If just hearing the words “increasing home value” is enough to send a shiver down your spine, you’ve come to the right place. Upgrades and home improvements don’t have to be stressful to increase resale value — and knowing where and how to invest your time will make every project feel more like progress.
Roll up your sleeves, grab a hammer and get ready to learn about home improvements that your wallet — and every potential buyer — will thank you for when moving day rolls around.
Whether you’re buying a renovated house or are working on your own fixer-upper, one thing is clear: Paying attention to home value from day one will keep you from making mistakes that could hurt your chances — or your bottom line — if you ever want to sell. The truth is that every home buyer is unique, but no matter their values, they often care a great deal about curb appeal.
Curb appeal might just be one of the most subjective things in the real estate world. One person’s front yard fountain installation could be another person’s blocked view of the front porch. So how do you know what to do and what definitely not to do when choosing home upgrade projects that increase a home’s value?
Your best bet is to keep it simple.
If your goal is to sell your home, whether that means now or in ten years, make sure you do everything with curb appeal in mind. That means making your choices carefully — for example, take care of the lawn (who doesn’t love a lush green front yard?) and avoid additions that might make buyers drive right on by. Basically, don’t do anything a house-hunter will have to pay to undo later, or your resale value will suffer.
Maybe you’re not really a hammer-and-nail type of person. If that’s the case, don’t worry — when you buy or sell with Bungalo®, renovation projects big and small are handled for you.
Because curb appeal isn’t so easy to pin down, it may be helpful to think of other words to inform your renovation planning. For example, do you want your house to be welcoming, homey and warm, or would you rather go for stately and impressive?
Either way, curb appeal adds home value — and achieving that perfect aesthetic is a long-term project. Luckily, you can get started as soon as you walk in the door for the first time.
Here are a few things that boost a home’s curb appeal:
Gardens are blooming with possibility — literally. Adding a garden to your yard increases curb appeal by giving your house a fresh, living component that could juxtapose wonderfully with wood, brick, vinyl or stone siding. It also makes spaces feel more dynamic — for example, gardens can make square front yards look less geometric and more like home.
Gardens also promise an element of self-sufficiency that many house-hunters are drawn to. If you can make them imagine looking out over the yard while enjoying a garden-fresh salad full of homegrown vegetables, you’ve achieved house-selling magic: getting buyers to picture themselves settling down in your home.
Patios and decks, while eye-catching, are also an opportunity to get more out of your yard: more curb appeal and more home value. Adding them, however, should be a calculated decision. Going overboard can make your yard seem small and cramped, while an undersized deck or patio won’t serve much purpose for entertaining or relaxing. If you already have a patio or deck, you’re in luck—all you need is a fresh coat of paint to boost your home’s curb appeal.
Your home’s roof has a big role to play when it comes to curb appeal. A worn or moss-covered roof can make even the nicest house look shabby. Plus, savvy buyers know that roofing is a big cost, so they may not be interested in a home that could put a dent in their finances right away. That’s why Bungalo certifications are such a big deal: They guarantee that every house has had all of the big stuff, including the roof, taken care of.
Also, in the 2019 Remodeling Impact Survey, the National Association of Realtors reported that updated roofing has a big impact on sales and is highest on the list of completed projects that appeal to buyers. 33% of surveyed realtors said that an updated roof was critical in closing on a home, and the study found that roof replacements had a 107% return on project cost.
Adding a new garage door also topped the NAR’s list of projects buyers love to see completed. Because garages can add to overall home value, increase curb appeal, it makes sense to put a new garage door at the top of your to-do list.
Even if you’re in love with your home right now, there’s no guarantee you’ll stay in the same place forever. That’s why it’s smart to start planning high-value renovations as soon as possible, so any potential buyer might be more interested in your property, andyou get to enjoy the home upgrades until then.
What this doesn’t mean is that you need to work on every home improvement project right away. Instead, choose renovations that prospective home buyers might consider valuable, both now and in the future, and start working on those one at a time.
Today’s homebuyer won’t necessarily have the same values and priorities as tomorrow’s, and, unless you have a crystal ball, there’s no way to know for sure what the future will bring. Still, a little informed guesswork can go a long way.
Take, for example, environmental friendliness. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 40% of U.S. energy goes toward homes and commercial buildings, meaning that energy efficiency upgrades are likely to get even more popular.
Here are a few recommendations for energy efficient upgrades:
- Install newer lightbulbs and fixtures
- Look for the government-backed ENERGY STAR logo when buying appliances
- Make sure existing appliances are functioning efficiently
- Repair air leaks in windows or ductwork
- Install solar panels to save money on energy bills
These home upgrades will likely appeal to buyers no matter when you sell your home — and, in the meantime, you’ll enjoy the benefits (and do a little good for Mother Earth along the way).
Another element of long-term home improvement planning is, of course, the finances. How do you afford larger projects or upgrades that require a contractor? Here are a few tips.
- Budget accordingly.
Creating a solid budget for home improvement projects is an absolute must — that way, you don’t end up spending more than you’ll get back in your home’s value. It’s also smart to plan ahead and start saving or budgeting long before you actually begin your home upgrades.
- Get bids — and then throw out anything that seems too good to be true.
According to This Old House, you should get bids from multiple contractors so you can compare prices. Costs are broken down into three categories: materials, which should represent 40% of the cost; overhead, which should be 40%; and profit margin, which is typically 20%. It’s also important, the source explains, to take bids with a grain of salt. Prices that seem too good to be true often are.
- Arrange payment plans.
If you budgeted ahead of time, you may have more flexibility when it comes to payment plans. Either way, make sure the contractor you choose is clear and open about their payment expectations, especially when it comes to down payments.
- Don’t pay cash.
According to Forbes, you always want to pay contractors with checks or credit cards. Contractors asking for or insisting on cash may be trying to scam you.
Home buyers may have different priorities when touring houses, but one thing most of them can agree on is the importance of the kitchen. It’s the heart of any home — or, at least, it will be, once you’re done making a few tweaks.
Flooring brings a space together, sure — but in the kitchen, its primary objective is to be functional. If your current kitchen flooring is doing its job, you might consider spending time and money on other home improvement projects. On the other hand, if the flooring is outdated, warped or a hazard to the home cook, it’s definitely worthwhile to swap it out. Consider choices that look good and won’t negatively impact your home’s value, but don’t feel obligated to jump straight to the most expensive option (like hardwood floors).
If you only have the time, money or energy for one kitchen remodel, make it this one: According to HGTV, stainless steel appliances help increase home value. Buyers like the look and functionality of a kitchen with these sleek silver accents — and you’ll enjoy how easy it is to keep your new appliances clean in the meantime.
If you’re not ready to go all Property Brothers on your kitchen remodel, don’t worry — there are some minor upgrades you can do as a DIYer.
- Update the backsplash. Find an interesting pattern or attractive tile that matches your countertops. It’s easy, affordable and improves the value of your kitchen.
- Change out the light fixtures. New or brighter fixtures can change the whole mood of your kitchen — and they might be more energy-efficient, too.
- Paint the cabinets. If you don’t want to spend the time and money necessary to replace cabinetry, just grab a bucket of paint and a brush. Make sure to choose colors that stand out but don’t risk impacting your home’s value.
Bathrooms may not be the heart of your home, but they’re a pretty big deal — especially to buyers trying to judge the functionality of your floor plan. Here are some ways to create a bathroom oasis that you — and future buyers — will love.
According to Consumer Reports, your best bet for bathroom paint is satin or semi-gloss. Stay away from textured paints that will turn this humid part of the house into a breeding ground for mold. Plus, the source explains that flat or eggshell finishes make everyday cleaning a chore — which buyers won’t like at all.
Faucets, shower heads and even sinks and toilets are considered bathroom fixtures. While updating these might be more work, they are often the elements of your bathroom that draw the most attention — so start small, like choosing a new faucet for the sink, and work up from there.
If your bathroom vanity is outdated, falling apart or just plain boring, consider replacing it with a DIY build. Dressers or cabinets from your local second-hand store or flea market make great statement pieces, especially when painted to match your bathroom’s aesthetic.
From gardens and decks to kitchens and bathrooms, home upgrades make a huge impact on your home’s value and curb appeal. When timed just right, they also provide plenty of enjoyment for you until you sell your home.
Don’t feel like grabbing a hammer to sell your house or move into a new one? Not to worry — Bungalo renovates homes for you, so whether you’re buying or selling, you won’t have to lift a finger. Start working with Bungalo today to get top dollar the easy way.
This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.