Your home plays such an important role in your life. It’s where you spend a lot of your time, where you can express your personal style, and where you make lasting memories with your family and friends. It’s wonderful when your house truly feels like home, and it’s even better when it’s a smart financial investment.
The term equity refers to the value of your home compared to the amount you still owe on it. Of course, paying your mortgage increases your equity over time as you move closer to owning your home outright. In a good economy, you can also count on your home’s value to rise over time. However, your home’s value could also be negatively affected when parts of it become outdated or worn.
Whether you’re still paying on your home or not, you can instantly raise its value — increasing your equity — through home improvement projects. Knowing what home improvements add the most value can be especially advantageous if you’re looking to eventually sell your home.
How to Add Home Value and Equity
What adds value to a home appraisal? If this is a concern for you, home improvement projects are the way to go. These projects focus on updating your home to be more attractive and more functional. This will not only improve your home’s value but also will attract more buyers if you place your home on the market. Read on to learn about 10 of the best home improvement projects to increase the value of your home.
1. Replacement Windows
One of the absolute best home improvements to increase the value of your home is replacing your windows. New windows are a crucial aspect of both your home’s appearance and function. Over time, windows can become difficult to open and close and can lead to issues that impact the rest of the home, such as:
Paying to replace your windows is an investment that offers a promising return. New windows add substantial value to your home, so you recoup up to 74 percent of your investment.
To experience a much greater return on your investment, you should install energy-efficient windows. These windows are designed to keep your home better insulated. Energy-efficient windows cost more than average windows, but the added value to your home and the money you save on energy costs mean it doesn’t take long for these windows to pay for themselves. In fact, they can slash your energy bills by up to 35 percent.
If you’re interested in selling your home, energy-efficient windows will be a huge selling point for potential buyers since they are environmentally friendly, economical and are made to last. In fact, windows pay for themselves between the increased home value and energy savings.
2. Front Door
Another great way to improve your home’s value is to upgrade your front door. In fact, according to Cost Vs. Value by Remodeling Magazine, “a quality new front door has the highest ROI on a home remodeling project with up to a 91% return when you sell the home.” Since your front door is the centerpiece to the face of your home, it is critical to your curb appeal. Undoubtedly, your front door plays a crucial role in creating visitors’ and buyers’ first reactions to your house. To make the best impression, the style and color of your door should complement the architectural style and color scheme of the house. Current trends value clean, simplistic designs over excessively decorative ones.
Don’t forget the other parts of your entryway. Including some sort of cover above your door – such as an awning or portico – is wise since it provides shelter from the elements when you enter and exit your home. It also enhances the profile of your home since it creates more dimension. In addition to an overhang, you should also have a doorbell that actually works. This may sound like a minor detail, but it can affect a buyer’s first impression of your home. Your entryway should be the first of many aspects of your home that communicates an attention to detail and quality that will maximize your home’s value.
As an entry point into your home, your front door should also be secure. Some doors can look beautiful but be unsafe. Choose a door that is both attractive and secure. Look for doors with the highest possible residential security rating, equipped with tempered safety glass and security plates. A front door that creates the right first impression and helps keep your home secure is a real asset to any home.
It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and this holds true for potential home buyers. An updated kitchen sits at the top of many buyers’ wish lists. You can update your kitchen without tearing out everything and starting from scratch. Your goal should be to make your kitchen appear fresh and functional. Try these three ideas to start:
- Update your kitchen cabinets. You could completely replace your cabinets, but that is a serious undertaking that can cost a lot of money and take a long time. Refacing your cabinets offers a more efficient way of updating your kitchen. If you want to reface your cabinets in a way that truly enhances the appearance and functionality of your kitchen storage, consult a company like Kitchen Saver, which will help your kitchen undergo a more complete transformation. For instance, they can install under-cabinet lighting that brightens your kitchen and improves the ambiance.
- Replacing your outdated appliances with stainless steel ones modernizes your kitchen with minimal effort. The sleek look of stainless steel instantly brings an updated appearance to the room.
- You can also make a big difference in your kitchen by replacing your countertops. Quartz is gaining popularity as a countertop material in upscale contemporary kitchens. These countertops come in many styles and colors, so you are sure to find an option that will complement and enhance your kitchen. Most importantly, quartz is extremely durable and low-maintenance, so it’s made to last.
Many homeowners may not realize just how critical bathrooms are to the value of their homes. Updating your bathrooms provides yet another possible way to raise your home’s value. Of course, you want to make sure your bathroom is in good working order. But even if it’s functional, cosmetic issues could hold you back. Fortunately, you can update your bathroom’s appearance without breaking the bank and enjoy a great return on your investment with these fixes:
- One of the most significant changes you can make in a bathroom is updating your shower or tub. This doesn’t mean you need to destroy your existing one. Bath Fitter will install a new bathtub or shower liner that fits perfectly over your existing one, making it a great, hassle-free option that still results in an attractive shower or tub. The company can also turn your tub into a walk-in shower, a desirable change for many people. If you want to completely replace your old tub or shower, Bath Fitter also offers full replacements.
- No matter your bathroom’s size, you want to maximize the space you do have by adding plenty of storage and ensuring you have ample lighting to keep the room feeling bright and airy.
- If you want to make your bathroom feel more luxurious, installing heated floors is an impressive addition. Heated floors can be costly, but the expense is more manageable for a smaller space.
5. Create Space
These days especially, home buyers are very interested in houses that feel spacious. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be large, but it does mean they should feel open inside rather than closed off by too many walls. Gone are the days of boxy floor plans that separate rooms from one another. Open floor plans can contribute to a brighter interior and enhance the flow inside your home.
Knocking down walls unnecessary to the structural integrity of your house can go a long way toward achieving a more open floor plan. In particular, buyers want to see a living area adjacent to the kitchen with natural flow between the two. Fortunately, removing walls may only cost you a few hundred dollars, making it a relatively inexpensive home improvement option. Since the cost to create a more spacious and open environment is low, and it can completely change the feel of your whole home for the better, this change is definitely worth it.
6. Hardwood Floors
Carpet has some advantages as a flooring option, but its susceptibility to stains and wear means it has to be replaced every eight to 10 years. This may be part of the reason carpet is going out of style, and more and more home buyers are looking for hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors look elegant and are made to last, unlike most other flooring options. While hard data on the ROI hardwood floors offer is scarce, experienced real estate professionals attest to the fact that hardwood floors make a positive impression on most buyers and enhance the appeal and value of your home.
If you like the look of hardwood but aren’t crazy about the feel, placing area rugs or runners throughout your home can add some comfort and style while still letting you reap the benefits of having hardwood floors. Because of their appeal, you may want to consider not just installing hardwood floors in your home but also finishing existing hardwood floors covered by carpet.
Don’t underestimate the power of lighting to influence the feel of your home’s interior. Generally speaking, less is not more when it comes to lighting. Small spaces can feel larger with brighter lights. The color of your light is also something to consider since it can change the mood of a room. Stark, white lighting appears clean while more yellow tones feel warm and possibly cozier. Upgrading to dimmable lights gives you more control over your home’s ambiance.
Natural light is especially desirable. For this reason, you may want to consider adding more windows to dim parts of your home or replacing some of your existing windows with larger ones that will let in more light. Another option gaining popularity is to install tubular skylights — also called sun tubes — that funnel natural light from outside through a fixture in your ceiling. With so many lighting options available, you should be strategic in fitting your home with fixtures and natural sources of light that enhance your home’s interior.
8. New Roof
Replacing your roof can have a drastic effect on your home’s value. Depending on the property and the quality of the new roof, you can boost the value of your home by an average of almost $12,000. Most roofs, including asphalt shingle roofs, need to be replaced every 20 years or so. It’s no wonder, then, potential home buyers worry how soon after purchasing a house they will have to replace the roof.
You may want to consider higher-quality roofing materials that can last longer and better insulate your house, leading to lower energy costs. Installing a high-quality roof will significantly boost your equity in your home. Even if you opt for a conventional shingle roof, getting rid of your old roof is a smart financial move for your home.
When you look to improve the value of your home, don’t forget about your surrounding property. Landscaping may seem like a small detail, but it can make or break your home’s curb appeal. Unkempt plants or sprawling trees can obscure your house from view and crowd out natural light, keeping the inside of your home darker. This is significant since, as we’ve established, you want to take advantage of natural light as much as possible.
Landscaping offers an exceptionally good ROI. One study shows spending $400 or $500 on landscaping can boost your home’s value by four times what you paid, making it one of the top three investments that bring the most return in home value. Don’t let overgrown weeds and trees take away from your home’s exterior. Instead, make sure your landscaping appears well-manicured and enhances rather than degrades your home’s appearance and value.
10. Solar Panels
Installing solar panels can be a great option for homeowners who are environmentally conscious. Solar panels allow you to harness clean, thermal energy, which reduces your ecological footprint and can save you money as well. The more money you can cut off your home’s energy costs, the more you can increase the value of your home. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, you can expect the value of your home to go up by approximately $20 for every dollar you save on your energy bills.
Making your home more energy-efficient is a great way to raise your equity and attract buyers if you’re trying to sell. In California, for instance, homes with solar power have been shown to sell faster than those without it. Other parts of the country may not reflect the California market, so you should do some research to find out how homes equipped with solar panels affect home values in your region.
How to Add Value to Your Home: Start With the Windows & Doors
Now that you know how to increase your home value for appraisal, you may be ready to get started on making these improvements. While there are many home projects you can embark on, installing energy-efficient windows & entry doors that are made to last and will save you substantial amounts of money on your energy bills — all while adding value to your home — should be a top priority.
If you’re interested in upgrading your windows or learning more, contact Homespire Windows and Doors today for a free window analysis. Our local company has helped many people in the Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Baltimore areas renew their homes with our custom-made windows.