5 Tips to Increase Your Home's Value on a Budget
Updated: Nov 23, 2018
There is a saying "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family!" How true that is. You know what else is true? You can't pick your neighbors either. If you don;t live in a deed restricted community...you know the ones I am talking about. Always some project going on, overgrown grass on a regular basis, paint peeling off the walls...you name it.
In this article, unfortunately, I can not tell you how to get rid of those neighbors. However, I am going to give you a few tips on how to make your home more marketable, have a higher chance of selling quickly, and possibly adding a little value. In a roundabout way, I am getting rid of that neighbor...by getting rid of you!
Paint and Paper
We have all seen it. Some of us have actually been the responsible parties for doing it. Crazy paint colors and busy wallpaper. Listen, I get it (well, not the ivy wallpaper and the like), we make our houses into homes by adding our individual tastes, decor, furnishings, and colors. However, not everyone has the same tastes. In fact, very few people do. With that said, you NEED to get your walls as neutral as you can or at least do your homework and know what color palettes are popular right now in the area you live. Light gray and tan will be the most appealing to go neutral. White is also an option, but be careful with too much white space on a large wall. Remove all wallpaper prior to painting. If you have a questions about this and think that it looks better with the paper...ask a friend. Let me clarify...a "real" friend. Seriously. They will tell you the truth. You can do this yourself in smaller areas or just border paper, but for larger areas you may want to consider enlisting the services of a handyman. There are special glue removing sprays that can make the project much easier, so just ask a clerk at your local hardware store what they feel is best.
De-Clutter and De-Personalize
Have you every walked into a builder's model home or even an apartment model? They make you want to live there, right? Exactly. That is what they are "designed" to do. You need to design your home the same way. Neutral colors, clean spaces, neutral decor. We want to create an environment where a potential buyer can see themselves and their family living in the home - not yours. For this reason, get rid of the pictures of all the kids, grand kids, or even specialty artwork. I went into a house once and the seller had a velvet Elvis on one wall and a commissioned picture of Elvis - dead on the toilet - hanging over the urinal that he had installed in the bathroom. Yes...I still sold the house but the decor of this home made it exceptionally difficult to find a buyer. You do not want that. Why? Because time is money and with each passing month you will be paying the fees, insurance, taxes, and upkeep that come with owning your home. Remove all the knickknacks and pictures that are very personal and unique and get them in boxes. Look at it this way, you're just pre-packing for your next bog move!
A good home can look great with the proper landscaping, lighting, architectural accents, and paint. Now, painting an entire exterior of a home is not cheap (usually) but it may be necessary in some cases. For our purposes, we will say that your home's color is fine...it just needs to be spruced up! Small things like adding a few plants, flowers, and mulch can make a big difference. Keep your lawn mowed to a proper level and think about adding small things like a new mailbox, accent lighting, maybe shutters (or paint the ones you have), wood accents, or even a small front porch/deck that you can build yourself (depends on type of home of course). These are easy and inexpensive improvements that can be made in a short period of time. Keep it clean and simple...and architecturally consistent.
Add a Room
Wait! What? Add a room? You said "on a budget!" Well, don't go getting yourself all flustered. This may or may not apply to you, but many homes have bonus rooms, dens, offices, etc. that do not have a closet. If a room does not have a closet, it can not be counted as a bedroom. So, if you have a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a den...you may want to make that den into a bedroom by simply adding a closet. It's not like you have to use it as a bedroom...you could store books or some of that clutter in the closet. However, you can now advertise that you have a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home and in the description just simply say that there is a third bedroom or possible den (bonus room, movie room, etc.) This works just as well when going from 3-4 bedrooms. The cost of doing this islikelyy just a few hundred dollars, but will open your home up to a much higher number of buyers!
Increase Your Square Footage
I know... I know. Sounds expensive. Well, it may be...or may not be. I see a number of homes that have a lanai here in Florida. Most of the times, those lanais's are not enclosed and considered "under air". These areas are prime for increasing your under air square footage. There are considerations such as how much square footage will be added when it comes to your air conditioner's ability to handle heat load, so keep that in mind. As a general rule, you will also need to ensure that the transitioning floors are level or without a significant drop from main home to lanai. This is a safety issue, as well as an appraisal issue. step-downs from main space to the new enclosed space may result in an appraiser not consider this "under air" space...even if it isair-conditioned. If there are sliders there, you can simply remove them or leave them. That is up to you. As far as tips go, this one is the most expensive to invest in, but can pay the highest rewards. Let's say you are working with a 250 square foot space that currently does very little to increase the value of your home. You may end up spending $50 per square foot to enclose and improve the space...but what is the increase in value once you do it (properly). Well...that depends on what homes in your area are selling for, but it is not uncommon to see homes selling in the $200-$400PSF range. Even if we use that lower number, that is a 400% increase in your investment and you just added $50,000 in value to your home. Yes...you are welcome.
Just keep in mind that there are a number of things you can do to increase the marketability and value of your home. Do your research and hire a great licensed real estate agent who can properly advise and represent you in this extraordinarily important transaction.
Ric Del Vizo is the Founder of The Del Vizo Group, a Sarasota based residential and commercial real estate team based in Sarasota, Florida. The Del Vizo Group represents clients across the globe and can facilitate real estate transactions across the U.S. and in nearly every country around the world. Ric has been an active real estate agent for 13 years and is an Accredited Buyer's Representative and Certified Client Protection Expert. Have questions? Reach out to Ric directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply give him a call!