Buying a home is an important milestone for many Americans, and it’s likely the largest purchase most homeowners will ever make. One of the biggest draws of homeownership is that it can be viewed as an investment as much as a lifestyle. Unlike other types of debt, the money you pay toward your home can add value to your property and increase your ROI over time.
Many people don’t consider their home’s value until it’s time to sell. However, homeowners who plan to stay put should also think about ways to increase the value of their home. Historically, property values have gone up over time, and savvy homeowners can use the equity in their property for loans or lines of credit. So even if you don’t plan to sell your house in the near term, boosting its value could be beneficial. Here are six ways to do it.
1. Invest in Solar Power
Solar panels are a clean energy alternative that can help lower your utility bills and add value to your home. Despite the growing popularity of solar panels, many homeowners still know little about solar installation. Some may think the up-front cost of installing solar panels puts this home improvement beyond their reach. However, a number of solar providers allow consumers to lease panels for a reasonable monthly fee, while others offer financing plans.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates solar panels can save more than 40 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per house. Additionally, solar panels can increase your home value by up to $20 per $1 you save in electricity each year. While solar panels are an investment, many rebate programs on the state and federal levels can help make them more affordable.
2. Update Finishes in the Home
You can up the value of your home even if you’re on a slim budget. Simple things like adding a coat of paint or changing out the hardware on drawers and doors can increase offer amounts during a sale. Common items that you can replace on a budget include light fixtures, faucets, and switchplate covers.
If you have more room in your budget, you could update the tile in your bathroom shower, replace windows, and update kitchen appliances. While knocking down walls or remodeling entire rooms may be tempting, smaller updates can be enough. If you don’t plan on selling in the near term, they’ll simply enhance your enjoyment of your living space.
3. Focus on the Most Important Spaces for Big Updates
Renovations are expensive, and in many cases, they don’t actually add as much value to the home as you might think. If you have the funds to remodel a few areas, focus on the rooms that will have the biggest impact on your home’s value. Your budget and timeline will help you narrow your focus even more.
According to Angi, you’ll get the most home value bang for your renovation buck by updating your kitchen and bathrooms. Other high-value remodels include building a deck, replacing windows, or installing fiber cement siding. You’ll want to avoid projects like garage conversions, wine cellars, and custom luxury updates. If you plan to sell your home, making these expensive upgrades may not pay off.
4. Fix the Broken Things
If you can only focus on one area to increase value in your home, fix what’s in disrepair. Not only are broken things unattractive, but they could potentially cause more expensive problems later. You should concentrate on making essential repairs to plumbing, heating, and electrical systems and your foundation and roof before you work on cosmetic issues. Don’t forget to look outside for buckled sidewalks, a cracked driveway, and damaged trees.
Homeowners can save time and money in the selling process by tackling repairs early. Buyers may use your home’s flaws as a bartering tool in their purchase. Additionally, some damaged items could cause your home to fail an inspection, which will make the home more difficult to sell or insure.
5. Boost Your Curb Appeal
Curb appeal goes a long way when it comes to selling your home. Your yard is the first thing buyers will see when they come to visit your property. While landscaping can be costly, even simple changes go a long way to attracting more buyers. If you plan to stay in your home, extra efforts outside can make your home more enjoyable after a long day at work.
When you’re working on curb appeal, fix broken sidewalks, remove dead plants, trim overgrown weeds, and repair broken fences. You may need to mend cracks in the walls and trim or take down trees. At a minimum, aim for a clean and safe outdoor environment. Then you can add a little extra verve with flowers, a fresh coat of paint, enhanced lighting, or a new mailbox.
6. Add a Deck or Patio
If you live in an area with moderate temperatures and a friendly outdoor environment, a deck or patio could be a good addition. These features create the perception of expanded living space. The prospect of outdoor grilling, socializing, or just relaxing makes outdoor living space very attractive to potential buyers.
While some homeowners can build their own deck, a do-it-yourself project is less likely to add significant value to your home. If you do go the DIY route, choose quality materials and design the deck to enhance your property. You can even use a deck to hide air conditioning units or other unsightly equipment.
Maximizing Your Home Investment
Your home is your castle — and someday it might become someone else’s. Whether you’re looking to stay or to sell, enhancing your home’s value makes good sense. And if you approach the home improvement process thoughtfully, it will likely make you some dollars, too.