Top ways to up your home’s value

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If home is where the heart is, why not put some love into it? Whether you’re selling your home soon or are just looking to get the most value for home upgrades, an increase in your home’s value could be easier than you think.

We’ve investigated the top five ways to increase your home’s value; many may be right for you.

Paint and lighting
Painting creates dramatic results with a small amount of risk and investment. Determine if the exterior or interior (or both!) of your home could use a touch up. Many Realtors suggest bright, welcoming colors or any shade of white or ivory for exterior; light colors will make a room look bigger and will maximize on natural light. According to Realtors and interior designers, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in their home, second to good location.

Rather than treating paint and lighting as two separate thoughts, think about how they can work together to magnify the beauty of your home. Consider natural light, lamps and lighting fixtures that use LED bulbs, plus lighter-colored walls to enhance architecture and square footage.

Partial renovations in the kitchen and bathroom
The kitchen and bathrooms will always be the most important to homebuyers. It’s where people spend a lot of time and are quickest to notice if the money has been invested in the right places. But a full-on gut of these rooms is not always necessary; in fact, you can get a major return on your investment with a few quick changes and spending your money where it matters most in these rooms. It’s unlikely that Jacuzzi jets or heated bathroom floors will sell a home. Instead, install a new vanity in the bathroom and reface the existing tub. Many companies can recoat ceramic or porcelain to look shiny and new for less than $1,000.

In the kitchen, think easy cosmetic fixes instead of reconfiguring the floorplan. New cabinets or even just hardware can go a long way. Also consider the style of your home; even if granite or marble is a trendy topper at the moment, does it make sense for the type of home and neighborhood you’re in? Stick with lighter colors and materials that will be palatable to whoever arrives for a showing. And while it may seem overwhelming to throw down a few thousand dollars for new countertops or floors, consider the effect it will have on the overall price of the house; a buyer could knock $10,000 off the asking price if a kitchen looks dated, whereas investing half that much in countertops and cabinets could save you the battle.

A clean basement
Keep the existing structure of your home as the highest priority. Even if you have a jaw-dropping master bedroom, there’s nothing like a musty basement to void all positives of your home. Get to the luxuries later, after everything is structurally sound in your home. You can always run a dehumidifier to help get moisture out of your home. A dry, clean basement is far more important than the trendiest furniture or materials. If your basement is prone to flooding, leaks or excessive moisture, call in a professional. Basement remodels gain back anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, depending on the quality of materials.

Updated entryway
Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, a Manhattan real estate firm, states in Real Simple, “Buyers make their decisions in exactly eight seconds. After that, they’ve either fallen in love or are just honoring an appointment.” Give buyers the best first impression of your home with a beautiful and sturdy front door. Add an updated handle and lock set that will make a potential homebuyer feel safe. Paint the front door an inviting color or choose a natural material such as wood for a classic look. Doormats, herbs and shrubs or other front door and entryway accents are generally inexpensive, but can leave a lasting positive impression.
Stylish landscaping

“Curb appeal” is not a cliché. Even if your house is beautiful on the inside, the first impression an exterior gives a potential buyer may keep them from ever getting inside the door. Consider hiring a landscaper to install some new sod, plant a few shrubs and give your front yard a solid cleanup. These changes can instantly alter the perception of your home and add value. Plus, it’s a perk for neighbors. If you’re not sure where to start, contact your local garden center to get you started.

A focal point such as a walkway or water feature adds major value to your property; adding patio furniture enhances the size of the house. Trees can be a large investment, but they’re more than just aesthetically pleasing greenery. They ward off erosion, block storm-water runoff, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and filter groundwater pollutants. HLM

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