Increase Your Home Value – 10 Features That Are Money in the Bank

We all want to get the biggest bang for our buck — especially when it comes to home remodeling, interior decorating, or preparing a home for sale. After all, your home can absorb a lot of dollars in a hurry. Here are 10 features that typically increase the value of a house:

1. Tidy, well-maintained neighborhood displaying pride of ownership

2. Curb appeal (e.g., neat & tidy, impressive front door and driveway entry, decorative fencing)

3. Beautiful floors-elegant & consistent throughout the home

4. Modern kitchen & bathrooms

5. A comfortable master suite (including master bath & closets)

6. A light, bright, airy, spacious feel (e.g., new paint, ventilation, skylights or Solatubes)

7. Lush landscaping and stylish outdoor living areas (e.g., patio, barbeque, recreation)

8. Solid-core doors and double-pane windows

9. Natural materials, especially environmentally friendly (“green”)

10. An attractive, well-conceived swimming pool, and out-buildings (e.g., a guest house)

Let me expand a bit on the subject of swimming pools. A pool can either increase or decrease value, depending upon the particular buyer and depending upon how you have designed and built the pool to flow and enhance the home. A pool can certainly enhance the look and feel of a home, depending on how it’s built and placed, and it can be desirable for a given segment of buyers.

On balance, however, from the standpoint of resale and appealing to the broadest segments of the market, it’s usually better to not have a pool. But if you already have one, keep it looking its best, e.g., clear water and no stains or chips. And a retractable pool cover is great for keeping it safe, clean, warm, and energy-efficient.

Ultimately, you want to focus on maximizing the impact of your expenditures on home improvement, remodeling, and decorating. Whether you are a do-it-yourself (DIY) type or prefer to hire skilled contractors, here are some general design tips for getting the most bang for the buck in increasing your home value:

* For interiors, floors and paint are the most important enhancements. I prefer hardwood floors, and light or medium neutral paint tones in most cases.

* For exteriors, paint and landscaping are the most important for enhancing curb appeal and creating outdoor living areas.

* Remove clutter and obstructions to vision and movement.

* Choose furniture that is bright, comfortable, and size appropriate. And it’s okay to mix furniture styles, such as contemporary and rustic. You can find terrific pieces for very little cost in places like Craigslist, eBay, classified ads, and garage sales…and even the occasional blow-out sale at some furniture stores. Do not underestimate the impact of clean, simple, tasteful, size-appropriate furniture. I have found great deals on really nice stuff.

Note that I’m not addressing critically important issues that might arise during an inspection, such as drainage, electrical & plumbing, HVAC, insulation, or the roof. Certainly you cannot overlook these things. Rather, my focus is on aesthetics — simpler home makeover and decorating projects that can be completed quickly but have a big impact on the look and presentation of your home.

Seek simplicity, comfort and value!