By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent
In Part 1 of this article series we discussed kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms; three areas of the home that can boost value when updated or improved. If you have not yet read Part 1, visit www.voncannonrealestate.com to view it. Now, it's time to talk about the other rooms in the house. And let's not forget exterior upgrades. Even a quick and simple facelift makes the home more attractive and worth more. Use strategic planning to invest your money in the places that count most. You will be pleased with the return.
Simple Details Often Overlooked
When you choose to renovate a living room, den or dining room -- remember, the most important and valuable improvements are sometimes in the details. You may want to open out a wall to change the floor design, especially if you live in a home built in the 1950's, 60's or 70's. Again, a chair rail (especially in the dining room) and crown molding can increase the value. An upgrade in flooring, windows, decks, screened in porches and paint can all equal the perfect facelift. Use light or neutral colored paint to reflect light. Fireplaces can also add on about $3,000 to an appraisal. Just remember wood fireplaces are declining in popularity. Fireplaces that use gas or are converted to burn gas are more popular.
Simple and Effective Upgrades for Any Room
Consider updating dirty and chipped wall sockets. Also, you may want to replace light switches and light fixtures. Make sure the lights, wall sockets and light switches flow with the color scheme or the mood you are trying to evoke with the room. For example: do not use a rooster shaped light fixture in a bathroom. All of these changes will make a definite statement in a room.
Don't Waste the Garage and the Basement
Think long and hard before you turn the garage or basement into a room. Although this may increase the square footage of your home the value is in the space as is. In Virginia, a one-car garage equals $10,000 credit with the appraiser. If the garage is converted the appraiser counts only 1/3 of the square footage and adds it to your home value. As is, garages and basements in good condition can be an excellent commodity when selling your home. Keep this in mind when prioritizing renovations.
The Importance Of Maintaining the Face Of The Home
Renovations and updates do not include roofs and other exterior materials. This is part of home maintenance and should automatically be done to maintain the value of your home. Landscaping and a fence can greatly add to the value of a home. Expect about a 70% return on labor and materials for landscaping and fence installation. If you have a fence that is old and has seen better days be sure to repair or replace it or it will lower your home value. Underground irrigation systems and sod can payoff nicely - as much as a 70% return. Shutters, porches and gutters yield about 80%. Pools are of little value when attempting to increase your home value. Aside from the extra insurance you will need, a pool is only worth the investment if you live in an area where most homeowners have pools. Pools are like wallpaper: buyers either love them or hate them.
A word of caution: remember to pull all permits when doing renovations or updates on your home. Make certain the contractor pulls all permits when you resell or this will come back to haunt you. Also, if you have no experience with these kinds of home projects, do not attempt them. Do It Yourself (DIY) may be popular, but trust my judgment and years of experience. DIY renovations will often pale in comparison to a professional job. If you insist on tackling the projects on your own, take a class on each type of renovation or find a friend with some background who is willing to assist you. Remember, generally speaking, pride in ownership is apparent in a property and that you can take to the bank.