Tips: 10 home improvement projects

Increase your home’s value by making smart use of your time and resourcesPooja Mihir Shah, Director, Green House Real Estate

With real estate prices not what they once were, to put it mildly, it is only natural for homeowners preparing to sell to be thinking of ways to up their home’s value.

But it simply does not make sense to throw money into a big remodeling project that will not end up netting a higher sale price in the end.
What is a homeowner to do?

Learn what buyers want, then start early (so you can enjoy your hard work before you sell) and small (to avoid excessive spending) for the best possible results.

Here are some 10 home improvement projects that make smart use of your time and resources to sell your property in the current market:

1. Hire a pro. Consider hiring a pro to take a look at your home and offer advice. One morning spent with a home inspector, a real estate agent or a local designer can give you insight into what potential buyers will see when they look at your home — and can save you money in the long run.

2. Invest early in landscaping. A beautifully landscaped yard with gorgeous, mature shade trees can be a big selling point, but you will need to allow for at least several years of growth to make the most of your investment. Make planting a priority early on, and be sure to seek out expert advice on the proper placement and care of your trees and yard.

3. Make it visually appealing. Giving your home’s exterior and paved areas a power wash can be nearly as dramatic as repainting, for a much lower cost.

4. Maintain green lawns. Sad, neglected lawns are a major turnoff to potential buyers. Maintaining a healthy lawn from the beginning with regular care is the least expensive route.

5. Upgrade exterior doors. Curb appeal will help sell your house; it is as simple as that. And the way your home looks from the outside depends a lot on the condition of your front door (and the garage door if it is visible from the street).

6. Update the interiors. Outdated wallpaper, tacky light fixtures, stained carpets and popcorn ceilings are all good candidates for updating. The replacements need not be high-end. Just think clean, simple and contemporary.

7. Renovate the kitchen. Minor kitchen renovations bank the biggest return. If your kitchen is fairly current, you may want to leave it alone as remodeling a kitchen comes with a hefty cost. Smaller updates such as painting or refinishing cabinets that are still in good shape, or upgrading to energy-saving appliances can refresh your kitchen’s look at a fraction of the cost.

8. Make it look larger. If you are looking for a special feature to add to your home, consider replacing a door or several windows with French doors. Not only will they let in more light, but the open feel they provide makes the whole space feel larger.

9. Choose current paint colors. A fresh, crisp paint job in modern neutrals like gray and creams shows off your home to its best advantage. Do not feel that you have to avoid all colors. Just be aware that the bolder your choice, the more likely it is that it will not agree with someone. An overly bright or badly chipped exterior paint color may need refreshing too, so do not stop with the indoors.

10. Build extra storage. Another great investment is to add built-in shelving or cabinets in halls, the kitchen, garages or anywhere you have the space. Buyers love seeing great storage, so this can add a lot of appeal. And if you are able to do some of the work yourself, you can keep costs reasonable.

Source: Pooja Mihir Shah, Director, Green House Real Estate


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