How to Increase the Value of Your Home

Five Methods:Improving the InteriorRemodeling to Increase ValueImproving the ExteriorLandscapingPreparing to Sell your House

When you put your home on the market even the little things can make a big difference. Your home is an investment, and like most investments you can increase your home’s value with a few smart purchases and some elbow grease. Taking the time and money to make home improvements and clean your house can quickly increase the value of your home and make it easier to sell.

Method 1
Improving the Interior

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    Apply a fresh coat of paint. Time and time again realtors stress that a fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to increase the value of your home. That said, a bright purple room may be off-putting to potential buyers. Go for neutral tones like beige or muted green with simple white baseboards to appeal to a wide range of buyers.[1]
    • If you are on a budget then paint the most commonly used rooms first, like the kitchen, living room, and main bathroom.
    • Avoid both bright colors like pink or yellow and dark shades like navy or chocolate brown, as these are polarizing choices for certain buyers.
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    Remove any wallpaper and replace it with paint. Wallpaper is a big turn-off for potential buyers because it is a hassle to remove if they don’t like it. Stick to neutral paint colors to get the maximum value for your house.[2]
    • Some wallpaper, especially in small rooms, can be effective if chosen correctly. Stick to calm, simple patterns over big and bold images.
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    Let in the light. A 2007 HomeGain survey found that lighting was the number one thing potential buyers used to separate good homes from great ones.[3] You can add attractive lighting in a variety of ways:
    • Install mood-enhancing dimmer switches.
    • Put in a skylight or sun tubes (glass holes in the roof that allow in sunlight) to bring light in naturally.
    • Remove large and stuffy curtains.
    • Replace old light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs for a clean, modern look without breaking the bank.
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    Invest in new appliances. A new oven, washing machine, or fridge tells a buyer that the home is up-to-date. Old appliances, however, can signal that your home is in need of costly repairs or improvements, lowering value. Buy one new appliance if you can’t afford multiple. Having one shiny, high-end appliance like a dishwasher gives the impression that all of your appliances are high end.
    • However, a new stainless steel oven will look odd if the rest of the appliances nearby in are worn, retro styles.[4]
    • If you are on a budget, look up new "faces" for your appliances. Often the front plate of an oven or dishwasher can be removed and replaced with a new one if you call your manufacturer and ask for a replacement.[5]
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    Replace scuffed, marked, or stained floors. Old carpets, scratched wood floors, and dirty tiles can all cause your house’s value to plummet when it goes on the market. Rip up the old flooring and add tile, clean wood floors, or a new carpet. Spending $1,000 on a new floor increase your home value by $2,000.[6]
    • Start in "high-value" rooms like the kitchen or the living room if you want new floors. These are the first rooms many buyers notice.
    • Get tile for small, frequently dirty floors (bathroom/kitchen), hardwood for the living or dining spaces, and carpet or wood for bedrooms.[7]
    • Recent trends have shied away from carpets, as most consumers now prefer hardwood floors.[8]
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    Pay attention to the little things. Even the smallest, cheapest fixes can make your home sparkle and sell for more. Switch out the shower curtain for a clean glass shower door. The more question marks you eliminate for potential buyers the more likely you are to sell your house for the right price. Some quick fixes include:
    • New rug for the entryway.
    • New lighting fixtures.
    • New faucets and handles.
    • Clean and re-grout tiles in the kitchen and bathroom.[9]
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    Walk through your home with a real estate agent. Professional realtors know trends in your area and can work with your budget to get the best return on your investment. Bring them in to help value your house and suggest ways to improve it. Planning ahead will help you get the most money back when you finally put your house on the market.

Method 2
Remodeling to Increase Value

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    Perform any necessary maintenance and repairs. Nothing can turn away a potential buyer like the knowledge that they will have to sink $2,000 into new plumbing when they move in. Address the basics of your house, (drafty windows, leaks, rusty rain gutters, etc.) or any expensive renovations you make will go unnoticed.[10]
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    Spend money on your kitchen before any other room. The kitchen is the most important room in the house when it comes to home value. This is the room most buyers focus on, and you can expect to get up to 85% of your remodeling costs back when the house sells.
    • A fresh coat of paint that hides splash marks can cheaply update a kitchen.
    • Find or buy a place to tuck away your dishes and cookbooks to make your kitchen look clean and spacious
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    Install matching cabinets and countertops. This is a very high-value fix, especially if done with updated appliances. Begin in the kitchen before updating the bathroom or bedrooms. New cabinets can completely transform a room for the better, giving the appearance that the whole room had a makeover. For a cheaper fix, hire a resurfacing company to clean and stain your old cabinets, making them look like they just came from the hardware store.[11]
    • Marble or granite counters are expensive but tend to last longer, remaining beautiful with age.
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    Knock out walls or remove large fixtures to make your house more open. The number of square feet in your house is a major indicator of your home’s worth. But you can create the illusion of more space by eliminating clutter as well. Homeowners like big, wide-open floor plans because they can imagine how their own stuff will fill the house when they move in.[12]
    • Knock down inessential walls.
    • Remove the island in the middle of the kitchen to open up the house.
    • Install swinging French doors to allow airflow between rooms like the kitchen and dining room.
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    Know that only insulated closed rooms add to your square footage. Adding a screen-in porch is an expensive undertaking, but it might not actually help your house’s value in the long run because it cannot be counted as part of your square footage.[13] Finishing the basement, however, can reap rewards when it is time for resale.
    • If you have the money, consider adding additional rooms to your house. Larger houses, without fail, sell for more money. Additions, however, are expensive to construct and may take several months to complete.
    • In general, improving your current house will lead to a greater return on your investment than adding new sections.[14]

Method 3
Improving the Exterior

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    Install energy-efficient windows. Modern windows make your house look beautiful and provide insulation to save on heating and cooling costs. New double-pane windows are pricey to purchase ($75-$100), but they save you money in the long run and will significantly increase the value of the home by making it more energy efficient.
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    Re-paint your front door. The front door is the first thing potential buyers see, and repainting a door is a cheap way to make a great first impression. Focus on your entryway to intrigue buyers before they even walk into the house.[15]
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    Consider solar panels. Green technology is in, and energy efficient houses have a big leg up in the marketplace. Solar panels make your house seem modern and cutting-edge, and signal to potential buyers that they will save money after they’ve bought the house.
    • Solar panels can lead to tax breaks for homeowners, which will quickly increase the value of your house.
    • On the other hand, solar panels might be a big concern for the buyer. If you're paying high lease rates to a third party, when the panels break, who will fix them? Also, the cheap imported panels are being leased for 20 years, but they sometimes only last for five to eight years.
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    Update your siding. New vinyl siding is one of the top ways to increase the value of your house, and you can usually make back all of the costs during a sale. Not only does new siding usually give your house a facelift, but it usually helps with insulation and heating costs.
    • Upscale siding, like fiber-cement boards of PVC lumber, can actually make you money on a sale, often returning 3-5% profit.[16]

Method 4

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    Add shrubs or flowers along the edges of your house. Start near the front door and add small plants around the edges of your house to make it open and inviting. This only costs a few hundred dollars, but an attractive lawn brings in more buyers and drives the value of your home up before anyone even steps through the front door.
    • Trim or replace overgrown shrubbery if it's already planted.
    • Use bright, colorful flowers like Hibiscus, Brown-Eyed Susans, Azaleas, or Zinnias.[17]
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    Clean up the path to the front door. You want to make anyone walking into the house feel like royalty on the way in. Some simple ideas to make your walkway the red-carpet of house sales include:
    • Plant flowers along the walkway.
    • Install small lamps along the concrete. You can buy self-powered solar lights at most hardware stores that are made to be placed outside.[18]
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    Install a new mailbox.[19] The box at the end of your driveway might be an afterthought during remodeling, but it can be the first thing anyone sees. If it is dilapidated, rusty, or falling down then people will assume the same about your house. You can easily buy and install your new mailbox by yourself and make it sparkle for a few dollars.
    • Stain the wooden post so that it does not rot.
    • Plant small flowers, like Marigolds, around the base of the mailbox.
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    Work on a healthy lawn. This can be difficult in some climates, but healthy grass is green, devoid of weeds and covers the entire lawn. Use "Weed & Feeds" which are specially formulated products that fertilize grass and kills weeds, to get rid of small patches of weeds and water your grass at least 1-2 a week.[20]
    • If your lawn has large bare patches, consider getting your lawn professionally seeded or installing sod (already grown grass) to make your lawn pop.
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    Keep your landscaping simple. Avoid going overboard, like adding a soccer field or an enormous, lush garden, which can signal to buyers that your house is “high-maintenance.” More important than a dazzling garden or water fountain is a clean, inviting lawn.
    • Cut your grass regularly so that it is trim and clean looking.
    • Pull up any weeds the flower beds.
    • Use a weed whacker to trim away tall grass next to the house, driveway, and walkways.

Method 5
Preparing to Sell your House

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    Don’t put the house on the market until you are ready. The first 2 week on the market is when a house generates buzz and interest. If you are still fixing the roof or painting the walls when the first buyers show up you are losing your best chance to sell the house. Wait to put your house on the market until it is clean and updated.
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    Clean your house until it sparkles. This is the easiest way to increase the chance your house sells for the amount you deserve. The cleanliness of a house is the first thing a potential buyer will notice, and it won’t matter how great your countertops look if they are covered in crumbs. If you are low on time, hire a cleaning service the day before you show the house to make sure everything is sparkling.
    • Dust the surfaces.
    • Clean the floors and remove any stains.
    • Wipe down the refrigerator, oven, and countertops in the kitchen.
    • Clean out toilets, showers, and baths.
    • Empty your closet partially – all buyers love seeing how much storage space they might have.[21]
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    Remember to clean the outside of the house as well. You should take the same care to clean the outside of your home as the inside. Keep your grass trim and clean up the gardens and flowerbeds regularly to make a good impression as buyers enter the driveway.
    • Take the time to wipe down the outsides of the windows.
    • If the sides of your house are dirty, rent a pressure washer to blast away grime from the siding.
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    Remove traces of pets. Pets, pet toys, litterboxes, and hair all give a house the illusion of dirtiness, which can significantly lower the value of your home. Clean up your pet’s mess and put all pet supplies out of sight as you show your home to make the best impression.[22]
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    Don’t make large renovations before selling. Unfortunately, adding a new bedroom and bath to the back side of your house won’t increase the value enough to pay back what you’ve spent. Focus instead on little renovations, which can return more money than you spent when it is time to sell. Large renovations often cost more money than they add to house’s value.[23]
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    Remove personal items. Tons of family photos, knick-knacks, and personal items are a big turn-off for potential buyers. While you want to your house to feel homey, you don’t want it to seem so personal that the next owner can’t see themselves living in it. Hide any toys, books, computers, or keepsakes when people come see your house and limit the number of family photos scattered around the house if there is a picture of you on every wall.


  • Try to think of your house from an outsiders perspective – would you buy your house again?


  • The housing market is often volatile, and trends change quickly. Never go overboard trying to please someone else – if you like your house, chances are someone else will too.

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Categories: Build Design & Remodel Own Home