home a more organic feel.

You can replace your lawn with new grass while keeping it well-maintained to attract more potential buyers. However, if you decide to make this upgrade with the sole intention of it paying off in the end, be sure to do this shortly before putting your home on the market, since maintenance fees can stack up over time and you could lose out on your investment.

High Value Enhancements: Home Upgrades

Now that your landscaping is all set, let’s see what kind of changes we can make to the home itself to increase its value.

Garage and front doors are generally front-facing, which means that they play a role in that crucial first impression. If you have a swing out or swing up garage door, consider replacing it with roll up garage doors. If you already have a garage door with an electric opener, then consider replacing it with a newer, quieter one. You can also replace your front door with something more stylish if it is dated or not in the best shape. If you think that your front door is good as is, consider painting it a bold color and adding blooming flowers on each side of the door to make it stand out. Replacing a front door has been found to be one of the most profitable renovations that you can make. However, be careful that the design that you choose is consistent with the style of your home, because an upscale door can look out of place on a more functional house.

When an interested buyer enters your home, it’s important that they can see everything well enough to come to a firm decision and make a deal, so make sure that the lighting in your rooms is adequate. You can do this by cleaning and opening windows or replacing them as well as updating any light fixtures and their arrangements. You want everything to be visible, but you don’t want to drown prospective buyers in harsh lights, so try things like using mirrors and smart color choices to increase the natural lighting in your home. You can also use accent lighting so that features like fireplaces and plants stand out more. When choosing your light fixtures, you can also make your home more economical by installing energy-saving lamps and bulbs.

Replacing any carpets with hardwood flooring is an attractive feature for most buyers since it is easier to clean and is longer lasting. However, as with the doors, you will need to make sure that your flooring is consistent with the rest of the home’s design.

In the kitchen, you may be able to redo or resurface just the front of your cabinets and drawers. This will allow you to make the kitchen look newer without ripping everything out. New kitchen countertops and backsplash may be installed at a very fair price. Updated kitchens tend to fetch the interest of more home buyers and contribute to a higher home value.

Market Comparison: How Much More Is a Prepped Home Worth?

Now that we know some of the things that you can do in order to get more for your home, let’s see how much more a prepped home can earn you.

The two homes that we will be comparing are 2204 Monroe Avenue (left) and 4501 Shirley Ann Place (right) in San Diego. These homes are geographically close, have similar square footage, and the same number of bedrooms and full baths. However, one sold for more than $130,000 dollars more than the other. The reason? Good prepping.


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