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Home Improvement

Home Improvement - Increase home value vs marketability

When contemplating a home improvement project it is important to understand the difference between improving the marketability of your home versus actually increasing the value of your home.

While any improvement to your home inexpensive or expensive can increase the likelihood of a faster sale, they do not necessarily increase the value of your home.

The actual value of your home is determined by an appraisal. The appraisal takes many things into consideration when determining the value of your home. Some important factors are condition, age, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths and location. Then he/she compares your home to other like properties in the surrounding area that have sold.

Updating your kitchen can add a lot of value.

If you or friends of yours are capable, it is best to do the labor yourself on improvements, and taking the extra time to do that. In the end, your profit for the improvements will be far greater.

Don't underestimate the value of proper landscaping and cleaning when showing or appraising a home. A well manicured lawn, healthy and well laid out trees & plants, fresh paint, gleaming floors, and clean exteriors go a long way toward boosting the marketability and perceived value of a property.

Some improvements that add value in the short term are: Adding square footage of living space such as additional bedroom, sunroom, playroom. Adding on a garage or deck will also increase your homes value.

Some of the best additions for adding value to a home are a second bathroom and energy efficient windows. Before you do any home construction project remember to check any local building codes and acquire the proper permits. Additions and modifications done to a home without a permit can cause trouble if you decide to sell your home at a later date.

If you have a home that is outdated then chances are you will not receive full value for the home but even if you do, it might have to sit on the market much longer than if you made some simple improvements. If your interest on your payments are $1,000 dollars a month and it sits on the market 3 extra months then you have actually spent an extra 3K on that property to get it to sell. Sometimes it makes sense to look at this and maybe take 2 or 3K and spend on painting and misc. updates to make the home sell much faster. A good local realtor can help you determine what is selling in your neighborhood and help with the decision of where to place the money for the updates. A simple painting on the interior will do wonders for a home. But don't loose sight of the curb appeal too. If a potential buyer doesn't like the look from the curbside, chances are they won't get out to look at the inside.

Sometimes, you won't reap a dollar-for-dollar reward for your money invested in home improvements. For instance, installing new carpeting, or painting the walls is usually considered "routine maintenance", and therefore won't have much effect on your home's value. It could, however, help you sell the home faster.

How should I spend my home-improvement budget? - Anymore, everyone is interested in improving their own home - just look at how many televisions programs there are dedicated to “doing-it-yourself”. Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring out the job, how do you decide what to spend your money on?

Given that the average American moves every 4 years, it is important to think about resale value when planning a project. Just because an improvement to your home costs $20,000 doesn’t mean your property’s value has increased by $20,000.

Remolding and improving your home is a great idea. Spending the money in the kitchens and bathrooms is a no brainier.

If you are hiring a professional make sure to ask for references. Verify with your contractor whether who will be responsible to get any necessary permits from the appropriate government agencies. Don’t cut corners by trying to avoid paying for a building permit. Conforming to local building codes ensures that your improvements will be done properly. When you are selling, if the appraiser notes improvements that are not of public record, additional and sometimes costly inspections could be required to make sure that the home is up to code and doesn’t violate zoning restrictions.

People have varying tastes. Avoid doing anything very out of the ordinary to your home that cannot be easily changed, but express yourself. Purple paint never hurt anyone!

When planning, consider carefully whether or not your schedule and know-how will allow for the successful completion of your project. There is nothing worse than realizing that you have bitten off more than you can chew halfway through. Sometimes doing it yourself costs more money in the long run, not to mention the stress of trying to live in a construction site! Professional builders always calculate at least a 5 to 10% “contingency” when estimating a job for unforeseen delays/supplies so it’s a good idea to do the same in a do-it-yourself project.

I you are doing it yourself, utilize the knowledge and advice of the employees at your local home improvement center. They can be a wealth of information and save you a lot of headache and money in the long run.

No matter where you live, kitchen and bathroom remodels generally have the best return on investment. Updated flooring (other than in bedrooms, carpet is considered pasť) also has wide-spread appeal. Anything which improves energy efficiency helps attract buyers. New windows and doors do just that and improve a property’s look inside and out.

Some improvements can actually cost a seller money. A swimming pool is a good example of an “improvement” which is considered a negative adjustment to value in certain areas of the country. Pools require additional homeowner’s insurance due to liability for injury/death, they are costly to maintain, and many areas of the country have water-use restrictions.

Over-improving a home can also be a bad investment. For example, a house located in a neighborhood with homes in the $250,000 range would not appraise significantly higher because it had lead-crystal chandeliers or a 6-car garage. Even if the home is “worth” $350,000, people looking for a $350,000 home want to buy in a neighborhood with similarly priced homes. Values are determined not only by the condition of the subject property but also the value and type of homes which surround it.

The things you will want to avoid are adding items such as hot tubs, saunas and swimming pools. While one of these items may appeal to you they may not appeal to a large percentage of buyers and do little to increase your homes value and may actually cause your home to sit on the market longer should you ever decide to sell it.


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