Brokers Tell All: 6 Ways to Boost House Value

Six ways to Boost House Value
With housing prices increasing, now is the time invest in your home to capitalize on its value. Here’s what veteran real estate professionals from around the country have to say about what home improvement projects pay off, whether you are selling now or in the future.
1. Create Space

Knock out a non-structural wall, or even remove that kitchen island. Anything that opens the space and creates a sense of flow in the house is generating a response from buyers who can afford to be choosy. For the price of a few hundred dollars, you’ll transform the feel of the house. “Right now buyers want a wide open floor plan, the living room right off the kitchen. They are into big spaces.
A kitchen island can be an asset, creating needed storage space. But if the kitchen has enough cabinets, it could pay to haul the island away.Homeowners might want to consider a moveable island. “You can adjust them to you needs.

2. Prune, Limb, and Landscape
Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views, darken interiors, promote mold, and block a good look at the house.
People forget about their trees more than almost anything, yet landscaping is one of the top three investments that bring the biggest return. According to a 2007 survey of 2,000 brokers conducted by HomeGain, an online real estate marketing site, an investment of around $400 or $500 dollars in landscaping, can bring a return of four times that. “It could really make a significant difference in the price. Nobody likes to spend money, but landscaping might even be the most important thing, even if owners have kept up the house.
Overgrown landscaping is a problem at all price points, it hurts with marketing too. People say, “Where’s the house?” If buyers can’t see what they are getting, they just move right on.

“3. Let in the Light
The number one item on HomeGain survey, lighting—everything from a dimmer switch to the increasingly popular sun tubes—noticeably enhances a home’s appeal. “Dimmers allow you to create a mood.” 
He’s a booster of sun tubes, too. Less expensive than framing in a skylight, sun tubes—also known as light pipes, sunscoops, and tubular skylights—use reflective material to funnel natural light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture and into a room. With tubular skylights, sunlight is nice, and moonlight is even nicer. Everyone loves the natural light.” 
A few other ways to light things up: Fix broken panes, make sure windows open, and consider lights that use motion detectors to turn themselves off. Remember high wattage bulbs make small spaces feel larger, and soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces. 
Before thinking about a fancy upgrade to the kitchen, address the basics. Insulate the attic, repair plumbing leaks, replace rusty rain gutters, inspect the furnace and the septic system, replace or repair leaky windows, install storm doors, weed the flower beds. 
These kinds of fixes go a long way toward value. Starting with a couple hundred dollars on a few things could increase the value of your house by a few thousand dollars. People are surprised by that. It’s exciting. People think they have to put in a lot of money to see a big difference and they really don’t.” 
4. Don’t Put Off Care and Maintenance

Investing in maintenance and repairs is not only moneywise; could also be crucial to a sale. Brokers and agents from across the country say the houses that get attention in this buyers market are in tip-top shape. What’s important in this market, houses that sell are in pristine condition and are priced to the market. If your heating or air conditioning systems are old, “new ones are so much better, with savings of up to 30 to 40 percent.

5. What’s Under Your Feet

Don’t undervalue the materials you’re standing on. Ninety-four percent of real estate pros recommend spending some money on floors. But it doesn’t have to be a lot of money. For an estimated average investment of $600 to $900, brokers report that the return in value comes in at up to $2,000. 

And you can spend even less than that. A few well-placed nails can eliminate distracting squeaks. Other small projects with a big impact include repairing broken tile, patching damaged floor boards, and tossing out the wall-to-wall carpeting. 
In some cases, however, a new floor is in order!! The “would-be seller’s ” house might’ve sold were it not for a kitchen floor that drew questions from buyers. “The number one problem was the fact that her floor was really personal: blue and green vinyl. It clashed with the other upgrades in the kitchen. Everyone kept saying, ‘That kitchen!'”
If you want a wood floor that holds value, check out  engineered hardwoods. If you like cork, she says floating cork wears better than cork tile which is glued down and can peel. 
6. Easy Bath Upgrades

Brokers, one and all, say spiffing up the kitchen and bath is a sure bet for adding value to your home. Surveyed brokers say these kinds of improvements can get expensive. It may not be economical to do a major renovation if you are trying to spend as little as possible before putting a house up for sale. But some upgrades are cheap, easy, and fast…especially in the bathroom. 

Replace frosted glass for clear glass, clean the grout, remove rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replace faucets, and install a low-flush toilet. Even buying a new toilet seat can make a difference. You can spend $500 on a bathroom, and it’s totally tuned up. 
Think DIY , small $$ investments , BIG $$$ returns. Neat , clean and spiffy !!! 

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