Homes across the US sold at record rates in 2021. And a whopping 35% achieved the asking price or more! Sellers reported that on average, they sold for $85,000 more than the purchase price of their house.
If you’d like to get these impressive stats for your house sale (and who wouldn’t?), it’s worth thinking about how to increase the value of your home. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some great upgrades that can set your home apart from the crowd.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the best upgrades to increase the value of your home.
1. Refresh the Interior
Many people want to move into a turnkey home.
The thought of having to start major renovations is not their preferred option. You’ll never decorate your home in a style that appeals to everyone. But neutral colors and depersonalized spaces are a great place to start.
Start With the Walls
If your walls are scuffed, outdated, or generally tired, they’ll put people off right away. All they’ll see is endless Saturday afternoons with a paint roller in their hands. Do the hard work yourself and it’ll pay you back when you come to sell.
Choose a neutral color scheme and run it through the entire house. It’ll even make your house look bigger. You’re going for smooth, clean wall finishes, so fill those cracks and dents.
Clean Up Your Floors
If you have very dated, tired floor coverings, changing them out for new ones can make a big difference. Buyers are looking for beautiful hardwoods, ideally, but there are some great alternatives. Engineered wood floors and even premium laminate and vinyl options can give you the look you want.
If this isn’t an option, consider refinishing or professionally cleaning the flooring you have. Make sure your carpets are fresh, clean, and inviting.
Update Your Fixtures
A few dollars spent on door handles and light fixtures can pay dividends at sale time. Try to see your home through the eyes of a stranger walking through the door. Cast a super-critical eye over it and make simple fixes like replacing battered outlet covers and switch plates.
Ceiling fans are another low-cost edition that people love. Like solar panels, they help to reduce energy costs as you won’t have to rely on air conditioning in the summer.
2. Enhance Your Curb Appeal
You can’t transport your home to a classier zip code, but you can make it stand out from the crowd.
Increase your home value with simple fixes like replacing the front door mat and power washing the exterior of your house. If you’ve got flaking paintwork or a battered front door, you’re not going to impress anyone. Investing your money here can ensure your home makes the right first impression.
On average, Americans spend 32 hours a month doing yard work. Many would probably love to spend that time doing something else. Make sure the planting in front of your house looks great but is low maintenance.
While you’re out there, take a look at the roof and the siding. Potential buyers will be quick to pick up on any flaws, as will the home inspector. Many issues, like dodgy gutters, are a quick and relatively inexpensive fix.
Your home should shout ‘turnkey’ from the moment they pull up onto the drive.
Don’t Forget the Backyard
Let’s head around the back. How’s the patio or deck looking?
There’s no excuse for it to be grubby when you list your house. Get the power washer out and clean it up.
Also, make sure that it’s safe. Loose patio flagstones are very offputting but relatively easy and cheap to fix. Also, ensure that decks are well maintained and that railings are secure.
How’s your fencing? Fences are key to projecting a well-maintained and secure appearance.
Make sure the lawn looks well maintained and fill any bare patches with extra sod or grass seed before you begin showing your house.
3. Adding Solar Panels
Adding solar to your home is a major project. Unless you foot the bill upfront, there are usually contracts that may still be in progress when you decide to sell.
If you’ve been considering going solar, you’ve probably toyed with the question, do solar panels increase home value? The answer is, yes, they can.
The key is having the panels paid off. Buyers may be reluctant to take on the regular repayments for the solar system. But they may be willing to pay a premium for the property that will allow you to settle any outstanding financing when you come to sell.
A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that solar will increase the value of a home by about $15,000. Bear in mind that this is the average across the country. Home values vary widely, so it’s good to talk to local realtors about how solar homes are perceived locally.
Adding Long-Term Value
The current state of world economics could make solar homes more attractive going forward. The US Energy Information Administration expects energy costs to rise by 3.9%. This comes after 2021, which saw the fastest energy price rise in more than a decade.
Solar homes provide predictability as electricity prices rise. If energy prices continue to rise, this may result in the greatest average home value increase per year in the future.
If your system can store unused energy for use when the sun isn’t shining, that could give the value of your home even more of a boost. If you’re in areas prone to power cuts, buyers will love having the backup of stored energy.
The cost of going solar has dropped each year since 2009. Installation costs are now lower and there are often federal and state incentives available. In some places, the cost of solar is already cost-competitive with the cost of energy from the local utility.
So solar is an upgrade you should seriously consider to increase your home value.
4. Garage Door Replacement
If you’re looking for an upgrade that provides the most bang for your buck, look no further than a garage door replacement.
One national survey found that you can expect to recoup 93.8% of the cost of the replacement when you sell. But garage door replacements do something else.
They also give you an opportunity to add a more luxurious vibe to your home. Remote-controlled garage door openers allow you to arrive home in style.
Some people have converted their garages into additional living space. But many buyers still appreciate the security of a garage for their precious automobiles.
They also give the curb appeal of your home a massive boost. An old garage door can really date your house. A new one is a relatively low-cost way to give the exterior of your home a more contemporary finish.
5. Increase Your Home’s Square Footage
Ask people how to increase their home value and adding square footage will probably be their first suggestion. While this is a great way to add value, simply adding space is not enough. The space needs to have a clear purpose.
The best additions are bedrooms and bathrooms. They will usually bring you the best return on investment when you sell your home. Adding them broadens the appeal of your home.
However, you may not recoup the entire cost when you sell your home. So do your research first. Find out what buyers really want in your area and base your calculations on that.
Other Ways to Add Square Footage
There are other ways to add square footage that don’t require a complete remodel.
Simply adding a deck can allow you to create an outdoor living area. Complement it with some tasteful furniture and you can make your backyard much more appealing.
With more and more people working from home, adding a home office to your backyard could add value. Buyers may appreciate the fact that it allows them to separate their home and work lives. You’re providing a quiet, dedicated space that they can retreat to during the day without disturbing the family.
The Bottom Line: How to Increase the Value of Your Home
If you’re thinking about how to increase the value of your home, we recommend starting small.
First, your home should have a fresh, neutral, clean appearance. From the moment they pull up until they drive away, there should be no cause for alarm. Make sure that the home and yard stay low maintenance and move-in ready!
For more hints and tips on how to make the most of your home, check out the Home Improvement section!