During the pandemic, designers wondered if there would be an end to the open floor plan. After all, with people working from home and potentially needing to quarantine from one another, we figured it would be better to have separate spaces. But according to the experts, buyers still want the open concept floor plan. This typically brings in more natural light, and it helps to make a space feel much larger with the square footage you have available to you.
“Open layouts are still in. People need dedicated space to work, but they still want to enjoy family time and entertainment. Knowing that, knocking out the right wall can create the spacious layout on many buyers’ wish lists. NAHB’s survey shows that 85% of buyers want an open layout between the kitchen and dining room; 79% favor an open arrangement between the family room and the kitchen, and 70% like an open layout between the family room and the dining room.” (via Homelight)
No matter how many home makeover shows you watch on TV, it doesn’t make you an expert. More than likely, there are issues with your home that you would never know existed unless you hired a home inspector. According to Home Advisor, hiring a home inspector costs between $280 and $401.
“Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home’s value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.” (via HGTV)
In 2020, millions of people were forced to work from home for the first time in their lives. They suddenly had to get used to attending meetings via Zoom at their kitchen table. If they were lucky, they could turn a spare bedroom into a home office. Moving forward, our society is highly valuing having a home office, because we understand that we’re more than likely going to need it in the future, especially for people who work remotely.
“Creating new space or dedicating existing space to a home office is likely going to be a good investment if you’re in a market with a decent amount of people who telecommute. Mid-2020 data from HomeLight indicates that a home office adds over $10,000 in resale value, and that number may be even higher now as Americans settle further into their remote work routines.” (via Homelight)
If you want to make your house more valuable, you may want to consider adding on more square footage. This is easier said than done, since it will require you to get permits from your local municipality, as well as hiring professionals to add on to your space. However, it may be worth it in the end. It can help you live a more spacious lifestyle while you live in the home, and it can also add on value if you decide to sell your house later on.
“Adding more usable space to an existing home can make a lot of financial sense, and that’s especially true in areas with limited available real estate where land and space are finite. The national average cost to build an addition is $49,562, according to estimates from HomeAdvisor. The actual cost will vary depending on the type of room you’re looking to add. For example, tacking on a laundry room to your home might be as little as around $8,000, while adding a new bedroom with an en suite bathroom might run up to $100,000.” (via Bankrate)
It may sound too good to be true, but the easiest thing you can do to make your home more valuable is to paint the rooms. Everything looks better with a fresh coat of paint. Don’t forget to paint your trim and ceiling, too. According to experts, painting your rooms a lighter color like eggshell white or beige helps with attracting buyers. (In case you were planning to sell your home.)
“One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!” (via HGTV)
One of the best things you can do to increase the value of your home is to focus on curb appeal. According to Investopedia, “Curb appeal is a term used to describe the general attractiveness of a house or other piece of property from the sidewalk to a prospective buyer. This term is often used by realtors trying to sell or evaluate a piece of property.”
Some things you can do to improve your curb appeal is investing in landscaping, paint or replace your front door, clean or replace your siding, and replace your house numbers. Once your house has that “wow” factor when people walk up to you, you know that you’ve improved the curb appeal, which makes a home much easier to sell to prospective buyers. (via Investopedia)
Buying a steel door may never be something that crosses your mind, but experts say that it’s something that you should highly consider. “Replacing an existing entry door with a steel one has recovered anywhere from 65% to 91% at resale over the past four years, statistics show. Buyers appreciate the energy efficiency, low maintenance, and cold-blocking powers of metal.”
As you might imagine, buying a steel door costs several hundred, or even up to a thousand dollars. They don’t come cheap, but they will add a lot of value to your home, and help make it more energy efficient. As an alternative, see if you can install a steel frame to your existing door, which might help to lower the cost but have the same effect to help save energy. (via Homelight)
Do you have a bare lawn of grass in your front yard? Then you will want to think about doing some landscaping if you want to add value to your home. Think about seasonal interest, and add perennial flowers and plants that will come back every year. If you have a small amount of space somewhere like a condo or townhouse, you can add some annual flowers in pots to make the front of your home look more inviting.
“No question that shrubs and colorful plants will add curb appeal to any home, but when shopping at your local garden center, make sure that you ‘think green.’ Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means more savings to you and more green in your wallet.” (via HGTV)
Almost everyone dreams of having a luxurious new kitchen. The kitchen is where you cook, eat your meals, and it’s often the place where you entertain guests and have important family moments. According to Bob Vila, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is between $75 and $250 per square foot.
“The kitchen is the heart of every home. According to top real estate professionals, the kitchen should be the first room you focus on when doing upgrades since it carries the most weight when buyers are trying to decide whether or not to buy a home. A kitchen also has the highest ROI; you can expect to get around 85% of kitchen remodeling costs back when your home sells.” (via Home Repair Ninja)
Earlier on this list, we mentioned hiring an interior designer to help you figure out what changes to make in your home. However, your local area might not have any designers nearby. Or, maybe you simply can’t afford their services. That’s where magazines, blogs, and TV shows on interior design come in.
“An alternative to hiring a designer is to search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and websites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple — when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself projects are best.” (via HGTV)
“The kitchen is full of big-ticket items, but the backsplash doesn’t have to be one. In fact, you can comfortably install a backsplash in just one weekend. Plan on installing the backsplash tiles on Saturday and grouting and sealing them Sunday.”
Believe it or not, even places like Dollar Tree sell faux stick-on subway tiles that you can buy multiples of to do a backsplash in your kitchen. Even if you live in an apartment, you can use these stick-on tiles and remove them once your lease is up, and you’re ready to move on to a new home. According to Angi, “Backsplash installation costs an average of $15 to $40 per square foot. For professional installation, the average total cost is about $1,000.” (via Family Handyman)
“The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers’ homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.”
There are a few ways you can make your home more energy efficient. You can turn down your thermostat, start a compost pile in your backyard, or install low-flow shower heads. Another option is to seal your windows in the winter time, and replace all of your incandescent light bulbs for something more energy-efficient. Lastly, turn off unnecessary water, and limit the use of space heaters around your house if you can help it in the winter time. (via HGTV)
Whether you’re planning to move or live in your home for several more years, installing a pool is a guaranteed way to have fun and enjoy your backyard. Almost everyone wishes they could have a pool and hot tub in their backyard, but few can justify the cost. Lucky for you, there is a lot more justification now, because paying for a pool has given great return on investment in just the past couple years.
“The amount of dollar value a pool adds to a home rose 69% from pre-pandemic to 2021, such that now you can expect a house with a pool to sell for an estimated $27,199 more than a house without one on average. If the pool is paired with an inground hot tub, buyers will pay an estimated $7,000 more. A pool may cost significantly more than around $30,000 to build, however, so you’ll need to weigh your individual cost and personal enjoyment of this feature against the added resale value in your market.”
Replacing your attic’s insulation is a great investment. You can usually recoup the entire cost onto the value of your home, because it also helps to save money on energy cost. If you’re planning to lay sheets of insulation, you may be able to do this on your own after watching a few YouTube tutorials. However, if you’re planning to use spray insulation, it’s best to leave that up to the professionals.
According to Forbes Advisor, “The average cost to insulate an attic is between $1 and $7 per square foot. This equates to a typical price range of up to $1,500 per project including labor and materials. For attics with smaller square footage, costs can be as low as $500 while insulation for larger attics can cost up to $4,000.” (via Forbes Advisor)
“If you aren’t planning to sell your house today, plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time. Plant shade trees — not only will mature trees make your home more desirable but a fully grown, properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. Mature landscaping is also good for the environment, providing a necessary habitat for wildlife while adding valuable curb appeal to your home.”
Before buying a tree, do some research to see which variety is best for your area. Also keep in mind what may fall off of the tree, and if you’re ready for the cleanup. For example, walnut trees drop green balls that contain the walnuts inside of them, and they’re a huge pain to clean up every year. Weigh the pro’s and con’s of each species of tree, and choose wisely. (via HGTV)
“Front porches have come back in vogue since the pandemic began, with rocking chairs or other cozy seating offering a safe way to visit with neighbors or have a quiet cup of coffee. A welcoming front porch can add an estimated $6,000 in resale value, HomeLight’s 2022 trends study found.”
If you already have a front porch, find ways to make it more inviting. Add seating or give it a fresh coat of paint. “From hallway-like corridors to squarish rooms, porches vary tremendously in size, shape and cost: The national average is $4,600 to $22,000, according to HomeAdvisor data, but fancier porches can exceed $50,000.” (via Homelight)
Many of you have heard of the concept of “forever home”, but few people have the foresight to imagine how they can age in place. “Aging-in-place or universal design is gaining traction among baby boomers who’d rather continue to live in their homes than have to move later in life. Universal design involves reworking a home so it functions for wheelchair mobility and adds safety features like grab bars in convenient places.”
According to Angi, it costs anywhere between $790–$7,970 to renovate your home so that it has a universal design. And in some cases, it’s going to be impossible. For example, if you have a two-story home and eventually reach a point where you can no longer walk the stairs, that may cut off your access to the upstairs. (Unless you pay for something like a chair lift or install an elevator.) This is why some people choose to retire in one-story homes where it’s easy to access every part of the house, even if you were handicapped in some way. (via Family Handyman)
People love the look of stone veneer. It instantly makes a house look more luxurious. And in some cases, it can make your home look like a castle. It’s also a huge selling point for potential buyers looking to buy your house. According to Homelight, “In a midrange home, replacing a 300-square-foot band of existing vinyl siding from the bottom third of the street-facing facade with adhered manufactured stone veneer costs an average of $10,386 but recovers about 92% of that at resale, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report.”
Considering that stone veneer is very heavy and can be tricky to install, we recommend hiring professionals to do it for you. However, like most things on the Internet, there are going to be plenty of video tutorials on Youtube available for you to check out. So if you already own a pickup truck, you may be able to save some money by buying, transporting, and installing the stone veneer on your own. (via Homelight)
Something that few people consider as an addition to the value of their home is the quality of their water supply. “Install a water filtration system in your kitchen. Not only do these systems purify your water, they will also lower your grocery bills — no more bottled water. A water filtration system is an inexpensive addition, but it’s the sort of small luxury that homebuyers love.”
The cost of a water filtration system is going to vary drastically depending on what kind you get installed. For example, a carbon filter system can cost as little as $50, while a reverse osmosis system may cost as much as $4,000. It’s also something that may be missed during home tours if you’re thinking of selling your house. For more of a show-and-tell sort of water filter, consider buying one of those over-the-faucet water filters, which cost under $40. (via HGTV)
One of the best things you can do to help improve your home’s value is to install a new roof. On average, a new roof will last between 20 to 50 years, depending on the materials you choose. It helps to protect the home from the elements, and ensures that other parts of the house stay in good condition. Without a good roof, many other parts of the home may start to crumble from water damage. So when potential buyers hear that you recently replaced the roof, it can be a huge selling point.
“A new roof can increase home value, but you might not see a 100% return on investment — very few improvements, if any, offer a full recoup of money spent. But even if you don’t see a huge financial return, a new roof can make you more likely to get full asking price, lower time on market and smoother negotiations.” (via Zillow)
“Once viewed as an add-on reserved for luxury homes, these days, it appears everyone wants an outdoor kitchen. In addition to a built-in grill, outdoor kitchens often include features such as cabinets, a bar, a sink, standard kitchen appliances, and sometimes a flat-screen TV. They can be lavish or basic, depending on the budget.”
“The value an outdoor kitchen adds to a home has increased from an estimated $6,100 pre-pandemic to $9,800 in the current market. Has it always been your dream to make shrimp scampi al fresco and serve it to guests al fresco? Go for the outdoor kitchen — buyers will love it for the same reasons when the time comes to sell.” (via Homelight)
Earlier on this list, we mentioned how important it is to have a front porch nowadays, especially in this pandemic world. Having a back porch or deck is equally, if not more important. People love to enjoy a deck in the privacy of their own backyard, where they can barbecue or even lounge by the pool.
“On average, homeowners spend just over $16,000 to add new wooden decks, but only see the resale value of their homes increase by $11,000, which is about 66% in recouped costs. Though, if restoring a wood deck is an option, it can be a smart investment” (via Extra Space)
“Since many home buyers worry about buying a home that will need constant maintenance, replacing a major component before putting it up for sale — like the furnace, water heater or even the roof — may calm fears of an emergency repair in the near future and help get you a higher price. Improvements that make things easy to clean and maintain may also increase home value. Consider replacing easily stained carpet with hardwood floors or replacing high-maintenance wood siding with vinyl siding.”
If you’re not sure which improvement your home needs the most, consider hiring a home inspector. They will go through your house and let you know what appliances and major components need to be updated first. Or, ask an experienced friend- or even your parents- for advice on what to fix first. Getting an outside opinion on your home is sometimes exactly what we need in order to see what’s best for making the house low-maintenance for others. (via NerdWallet)
“What’s on your ceiling? Few structural elements date a house more than popcorn ceilings. So dedicate a weekend to ditching the dated look and adding dollar signs to the value of your home. NOTE: some older ceilings could contain asbestos so before undertaking this project, have yours tested by professionals.”
If you want to remove the popcorn ceiling on your own, this is actually an easy project to do. There are also asbestos kits that you can buy from hardware stores, and have a sample sent to a lab. Just be careful and wear an N95 mask. Take all precautions before going ahead with your DIY project. (via HGTV)
“When it comes to what features buyers like to see in an outdoor space, 54% of top real estate agents HomeLight surveyed cited a fire pit as one of their top priorities. This provides a cozy setup for friends and family to gather even when the evenings get chillier. A separate survey also found that outdoor fireplaces have increased in value since March 2020, from adding an average $3,300 dollars in value to over $5,700 in value since the pandemic began.”
Of course, if you want the cheaper version of this, you can buy a fire pit for roughly $100. This won’t necessarily add to the value of your home, but it gives you and your family the option of enjoying a fire outside at night. However, don’t use a fire pit like this on the grass, because it will kill it. Even with the cheaper fire pits, it’s best to do it over stone or sand if you have that available to you. (via Homelight)
“Replacing an old front door can work wonders for curb appeal. The front of the home is the first thing you, your neighbors and prospective buyers will see. Garage doors often take up the most amount of space on the front of your home, so installing a modern glass panel door or a rustic wood door will dramatically improve your home’s appearance.”
Replacing your door is not just about aesthetics, either. In many cases, replacing your front door means that you’re helping your home with energy efficiency. We recommend finding a steel frame store to keep in the heat of your home. The cost of replacing an exterior door goes anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to $1,000. And the cost of a garage door is anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. (via Bankrate)
When you’re getting ready to sell your home, make sure you’re set up for the highest quality of air. Service or replace your HVAC system, and replace the air filter. If you have an AC unit, you may need to clean or repair the machine at least once a year as well. People will be able to tell the quality of your air once they walk into your home for a tour. No one wants to buy a place that’s stuffy.
“Air quality isn’t just about the conditions outdoors. If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality. If the results prove that your carpets should be replaced, choose environmentally friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard-surface floors are much easier to keep clean, don’t hold odors, give your home an updated look and, in general, are more appealing to buyers.” (via HGTV)
Speaking of air quality, you should consider installing ceiling fans. These cost around $100-$200 each, and should be installed in some of the major rooms of the house. Potential home buyers like to see ceiling fans because they know that there is the option for them to use. It doesn’t matter if you have central AC And heating. Air flow is still important to the value of a home.
“They give a room character and its own source of air movement. Ceiling fans come in a wide range of prices depending on the size, style, and quality of ceiling fan. Adding ceiling fans to rooms like bedrooms, the living room, or family room will add value to your home immediately.” (via The Spruce)
On average, it costs between $200 to $1,200 to replace a window. It varies drastically depending on the size, materials, and labor needed to replace it. Some people try to replace their own windows to save money, but the project truly is difficult. In many cases, you might want to leave this to the professionals. The last thing you want to do is drop your brand new windows down from the second story.
Once you replace the windows, it truly is worth it. This can help with saving energy on heating and cooling, but it’s also something that people will notice right away. “Addressing your windows isn’t just window dressing. Potential buyers will notice them and so do appraisers. Vinyl and wood have comparable recoup rates but wood has a higher average cost and nearly one percent less recoup rate.” (via Family Handyman)
“Safety-enhancing gadgets top the list of ‘smart’ technologies buyers want in their new homes, according to a 2018 survey by Coldwell Banker. These safe and smart devices include thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks and lighting. While smart tech doesn’t always increase home value, it does add appeal. Those who see themselves as “techies” are more likely to pay more for these items. Unlike replacing the roof or renovating the bathroom, you can usually install these devices yourself for about $1,000 or less.”
Adding smart objects to your home will become more important if you live in an urban area. Anywhere that young people in their 20’s and 30’s are moving to will be a huge plus if you can add smart objects. For example, a Ring doorbell costs around $200, and it’s something that potential buyers will notice as soon as they walk up to the front door. It’s a small cost to pay for making a great first impression. (via NerdWallet)
“Light, neutral wall colors make for a good palette for resale because buyers can imagine their belongings in the space, our experts say. They also help your home look its best in online photos and listings. Paint is the cheapest thing you can do, and it brings such value. It brings people in the door. When every room is a different color and you look at it online, it looks like you’re going through an Easter egg hunt. When you have all the same color, each picture flows into the next one.”
When you’re looking to paint your rooms a neutral palette, you can pick from whites, grays, or beiges. Basically anything light. Remember that if your room was painted dark before, it’s going to take a few coats of primer and paint before you can tone it down again. Another great thing about painting your home with a neutral palette is that it gives the illusion of the space being larger. If you have a small condo or house that you’re trying to sell, check out our article on Genius Design Hacks to Make Small Homes Feel Spacious. (via Homelight)
When you have been living in a house for years, you may be so accustomed to seeing your exterior siding that you are blind to the little imperfections that have formed there. The good thing about siding is that it can be painted, or you can replace pieces as-needed. A good power wash is also an option, and can make your siding look brand new again.
Of course, sometimes the siding is too far gone, and there is no other option than to replace all of it. “According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, replacing siding increases home value by 76.7% of the project cost; for a mid-sized project valued at $15,072, you can recoup $11,554” (via Progressive Foam)
“Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.”
Even if replacing a carpet only costs a few hundred dollars and one day of work, future buyers don’t always have that mindset. They want something that is move-in-ready. So never assume that the buyer will have the foresight to put it in their own budget. Also make sure the floors are vacuumed and cleaned professionally with a wet-dry vac before you have tours of your home. (via HGTV)
One of the most highly valued things that people look for in a home is hardwood floors. If you’ve seen any episode of Fixer Upper, you already know how Joanna Gaines lifts up the carpet for an older home in the hopes of finding original wood flooring underneath. Most buyers are also hoping for the same. So if you can do that to your own home, consider ripping up the carpets, sanding the floors, and staining them so that they show off their antique beauty.
Of course, you can also pay to install brand new wood floors in a home, if there is just plywood hiding underneath your carpet. According to Bob vila, Installing hardwood flooring averages between $6 and $12 per square foot. On average, wood flooring costs between $3 and $7 per square foot for materials and $3 to $5 per square foot for labor. An estimate for installation of 1000 square feet of hardwood flooring runs between $6,000 and $12,000.” “As long as the wood floors are in good condition and well-maintained, they will have a higher resale value than laminate floors. Some flooring resale values are regional, but hardwood is a clear winner across the board. Also, even if you have high-quality laminate, your listing will still just say ‘laminate.’”
“If you have an unfinished basement, you might have room for storage, but you’re missing out on livable space for future buyers to enjoy— whether as a home office or space for entertaining. In fact, finishing a basement of 400 to 1,500 square feet has a potential ROI of up to 75%. You’re adding more heated square footage, which bumps up your house into another price bracket.”
“Even among homes ranging from $250,000 to $400,000 in Georgia, an unfinished basement can add about $15,000 to $20,000. If finished, a basement can add even more — up to $40,000 or $50,000 to the asking price. Finishing a basement will run you $18,400 on average, but can cost up to $34,000, largely depending on your square footage. This project involves installing flooring, drywall, and paint, but it creates a “valuable blank canvas” for potential buyers.” (via Homelight)
When you think about curb appeal, it is the impression that you get when you walk up to the front of someone’s house. If you have a garage with an old, dented door, people take notice to that. Sometimes, you can improve the look of the door by just painting it. But sometimes, there is no other option than to replace the door completely.
“According to HomeLight’s research, top agents say a new garage door costs an average $1,200 but adds an average $2,797 in resale value for a 133% ROI.” Of course, some garage doors cost much more than that, if you’re looking to install something stylish rather than basic. At the end of the day, do what’s right for you and your budget. (via Homelight)
Depending on where you live, ample parking space might be like finding the holy grail. But no matter where you’re located, people always check to see how many cars they can fit in the driveway. Multiple adults may be living in the same home, but they also want to have guests over without crowding the street with cars. In urban areas, it’s especially rare to have a parking space. So if you can figure out a way to create one with gravel or pavement, this will always add value to your home.
“Parking spaces are increasingly becoming like the veritable needle in the haystack and more and more homeowners are choosing to convert excess space in their property into valuable parking facilities. Adding a single parking space to your home could see your property’s value soar by 5%.” (via Deco Alert)
Believe it or not, small touches like your mailbox and house numbers really grab buyers’ attention. You may have a beautiful home, but if you have an old and dented mailbox, it comes across as lazy. If you can’t even replace a mailbox, why would they want to even look inside or consider buying your house? Mailboxes cost less than $50 if you’re going for something standard from somewhere like Home Depot, or you can invest a bit more and get a stylish one for around $100 to $150.
The same goes with house numbers. You need to make sure your house numbers are large and easy to see from the road. Nowadays, people get deliveries from Amazon and Uber Eats left and right. We need the drivers to be able to clearly see where you live, so there is absolutely no confusion for them. The great thing about house numbers is that they’re incredibly cheap from somewhere like Home Depot, and you can even find them at the Dollar Tree. You can also paint the numbers by hand, if you happen to have the skill set. (via Homelight)