5 Ways to Boost Your Home Value
1: Paint The Secret Upgrade
It’s no secret that before putting a house on sale, many Naples, Ft Myers and Cape Coral homeowners try to boost the value of their property by removing clutter, tidying up the yard, and freshening up the interior with a coat of off-white paint. Sellers might want give more thought to how the paint color they choose can affect the selling price.
“If a seller decides to repaint before listing, she should consider shades that may be more likely to boost the closing price,” says Kerrie Kelly, a home design expert with Zillow Digs, the home improvement business owned by real estate website Zillow.
Zillow examined photos from 50,000 home sales around the country to analyze how room colors correlated with selling prices. It found that some colors could help buyers to make a premium of as much as $5,000 on the sale of their homes, while other colors could actually depress the selling price.
Here’s how colors affect selling prices, according to Zillow.
Kitchen: Yellow is, apparently, a great paint color for a kitchen. Homes with yellow kitchens sell for an average premium of $1,360 when compared with all other homes controlled for similar features, Zillow found. The key, says Kelly, is to choose a “warm neutral” yellow paint, such as wheat yellow. Avoid picking a shade that’s too saturated, as deep shades may backfire with buyers.
One surprising find: Even though white kitchens are often featured in home decorating magazines, these colors come off as sterile or cold to home buyers, Kelly notes. In Zillow’s study, painting a kitchen white did not increase a home’s selling price.
Bedroom: Choosing the right paint color here can be a challenge since the bedroom is the most personal room in the house. A bright red, for example, could be too stimulating, making it hard to rest. You might prefer a more soothing paint color. According to Zillow, painting a bedroom light green to khaki can boost a selling price by an average of $1,332.
Living room: Neutrals win the day when it comes to this high-traffic room. Zillow found that homes with living rooms painted with dove or light-grey paint sold for an average premium of $1,104. The worst shade is orange. Homes with terra-cotta-colored living rooms sold for an average of $793 less than other homes.
Bathroom: The color of bathrooms didn’t have a great impact on the selling price. Even so, Zillow says the best colors are tans, such as oatmeal or beige. Homes with bathrooms painted in those shades sold for an average of $283 more than other houses. Zillow found that dark-brown bathrooms— think of Tuscan-style shades—sell for an average of $469 less than other homes.
Dining room: Purple might be the best choice. Zillow found that homes with a dining room painted lavender, mauve, or eggplant sold for $1,122 more than other houses. You might want to stay away from grey paint, since the research noted that homes with slate or dark-grey dining rooms sold for $1,112 less than other similar houses.
2: The Remodeled Kitchen
''Southwest FL buyers of all kinds have long focused on the kitchen. A “modern/updated kitchen” topped the list of ideal home features in Consumer Reports survey of millennials, registering as most important to more than a third of respondents. If you plan to sell, don’t rip your kitchen down to the studs; a smaller investment can have serious impact. For as little as $5,000, you should be able to add a new suite of appliances, as well as a new countertop and flooring, resulting in a fresh, coordinated look. Applying a fresh coat of paint to the walls or cabinets, and updating the hardware, can also breath new life into the space.
Value-Added Buzzwords Stainless steel. Though it has been around for decades, this appliance finish conveys clean, contemporary design, so it will signal “updated” in the mind of the buyer. For the latest spin on stainless, look for new versions of black stainless steel from KitchenAid, LG, and Samsung, each with a softer, less reflective finish but the same cachet as the original.
Quartz countertops. Engineered from stone chips, resins, and pigments, quartz has started to challenge granite and marble as the go-to material in higher-end kitchens. It shrugged off heat, scratches, cuts, and stains in our tests, and it requires none of the upkeep of comparably priced natural stones. Expect to spend $40 to $100 per square foot, installed.''
3: Make Floor Plans Work Harder
''Bigger isn’t necessarily better in today’s market, but strategically increasing the amount of living space is sure to boost home value. An “open floor plan with flexible living space” was second only to an updated kitchen on millennials’ list of most desired features.
Flex rooms. Also known as double-duty rooms, you’ll see flex rooms advertised as an additional living area that can serve a variety of purposes, from a guest bedroom to a game room to an exercise room to a study room for the kids.
Mother-in-law apartment. These spaces go by many names, including “granny flats,” “casitas,” and the technical sounding “accessory dwelling unit,” or ADU. They can house an additional family member or provide rental income—allowing baby boomers to afford their house once they retire or helping millennials pay the mortgage. More municipalities, particularly in Western cities, are amending zoning laws to allow for ADUs.
Upstairs laundry rooms. Younger buyers in particular say they want a dedicated laundry room, perhaps off the kitchen or even near second-floor bedrooms. Manufacturers are obliging with washer/dryer sets with a matching fit and finish that neatly integrate into the living space. We like the Maytag Bravos MVWB855DW HE top-loader and Maytag Bravos MEDB855DW electric dryer, $1,050 each.
4: Don’t Let Your Home Be an Energy Hog
Lowering your home’s energy costs will save you money for as long as you live there and is expected to be a major selling point down the line. Indeed, “energy-efficient” was second only to “safe community” on the list of attributes that would most influence a purchase decision, according to a 2015 survey by the National Association of Home Builders.
Older homeowners who have felt the sting of escalating energy costs tend to be driving the interest. But there are some early adopters among younger buyers, too, especially in regions of the country with more extreme weather. “My millennial buyers usually ask for two years’ worth of utility payments,” says Joe Rivellino, a real estate professional in the Buffalo, N.Y., area. “They want to know the R-Value on the insulation and whether the windows have low-E coatings,” he says, referring to two important efficiency measures.
And don’t forget about water heating, which accounts for 16 percent of energy costs in the typical home. Spending $1,800 to $2,400 on a new unit is another way to impress efficiency-minded buyers.
High-efficiency windows. Energy Star certified windows can lower your home’s energy bills by 7 to 15 percent.
That will be a selling point with buyers, though replacing every window in a home costs anywhere from $8,000 to $24,000, so you probably won’t recoup the entire investment if you plan to sell right away.
LED lights. Some listings emphasize their “green” credentials by mentioning the presence of LED lighting. Choose the Feit Electric 60 Watt Replacement 9.5W LED, a $7 bulb that delivers superb light quality and has a 23-year life expectancy.
5: Keep It Simple
Stain-prone stone countertops, grime-collecting ornate cabinets, and dust-catching wall-to-wall carpet used to be symbols of luxury, but today’s homebuyers are more likely to equate them with extra work. “We call it stress-free living,” says Miguel Berger, president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Tech Valley in Albany, N.Y. “The younger generation in particular would much rather spend their time entertaining at home than fussing over it.” It’s safe to assume boomers feel the same.
Beyond a home’s cosmetic finishes, it’s important to keep the major mechanical systems in working order. Many first-time buyers will have used up much of their savings on the down payment, so they want to know that the heating system, plumbing, and electricity have been recently updated. Central air conditioning is also in demand because it eliminates the need to switch window units in and out. HomeAdvisor puts the average cost nationwide at just more than $5,000.
Updated systems. In addition to including the age of the system, it helps if you can also point to its reliability. For example, Consumer Reports surveys have found American Standard and Trane to be among the least repair-prone manufacturers of gas furnaces.
New roof. This will help assuage fears of water damage, ice dams, squirrel infestation, and other home disasters that can result from an old, shoddy roof. For a typical 2,300-square-foot house, you might be able to put on a new asphalt shingle roof for as little as $6,000.
Hardwood floors. More carpets are being replaced with long-wearing hardwood flooring with a durable factory finish. Engineered wood flooring, which uses a thin veneer of real wood or bamboo over structural plywood, tends not to wear as well as the solid stuff, though it has the same look and tends to cost less, making it a good choice if you plan to sell soon.