20 things to do to improve the resale value of your home

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Homeownership comes with a myriad of responsibilities. But a homeowner's No. 1 duty is to always keep their home in tip-top shape. Cold weather, natural disasters and even the passage of time can all have dire consequences for your home and could impact the resale value when it's time to move to a different address.

According to a 2018 survey completed by Nerdwallet that polled 1,400 homeowners about the value of their home, more than 60% of U.S. homeowners believe the value of their home will continue to rise over the next decade. But it's essential to have a plan when it's time to sell your home and move on to the next.

Just the simplest of changes can transform your home into the perfect purchase for the next buyer.

Using data from industry publication Remodeling, which compiled the national average of cost versus value for remodeling projects, and the 2018 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors, we found a few projects that are bound to increase resale value.

Whether you're moving to start a family or because you're now an empty-nester, here are a few things you can do to improve the resale value of your home.


Hire a home inspector

It's important to have a home inspector complete a routine inventory of your home. Inspections can reveal dangerous contaminants in your home, like black mold, and tell you in advance of potential problems that could cost you down the line. Proof of inspection also tells a potential buyer that you care about the upkeep of your home.


Make small improvements

For the big things, personal loans, credit cards and home equity loans can be used to pay for renovations that will increase the value of your home. But if you're hoping to start saving money, even the smallest of investments can go a long way. Replacing counter knobs around the home, updating the washer and dryer, or installing a new dishwasher are all small-scale, efficient solutions that won't cost you a fortune but will still result in a positive outcome.


Repaint indoors

A fresh layer of paint brings life into a home, helping rooms appear more updated and clean. Aim for neutral colors - like white, beige or gray - that can match any furniture or appliance color for new owners.


Add usable square footage

The more square footage your home has, the higher it can be valued. Usable square footage equates to liveable space, and there's plenty you can do to increase the space in your home. Add an extra bathroom or turn a space into a family room to give potential buyers more square footage to play with. A midrange master suite addition cost approximately $130,968 in 2019, and the resale value was about $77,785. More than 59% of the amount spent was regained.


Upgrade the bathroom

An outdated bathroom can prevent a property from reaching its highest value. And because they're high-traffic areas, bathrooms often suffer the most damage. Upgrades to a bathroom can range from simple to complex, but each improvement adds value to your home. Midrange bathroom additions, like pressure-balanced faucets, vanity tops with molded sinks, fiberglass showers and a mirrored medicine cabinet, cost an average of $47,427 in 2019, but the resale value was $28,726, meaning more than 60% of the cost was recouped.


Upgrade the kitchen

Because the kitchen is one of the first rooms that guests and potential buyers view, its appearance could easily make or break a home sale. Luckily, other than the bathroom, it's a space that benefits the most from even the smallest upgrades. Start by keeping the kitchen clean - it's one of the dirtiest places in the home. Consider adding new tiles or stainless steel appliances, hang a pot rack or a wine bottle holder and if you can afford to splurge, add a rolling island. Midrange kitchen remodeling cost an average of $66,196 in 2019, but homeowners recouped more than 62% of that price in the resale value.


Add new flooring

Flooring matters when trying to sell your home. According to realtor.com, wood flooring is the best for resale value, with homeowners receiving between 70% and 80% return on their investment. If you have carpet in your home, consider stripping it in favor of hardwood flooring. It's easier to clean in the case of spills and can be polished for a pristine look. Bonus: it gives potential buyers more decorating opportunities thanks to its neutral coloring.

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Curb appeal

Think to yourself; when someone pulls up to my home, what will they see? If it's a rundown home that needs serious repair, you have some work to do. Even if the inside of your home is the most luxurious spot on the block, a potential buyer will be less likely to step into your home, and its value will decrease. If working on your home from the inside out sounds too hectic, try starting from the outside in.


Invest in landscaping

The first thing a potential buyer sees when they visit a new home is the outdoor landscaping. If your grass is brittle, bushes are untrimmed or your plants are dead, guests will wonder whether they've accidentally stumbled upon a chilling abandoned place. According to the 2018 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors, upgraded landscaping was one of the projects that most increased consumers' desire to be at home.


Trim trees

According to the 2018 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors, tree care is one of the top 10 projects that will add value to your home before resale and the No. 4 project that appeals to buyers. A trimmed tree poses less of a risk of damaging a home after a strong storm. It also improves your landscape aesthetic.


Add new doors

Adding new doors to your home is an inexpensive trick that can add more value. Doors are often overlooked for damage because they serve one purpose: to give us privacy. But they can chip, stick or even rot. The average cost for entry-door replacement was approximately $1,826 in 2019 and the resale value was $1,368. Nearly 75% of the cost was recouped when the home was sold.


Repaint outdoors

Painting indoors is sure to help add more value to your home, but repainting outdoors will do the trick as well. Severe weather can chip away at your home - literally - and the original vibrancy your home exhibited when you first moved in can fade with the passage of time. Add a fresh layer of paint outdoors and it'll bring life back to your home.


Replace the roof

Focus on fixing high-maintenance problems that a potential buyer might encounter after purchasing your home, like roof replacement. Metal roofing replacement cost an average of $33,600 in 2019, but 68% of that price was recovered when the home was sold. And for those with asphalt shingles, the price was cheaper. The average cost was $22,636 in 2019, with 68% of that total recouped when the home was sold.


Make it energy-efficient

There are plenty of ways that you can make your home more energy-efficient. Ceiling fans are a great alternative to air-conditioners, but if they're old and wobbly, chances are your potential buyer won't want to use them. Replace old ceiling fans with new ones. And if you have extra cash to spend, invest in LED lighting.


Invite a realtor or home designer to look at the property

Consider inviting a realtor or a home designer to take a look at your place. Their jobs are to make a place appear as appealing as possible, and their insight could help you decide what steps should be taken to decorate your home. And if inviting one of the two is outside of your budget, television networks and magazines dedicated to home improvement are just as great at offering tips.


Fix insulation problems

A home that is poorly insulated is bad for business. Not only will it lead to expensive energy bills, but if a home is cold for too long, dampness and mold growth may occur. These poor living conditions can lead to illnesses, like a cold or the flu, and infections. Repairing drafty windows or remodeling the attic protects your family and future owners, and gives your home an added feature that will increase its value.


Add more lighting

A well-lit room can transform a room into a more joyful, homely space. Bright rooms are inviting. Hire an electrician to brighten up your living room or dining room, or to add recessed lights to the bedroom.


Fix up the garage

A great way to transform your garage while adding more value to your home is to add more storage space and replace the garage door. Add custom shelving and declutter your space to show buyers how the garage can be utilized to the max. Garage door replacement costs about $3,600 in 2019 and the resale value was $3,500, meaning more than 97% of the cost was recovered.


Upgrade the ceilings

If you've ever seen a ceiling that is bumpy with what appears to be little mound formations scattered across, you've seen a popcorn ceiling. Spray-on ceilings were popularized between the 1950s and 1980s because they made it easier for builders to conceal imperfections. But many of the products used contained asbestos, a fire-resistant chemical that, when inhaled, can cause mesothelioma. Not only are popcorn ceilings a thing of the past that will date your home even if the appliances and other fixtures are up to date, but they pose health risks as well. Popcorn ceilings are easy to replace and will give your home a much-needed upgrade.


Clean like a pro

Perhaps the easiest and most important thing to do to enhance the value of your home is to clean it like a pro. No one wants to tour a home that exhibits the signs of a messy homeowner. Cleaning takes a lot of work, but it's inexpensive. Begin by decluttering your space. That means tossing and donating old possessions that have accumulated in closets, drawers and the garage. Follow up by doing a deep clean. Exhaust fans and dishwashers are both areas you might have never thought to clean, but should. And if you want to avoid the risk of having potential buyers react to chemicals in cleaning products, consider these all-natural cleaning tips.

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