2017 New Year’s Resolution: Increase the Value of Your Home

Jennifer Coloma, December 14, 2016

4 ways to increase the value of your home in 2017, from simple and inexpensive to complex and upscale

At the start of each new year, millions of people set a New Year’s resolution to achieve and proceed to tackle this goal, from improving their health or spending more time with family to learning a new and exciting skill. With the new year comes a sense of reinvigoration—and the perfect opportunity to increase the value of your home.

According to New Year’s Resolutions Stick When Willpower Is Reinforced by John Tierney of the NY Times, roughly 50% of people that set a New Year’s resolution are able to maintain their goal until at least July. These people maintain their success by formulating a plan, writing it down, breaking their goal down into smaller and more achievable parts, and rewarding themselves periodically for accomplishing these parts of their overarching goal. Rewarding yourself for any success, no matter how minor, such as selecting new countertops for the kitchen, helps maintain your motivation for tackling and accomplishing the major goal, such as remodeling the entire kitchen.

To help you succeed with your New Year’s resolution, we’ve compiled the following list of projects that increase the value of your home.

Clean Up Your House

Potential Cost: $0 (DIY) to $675 (Staging Cost) to $2,500 (Pro De-Cluttering Services)
Potential Home Value Increase: 1% to 5%

If you’re selling or plan to sell your house, staging is key. According to the 2015 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) study on the effects of Home Staging, 32% of buyer’s agents and 37% of seller’s agents stated that staged homes increased the dollar value buyers were willing to offer by 1% to 5%. In the same study, 81% of buyers found it “easier to visualize the property as their future home” when it was staged.

An instrumental aspect of staging is a clean and de-cluttered house. If you’re not selling your home, cleaning still helps lift your mood each day (coming home to a clean dwelling), provides structure, organization, and balance for the whole family (particularly for children), and makes it easier to navigate from the couch to the kitchen without tripping over and stubbing a toe on various wires, piles of mail, or leftover toys.

When tackling this New Year’s resolution:

  • Breaking it down by room helps minimize the energy you expend cleaning, as you’re not running from one room up three flights of stairs to another room during a particular cleaning task, but instead staying centralized in that room until it is clean.
  • Reward yourself (and the whole family) after a room is cleaned, to help maintain spirits.
    • For children, tasking them with cleaning their rooms can be a lofty goal depending on their age. Breaking it down into even smaller goals, such as putting all the toys hiding under their beds into their proper places, may help.
    • Children typically respond better to simple rewards, so while you may treat yourself to a steak dinner for cleaning the living room, consider rewarding a child with a golden star sticker and the chance to pick one snack (a juice box, a cookie, etc.) to eat.
  • Communicate your goals with the entire family and encourage shared responsibility. It’s not just your house to keep clean – it’s everyone’s house to keep clean.
  • Once the house is clean, set up a routine to help keep the house clean every day of the year.

Replace the Entry Door or the Garage Door

Potential Cost: $1,335 (Entry Door) to $1,652 (Garage Door)
Potential ROI: 91.10% of cost (Steel Entry Door) to 91.50% of cost (Garage Door)

According to this 2016 remodeling study on the cost of remodels versus the value the projects returned, replacing a garage door cost $1,652 and its resale value was $1,512, meaning a cost recoupment of 91.10% upon selling the home. Replacing the entry door with a steel door provided a similar return on investment (ROI): costing $1,335 and having a resale value of $1,217. In contrast, adding a bathroom to the home had a ROI of only 56.20% and cost $42,233.

So if you’re working on a tight budget (in terms of time and money) and want to add value to your home, go for something simple like replacing the garage door or front door.

When tackling this New Year’s resolution:

  • First determine if you need to replace the garage door or front door. You can ask a professional to inspect them and provide estimates on the cost of replacing the garage or front door with something studier, and the cost comparison of various materials. Note that this evaluation and home visit typically costs a fee.
    • Note: Replacing garage doors is dangerous. Unless you are a professional, we highly advise against doing it yourself.
  • If you decide to replace either door and have called various professionals for cost comparisons, make a plan on what you’ll need to do on the day that door is replaced. If your cats or dogs live in the garage, they’ll need to be moved from the garage while the garage door is being replaced—or they may attempt to escape.
  • Small children may similarly be frightened by loud construction noises. It may be a good idea to make the Door Replacement Day an Out-of-the-house-adventure Day.
  • Enjoy your new door.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

Potential Cost: $120 (New Grass Seed) to $9,450 (New Wood Deck)
Potential ROI: 100% to 400% of cost (dependent on specific landscaping project)

Perhaps the most cost-effective and beneficial home improvement project, seeding a lawn was estimated to cost $120 by landscape professionals in the 2016 NAR Remodeling Impact: Outdoor Features study and to increase the value of the home by 417% of the cost to seed the lawn ($500). Other landscaping projects that enhance the home’s curb appeal offer a similar return on investment.

Improving the curb appeal of your home can be as simple as a green and trimmed lawn and new address numbers, or as complex as a new walkway, new patio, new wood deck, new flowering shrubs, and additional trees! In our blog How Do I Improve My Home’s Curb Appeal, we went over how adding a mailbox, outdoor lighting, and decorative planters can create a warm welcome for guests and potential homebuyers.

According to the NAR remodeling study, implementing a standard lawn care program (which consists of “six applications of fertilizer and weed control on 5,000 square feet of lawn”) is another simple and highly effective project, costing only $330 and having a ROI of $1,000 (303% of the cost)!

When tackling this New Year’s resolution:

  • Determine what currently works well for your lawn, what should be repaired or replaced, and what could be improved.
  • Focus on one landscaping project at a time. During any remodeling or landscaping project, problems can arise that add to the original cost of the project. For example, professionals may discover that there’s a fundamental problem with your home (such as irrigation, flood-related foundation damage, clogged gutters resulting in leaks inside your home, etc.) that need to be addressed.
  • Allocate a budget for landscaping, and add an emergency cost cushion to the budget. Setting a budget first will help you focus on what matters most and what can really enhance your home, without blowing a hole in your wallet.
  • Have fun! Make it a family project and get the kids involved. If you start your own little garden, you not only improve the value of the home by giving it a self-sufficient edge, you cut down on the cost of your groceries and provide yourself with an opportunity to spend quality time with your children, teaching them how to garden. For tips on how to start a garden and how to protect your garden from pets and wild animals, check out our other blogs.

Home Maintenance

Potential Cost: 1% to 4% of a home’s value (annual cost)
Potential ROI: Being able to sell your home without a home inspection determining that repairs are needed

One of the most important projects for any home is home maintenance: confirming that your home is always in tip-top shape. According to U.S. News and World Report, home maintenance and repair costs typically average 1% to 4% of the home’s value each year.

While making sure that your roof doesn’t leak, that the gas light on your oven works, that the filter in your refrigerator isn’t broken, and other home repair are in good order may not sound like the most enjoyable way to improve the value of your home, these things are essential to ensuring you can sell your home when the time comes.

After a buyer makes a bid on a home and a seller accepts the bid, the home will enter the Contingent/Under Contract stage. During this phase, a home inspector will visit to evaluate the condition of the home and verify that nothing is broken. If anything is broken – a roof leak, a faulty fireplace, a suspicious hot water heater – the buyer will find out from the home inspector and can request that the seller repair the damage. If the seller refuses to repair the damage, the buyer can back out of the agreement and claim they don’t want your house anymore.

Save yourself a headache. Take care of your home.

When tackling this New Year’s resolution:

  • If there is a problem with your home, call different professionals for quotes on the repair. You may be able to get someone to fix it for a lower price than the first person quoted.
  • Material costs are frequently included in the repair estimate. If you know exactly what materials will be needed and already have them on hand, then ask for a quote without the cost of materials.
  • Get roof and leak repairs done as quickly as possible to minimize the potential cost of water damage.
  • Get your gutters cleaned to prevent water from overflowing into your home and causing water damage.
  • Allocate 1% to 4% of your home’s value each year towards home maintenance and repair costs, in the event of an emergency.
  • For simple home repairs to implement in the spring, check out our blog post Simple Home Repairs For the Spring Seller.

 

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Styling Your Kitchen 


Elicia Gibson 

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a place for culinary masterpieces. While functionality is a top priority, who says it has to be plain and boring? Here are some different ways to spice up your kitchen.

Countertops

Countertops are a great way to add style to a kitchen. Different types of materials offer different styles and effects. Concrete countertops bring in a modern feel, while marble or granite can add a classic touch. When considering a new countertop for your kitchen, also be mindful of the different functions of each material and choose one that suits your needs.

Lighting Fixtures

It’s hard to read a cookbook in a dark and dim kitchen, let alone try to make something! Spruce up your lighting! If you want a more modern kitchen, consider large industrial lights. For a more traditional kitchen, consider a chandelier or an antique light. If you have glass-faced cabinetry, you can add in-cabinet lighting to highlight dishes and cookware. Place a lamp by a dark cooking station for close-range lighting and it also doubles as decoration!

Backsplash

A backsplash is a great way to add style to your kitchen. It can add a pop of color to a monotone kitchen or tone down the space. A backsplash is a very functional part of the kitchen. It can be easily cleaned and protect walls from cooking splatter and mess. Backsplashes can be created with a variety of materials, from tile to stone to glass, making it easy to find something to compliment your space.

Dishes and Cookware

Dishes and cookware don’t have to be hidden away in cabinets and drawers. Place them around your kitchen to add extra focal points and also give yourself easy access to them while cooking. Add shelving to your wall and place decorative platters or dishes on them. A pot rack is fantastic, as it can be a great decoration and also free up additional drawer and cabinet space.

Paint

A fairly inexpensive way to change up a kitchen is applying a fresh coat of paint to walls or cabinets. Warmer colors, such as red, are believed to stimulate appetites, making them an excellent option for kitchens. White paint is a popular option since it gives off a fresh, clean feel and allows for more color variation with your decorations. Yellow is believed to make people hungry. Blue, gray, and green are also excellent colors to use.

Art

A simple way to jazz up any kitchen is to add art. A few key art pieces here and there can make a huge difference. These can range from paintings and photographs hung on the wall to decorative sculptures and vases sitting on a windowsill or shelf. Choose art that is aesthetically pleasing and goes with the style of your kitchen. These pieces should complement your space, not dominate it.

Plants

Bringing a little green into your space! Low-maintenance plants are a fantastic way to decorate your kitchen. Plants such as basil, rosemary, mint, and cilantro are cooking staples, making them perfect to have handy. You can place them on window sills or hang them above. Make sure that wherever you place your plants, they have access to plenty of natural light, or consider grow lights if natural light levels are low.

Feel free to explore with your kitchen. Try out a new style or update what you already love. With so much time spent in the kitchen, you should make it what you want!