Whether you’re about to list your house for sale on the market or you’ve just moved in and plan to stay awhile, you should make the most of the money you invest into your home in the form of upgrades, repairs and remodels. To be sure you see a return on these types of investments, you must spend your money wisely, making not just the upgrades that you would enjoy having in your home, but also those that will increase your home’s value from the perspective of potential buyers and future appraisers. Consider the following tips before you decide which upgrades are worth it and which renovations can wait for the next owner’s bank account.
1. Listen to Popular Demand
The top three items on millennials’ list of home-buying priorities are kitchens, bathrooms, and floor plans. Maximize your return on investment with minor upgrades, rather than complete remodels. Spring for new, stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, a fresh coat of paint, and low-maintenance flooring. Update the bathroom with a modern look. Make minor upgrades, if possible, to achieve an open floor plan with flexible, multi-use living space.
2. Get and Stay Organized
Keeping up with your list of chores might not seem like an investment because you don’t actually have to spend any money, but creating a calm and inviting space will make your house look like a million bucks. A home that appears pretty automatically gains value in the eyes of potential buyers. If you struggle with organization and styling your home, pay a professional home stager or organizer to help you cut the clutter and create a welcoming space that will be attractive to buyers.
3. Make Easy Choices
While remodeling your home, you will encounter a seemingly endless parade of decisions to make. When in doubt, choose high quality and low maintenance. This means avoiding wall to wall carpeting, ornate and detailed (i.e. dusty) cabinets, countertops that stain easily, and exotic landscaping. Today’s homebuyers prefer minimal upkeep. So, go with hardwood flooring and minimalistic styles.
4. Focus on Energy Savings
Making your home energy efficient will save you money if you stick around. Energy efficiency will also pay off when you sell. Update your windows and bulbs. Hire a professional to come in and inspect your home’s ductwork to ensure the indoors stays in and the outdoors stays out. You might also consider investing in a smart energy system for your home, in addition to selecting smart, energy-efficient appliances when upgrading your kitchen.
5. Choose Clever Curb Appeal
First impressions are important, and a home’s first impression is its curb appeal. Make sure the outside of the home is neat, tidy, and attractive. Scrape off flaking paint and add a fresh coat in an attractive color. Pull weeds and repair cracks in the pavement. When selecting vegetation, choose wisely to limit yard work and upkeep. Look for native plant species that will thrive naturally in your yard with minimal care and minimal watering. If you can, do the yard work yourself to minimize costs and maximize return.
Bonus Tip: Spending More Doesn’t Always Generate a Bigger Return
Homeowners often make the mistake of assuming the more money they put into their homes, the more they will get out. Large investments, however, don’t always generate big returns. For example, big-ticket items with high-maintenance demands like swimming pools, outdoor water features, or even solar panels can often hurt your home’s value. Before installing that backyard waterfall you’ve had your eye on or another expensive item, check with a local real estate agent or property appraiser to find out whether or not the expense can be considered an investment.