Home values are still on the rise and properties are selling like hotcakes! Finally, people are gaining equity back in their homes and it makes sense to renovate again. Have you been thinking about fixing up your home recently? Will the project still make sense when it comes time to sell your home? What will actually increase its value? If I increase the value can I then refinance my mortgage? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself before you start swinging that sledgehammer.

Top Projects That Will Add Value to Your Home

I am a big advocate of do-it-yourself projects. The price is cheap (assuming your time isn’t worth $200 an hour or something), there is a ton of help for free online for almost any project you can think of, and you’ll get the satisfaction of adding a ton of value to your home with your own two hands. Based on my personal experience and a myriad of other articles that I have read on this topic, here are the top 5 projects that will add value to your home.

1) Regular Maintenance/Fixes

This is definitely not the most sexy thing to do in your home, but it is the most important if you ever want to sell. Do you have any leaky pipes, cracked tile, or water-stained ceilings? These small projects make home buyers nervous because they assume that if you’ve been neglecting the small stuff, then what big stuff are you hiding that has been left undone? As arduous and boring as it may seem, fixing up the little things makes a huge difference when you’re trying to sell your home.

2) Create Space

Space is hugely important for new buyers today. Many of them want to talk in the front door and get the feeling of serenity and spaciousness, and be able to see nearly the entire house right in front of them, not one compartmental room after another.

If your house is split up with doorway after doorway, then it might be cost effective to knock down a few walls and open up the living space. This will not only create that open feel, but it will brighten up the entire house as the light from outside will flow into each room. Again, before you start swinging that sledge hammer around though, think about which walls are load bearing and which ones are merely dividing the rooms. If you are unsure, then you’ll probably want to contact a handyman before starting the tear-down.

Once you take down the walls, you might need to extend some flooring and put up some new drywall on the wall and ceiling. By doing the job yourself, the cost will be minimal, but the end result will add that “wow” factor to your home.

3) Spruce up the Landscaping

Many times, people decide whether or not they like your house within the first 7 seconds of viewing it. This means that the decision is often made before they even step foot in the house!

This means that you need to keep the exterior of your home looking nice, and you’ll have to pay attention to that landscaping again. As a rule of thumb, people want the landscaping to look amazing, but they don’t want to have to spend a lot of time on maintaining it themselves. So, add landscape that is appealing, but that is nearly hands free from season to season. This includes slow-growing shrubs, hastas, and perennial flowers.

4) Update the Bathrooms

For whatever reason, people want the bathrooms to look immaculate when they buy a house. They want an updated, spacious look and they certainly don’t want to get their hands dirty themselves. I have personally redone two bathrooms in my house and it was actually simpler than I thought it would be. I ripped up floor, tore down the walls, removed the sink and toilet, laid tile floors, nailed up wainscoting, and installed a new sink without every having done any of that work before in my life.

Here’s a look at the before and after:

20111031-old-bath

20111031-new-bath

Since I did everything myself, all the work only cost about $600. I can guarantee that this upgrade increased the value of my house by more than that $600.

5) Update the Kitchen

Finally, people really love their kitchens. The only problem is, they can be expensive to renovate, even if you do all the work yourself. I often tell people that they should certainly give their kitchen an upgrade, but maybe more like a facelift instead of the full upgrade. In other words, instead of buying $8,000 cabinets, why not just paint the cabinets that you already have? And, instead of going out and buying the first appliances you find, why not shop around for a while and wait for a deal to fall in your lap? Perhaps the scratch and dent store has some items for sale that won’t even be visible with your setup. Giving the kitchen an update will definitely increase the value of your house, but be sure to be wise with your spending.

How do you plan to add value to your home?

 

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Derek Sall

Derek has been writing about personal finance for five years at LifeAndMyFinances.com. He absolutely hates debt, which is why he owns his car and his house free and clear and suggests that everyone else do the same. His equation is simple: get out of debt, save money, and be rich!
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