If you're planning to put your house on the market soon, now is the time to start thinking about how to increase its value. Even if your plans of selling are still a couple years out, making upgrades now could prove quite lucrative when that day comes.
Improving your home's value goes beyond the added listing price. If an investment can make you feel more comfortable in your home, then it's money well spent.
So whether you're doing it for yourself or for potential buyers, here are some easy ways to enhance your home.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. If the exterior of your house is deteriorating, dated or falling apart, it's not going to be a very appealing place to come home to every day, let alone market to others. To increase the curb appeal - and value - of your house, consider these improvements:
Before choosing a material, do some research and learn about the differences between each, as some may offer a higher return on your investment than others. For example, according to a National Association of Realtors "Remodeling Impact Report," fiber cement siding had a payback of almost 80 percent.
"Valuable investments improve both aesthetics and function."
New window installations
One of the reasons window upgrades are such a valuable home remodeling project is that they carry both aesthetic and functional benefits. By replacing your windows, not only can you improve your home's look but also help increase its energy efficiency and comfort.
Missing shingles or tiles are never a good look. They don't just make the structural integrity of the house look compromised - if pieces are falling off, it's a sign that the deteriorating roof may actually be causing damage to your home.
If the exterior of your home is already in mint condition, take your home improvement projects inside. The key is to focus on the spaces people see and use the most.
As with windows, updating appliances and fixtures in the kitchen can make the room both look and function better. In fact, USA Today reported that nearly 70 percent of home buyers are willing to pay more for new kitchen appliances, and 41 percent said they would if the appliances are stainless steel.
Even if you don't want to splurge on entirely new appliances, adjustments as simple as upgrading the cabinetry hardware or lighting fixtures can make a huge difference in how people perceive the room.
Focus on flooring
A sleek refrigerator isn't the only thing people are willing to pay more for. USA Today also reported that over 50 percent of home buyers would be willing to spend at least an extra $2,000 on a house with hardwood floors. If you're looking for a simple yet significant improvement, floors are the right way to go. Because they take up so much space, they are among the first things potential buyers and guests notice.
Perhaps this is why, according to the National Wood Flooring Association, almost all (99 percent) real estate agents agree that it's easier to sell a home with hardwood floors. More than 80 percent also think homes with hardwood floors sell faster, and 90 percent said they can sell for up to 10 percent above asking price.
Whether solid or engineered hardwood, quality flooring can go a long way in increasing home value.