How to Increase the Value of Your Home

As the real estate market softens, what can Americans do to still get the best price for their homes, and ensure they get appraised for the fair market value of their real estate? How do homeowners give their properties an edge? The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure you hire a real estate appraiser that is honest, experienced and will research your property and the comparable properties around you thoroughly.

So, what can a homeowner do to increase the value of their real estate property? In some cases, spending significant money to put in a swimming pool or tennis court will help, but there are also less expensive ways to make one’s home more attractive–without jacking up the appraised value or property tax bill. A fresh coat of paint or a revarnished floor will go a long way toward impressing prospective buyers without having to take out a home improvement loan. And let’s face it, in the real estate market today, the buyer is king, so doing things to make your home more attractive to a prospective buyer is a good first step.
Homeowners may want to consult with their real estate agent or other experts and lenders, when they put their home on the market. A home could be in mint condition–in the owner’s eyes, at least–but owners may be surprised at what they hadn’t thought about, and that’s where your appraiser comes into the picture. Another good idea is to ensure your house smells nice during your open house. You’d be surprised how many people get turned off by the smell of cat urine or fried onions. In fact it’s so important that experts reveal that the odors from animals or from food are the first thing people notice when they walk into a house, and it can completely change the way a house is perceived. And when you’re living there, you don’t smell it. There’s also the issue of color to think about.

Marketers have all kinds of theories about which colors or scents put consumers in the mood to buy. In the case of home sales, cosmetic changes rather than major renovations can make a huge difference in the sales price. Some lenders have seen homes sell at $15,000 below an asking price, and they may remain on the market for months, not because there were major problems with the house but because the home may not have been presented well enough to sell. Now keep in mind, you are doing this for the potential home buyers, real estate appraisers are looking at more of the structural issues and the most recent selling prices of other homes in your area.

“A small investment can offer a large economic return,” says Dorcas Helfant of Coldwell Banker Professional, Realtors in Virginia Beach, Va. “It’s not about what you are comfortable with in your home; it’s about whether or not future home buyers can imagine themselves living there comfortably. A $4,000 to $5,000 investment in new carpet may make a $10,000 difference in the sales price.”

Furthermore, if a home’s appearance rubs brokers the wrong way, it may not get shown, and once a house lingers on the market for too long, it becomes stigmatized, decreasing the chances of its selling at the asking price.

When it comes to major remodeling jobs, it probably isn’t worth your time or money. Many real estate agents state that the entire cost of renovations are rarely recouped in the sales price. For example, Remodeling magazine’s annual cost versus value report, which looks at how much of the costs of remodeling projects are recouped in the sales price, found that on a national average, the most cost-effective remodeling jobs were bathroom additions and second-story additions. In both cases, home owners saw 94% of costs recouped.



So there you have it. While these suggestions may not garner you thousands of extra dollars, they should at least stop you from getting less than you should.


If you or someone you know is thinking about buying or selling your home, contact for thorough and knowledgeable appraisal services.

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