Whether you’re planning to list your home for sale tomorrow or three years from now, it’s never too early to start making investments that will ultimately increase your home’s value.
According to the 2017 Cost vs. Value report, you will get the best return on your investment (ROI) from major renovations including: new attic insulation, basement and kitchen remodels, and adding a second story.
But even if you’re not in the position to start a major renovation—cost or time-wise—there are still plenty of smaller projects. Some you can do yourself, and they’ll help you increase your home’s value to better prepare you for the day you’re ready to sell.
Read on to learn about four small projects that you can work on (maybe this weekend) to boost your home value and make your home stand out in a crowded market.
Updating your front door is a great way to boost your curb appeal. First impressions can make or break your interactions with prospective buyers—especially since most buyers (51%) use the internet to find their home.
If you want would-be buyers to keep reading about your house and eventually schedule an in-person visit, the exterior of your home needs to look clean and inviting.
At a minimum, you’ll want to give your door a fresh coat of paint. Consider choosing a bright color that contrasts with the color of your home, but accentuates your landscaping. Upgrade the hardware on the door, too, for a simple makeover that packs a punch.
If you have more wiggle room in your budget, consider upgrading your front door to steel. Potential homebuyers will appreciate the added durability and security, and you’re likely to get a 90.7% return on your investment.
Landscaping is another component of curb appeal that can really set your house apart from other listings. Prospective homebuyers tend to think (consciously or not) that if the exterior of a home looks well taken care of, the inside will be, too.
Make sure to get rid of any clutter like kids’ toys or bikes that could detract from your landscaping. You’ll also want to make minor repairs or upgrades to parts of your exterior, like painting a rusty gutter or replacing a broken fence panel.
Landscaping isn’t just about a well-manicured lawn and adding color with plants. It could include building a flagstone pathway to the backyard, installing a wrought-iron fence to increase the privacy of your front lawn, incorporating a zen water feature, or creating a peaceful place to relax (not to mention creating more living space) with the addition of a gazebo.
Quality landscaping can add up to 20% to your home’s value—a significant increase!
Maximizing natural light is a great way to make your home look larger and more inviting to prospective homebuyers. Skylights are great for brightening up dark spaces like hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Keep in mind though, adding a skylight is similar to adding another window to your home in that it can increase the demand on your HVAC system. You can cut energy loss off at the pass by purchasing Energy Star no-leak skylights to keep your utility bills low. You may even be eligible for a tax credit.
If skylights are beyond your budget, check out solar tubes. Solar tubes are usually half the cost of skylights and as long as you are comfortable working on a roof, you can probably install one yourself. Even the smallest solar tube, 10-inches, is the equivalent of three 100-watt bulbs, which is enough to illuminate up to 200 square feet.
Today’s homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for a home with energy efficient features. According to Globst.com, buyers will pay up to $11,000 more for a home with well-insulated windows and Energy-star appliances because of the long-term savings they can expect to experience with their monthly utility bills.
Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of ways to make your home more energy efficient. On the lower end of the cost spectrum, you can start by installing ceiling fans, programmable thermostats, and efficient toilets and showerheads.
If you have more to invest, you could upgrade your insulation—fiberglass insulation ranks high with an ROI of 107.7%—or even install solar panels on your roof.
The best part of this investment is that you don’t have to wait until you sell your home to reap the benefits. You’ll benefit from lower utility bills (and a smaller carbon footprint) while you still live in your home.
No matter which home improvement projects you take on to increase your home value, none of them will be terribly effective if you neglect basic home maintenance.
If there are problems with your home’s exterior—like broken shutters or cracked concrete, or even the way your dryer only works if you shut the lid in a certain way, it will be a big red flag to buyers. Consider creating and sticking to a year-round maintenance plan for a trouble-free home.