Thursday, February 19, 2009

Changes You Can Make to Increase Your Home's Value

Recently I had a friend request that I write about the best ways to increase your property's value through inexpensive changes that you can do yourself. I think this is something that's very important-there are definitely ways to make your property more appealing to a potential buyer without breaking the bank. However, if you have a little extra cash or you want to ensure that you get top dollar when you put your home on the market, there are more expensive changes you can do as well. I've broken these tips into three categories: Inexpensive, Mid-Priced, Expensive.

Just a couple of thoughts before I share these tips:

  1. Kitchens and bathrooms are going to bring you the biggest bang for your buck

  2. Curb appeal is important-make sure your landscaping looks fresh and clean

  3. You don't want to completely out-do your neighbors in renovations and remodeling-that will make your home the most expensive in the neighborhood, which will be harder to sell down the road. If no one in the neighborhood has granite countertops, custom cabinets and hardwood floors, you may want to make small changes but save your cash to put into your next home.


  • Paint, paint, paint!-I can't stress this enough. Putting a fresh coat of paint on your walls instantly makes the home feel cleaner, fresher and newer. Also, if your current paint colors are outdated or "loud"-now's the time to update! In fact I wrote an entire article about this very subject, so if you need help choosing paint colors, please check it out: Sellers: Are Your Color Choices Keeping Your Home from Selling?
  1. You may also want to consider repainting all your baseboards and trim-this is a cheap way to make your home look crisp and newer-it can take years off!
  2. Take a look at your ceilings-do they need to be repainted too?
  • Take down that wallpaper-Wallpaper is an extremely personal preference and becomes outdated quickly. Some people, such as myself, really dislike wallpaper. The goal when putting your home on the market is to get it in the best shape possible and eliminate as many "potential objections" as you can. Consider this: a potential buyer has narrowed their selection down to two homes-yours with wallpaper in the kitchen that they really can't stand and another home where they don't like the paint color. So, holding all other things equal, which home will they choose? Well, in my opinion, they will choose the ugly paint color because it's much less painful to repaint rather than peel wallpaper off, sand and repaint. Do you see what I'm talking about?

  • Change out your doorknobs-Most new homes come with brushed nickel doorknobs and door hinges; changing out your gold knobs is a cheap way to make your home look newer.

  • Take care of your carpet-Getting your carpets steam cleaned is a great way to make your home look better; if your carpets are in good shape except for needing a good cleaning this is much more affordable than buying new carpet.

  • Update your cabinet hardware-Maybe you can't afford to completely renovate your kitchen or bathrooms, but you can change out the handles or knobs to something trendier. Take a look at interior design magazines or watch HGTV to find out what's in style-or walk through homes that were just built and see what kind of knobs they are using.

  • Change your light switch plate covers-If your light switch plate covers are gold colored or cracked or they once were white but now are beige-change them out. This is an inexpensive way to keep your home in line with newer ones.


  • Replace flooring-Consider replacing your linoleum kitchen floor to tile or a beautiful laminate flooring that resembles hardwood. If your family room carpet looks worn, either replace it with new carpet or switch it out to laminate wood flooring. Linoleum in the bathrooms or laundry room? Replace it with tile.

  • Update light fixtures-Light fixtures can immediately date a home because trends change so often in this department. Watch HGTV and flip through design magazines to determine what's in style and what will work best for your home and price range.

  • Change out faucets-This is another area that can add value through updating. I have the same advice as above with the light fixtures-look at magazines, go to Home Depot or walk through newly built homes for ideas.

  • Buy new appliances-For most kitchens, white appliances look outdated, if you can, buy new appliances-either stainless steel if you can afford it or black if you need a cheaper option.
  • Put in hardwood floors-True hardwood floors, not the laminate type, are fairly expensive but they are very beautiful and long-lasting too. (They are allergy friendly too because they don't trap dust and dust mites like carpet does). Hardwood flooring can definitely increase your property value.

  • Replace your kitchen and/or bathroom cabinets-Again, if you have the money, getting new cabinets that go with current styles is a great way to get more money for your home when you sell.

  • Change your countertops to granite-If you can afford to switch out both your cabinets and countertops, then do it! But if you can't, often your home would look great with new granite countertops and new knobs on the cabinets. (For a less expensive option, you could replace your laminate countertops with corian).
Those are the suggestions that I feel will give you the most for your money when you are trying to sell your home. One thing you may wonder is when to make the changes? If you aren't planning on moving for at least three years, you may want to wait until three to six months before you put your home on the market to make these changes. Trends change and if you want to be competitive with the brand new homes on the market you should make your updates according to the current styles. However, I also feel that if you plan on living in your home for let's say, ten years, you may want to make major changes now so that you can enjoy them while living in the home. I hope these tips helped you!

Thank You for Reading!

If you are in the market to buy or sell your home in the Bethlehem or Dacula area, I would be happy to assist you! My passion is helping people find their dream home and stepping them through this exciting journey. I serve the Walton, Barrow and Gwinnett county areas. Call or text me today!

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