If you’re considering selling your house, 2017 is shaping to be a great year to do so.  Experts are forecasting an increase in home prices this year and you might be wondering how to maximize yours.    

Before putting your house on the market, it’s important to understand who is buying.  According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials comprised 34% of home sales for the past four years. Therefore, if you upgrade your house according to the wants of millennials, you may see a boost in your home price.  According to a Consumer Reports Survey, having a “modern/updated kitchen”, “open floor plan with flexible living space” and “energy efficiency” topped the list of ideal home features desired by millennials.  However, in a volatile housing market, expensive upgrades to your house may not give you the returns you’re seeking.  Still, there are numerous other ways to improve your home to boost its value. From the roof to the kitchen, here are several strategies to consider that may increase the value of your home.

Update Your Kitchen

Most real estate professionals agree that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms buyers take into consideration.

Regardless of the age of the buyer, most real estate professionals agree that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms buyers take into consideration.  According to Consumer Reports, upgrading your kitchen can yield returns of up to 7% on the value of your home.  To make upgrades that are appealing to millennial buyers, consider adding stainless steel appliances to the kitchen.  Stainless steel finishing delivers a clean, modern look which conveys “updated” in the minds of buyers.  In addition, stainless steel boasts a durable finish, style, and easy maintenance, further increasing your kitchen’s appeal to potential buyers.  In addition to stainless steel appliances, you can also consider quartz countertops.  Resistant to stains, scratches, and cuts, it is a more affordable yet tasteful alternative to marble or granite.  If new stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops aren’t in your budget, you can still tend to minor repairs in the kitchen like leaking faucets, loose light fixtures, or any minor burns or stains on the countertops.  In addition, you can paint the walls, update cabinet hardware, and change window treatments to give your kitchen a fresh, clean look.

Increase Living Space

In addition to updating your kitchen, strategically increasing the amount of living space is an excellent way to boost your home value. According to the Consumer Reports survey, millennials rated having an “open floor plan with flexible living space” second only to having an updated kitchen.  You can do this by clearing out extra rooms for use as double-duty or flex rooms.  If your budget allows for it, you can also remodel, or finish your attic or basement, which on average can cost between $10,000 and $27,000.  Alternatively, you can merge two rooms together by dismantling a wall to create a better flow in your house.  If you have budget or time constraints, you can rearrange your furniture to help maximize the available floor space.

Improve Energy Efficiency

Investing in making your home more energy efficient not only reduces your cost of living, but also makes your home more appealing to buyers.  Upgrading insulation to something with a higher R-Value or installing high-efficiency windows can drastically reduce energy expenditures year round.  However, replacing the windows in a house may cost as much as $24,000 and may not be within the budget of many sellers.  Another way to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to invest in a new water heater.  In a typical home, water heating accounts for about 20% of utility bills, or about $1000 a year. In addition to these changes, you can buy LED lighting.  They are an affordable upgrade and use at least 75% less energy than conventional bulbs.

Make Cosmetic Improvements

Remodeling the kitchen, creating more space, and making your home energy efficient are some ways you can raise the value of your home, but investing large sums of money into large-scale renovation projects may not always be the best idea.  The housing market can be volatile, which means that you might not get a sufficient return on investment.  And in some cases, you may end up with a loss when selling your house.  Fortunately, you can still increase your home’s value by focusing on smaller aspects of your house.  Consider painting your walls a neutral color so that potential buyers can project their plans for the house more easily.  Alternatively, you can work on the outside of your house by repainting the sides, or by doing some landscaping.  In addition to the exterior, you can always conduct minor fixes within your home.  A well-placed nail can take care of squeaky floorboards while replacing simple things like light fixtures and faucets or upgrading your furniture can give your home a fresh, clean look.

From breaking down walls to planting flowers, there are many things you can do to increase the value of your home this year.  Even if you aren’t planning on selling your home this year, making small improvements over time can be a great way to prepare for the day you do decide to sell.  And doing so may just result in your living in a more spacious, updated home with a lower utility bill.


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