How to Add Value to Your Home

Sure, we all know that general remodeling can improve your home’s value. But what are some specific measures you can take that have an impact? Instead of doing a massive house overhaul, what individual steps and investments will up your home’s sellability (and benefit you in the process)?

Projects to Increase Home Value

Update paint.

While the painting part itself isn’t exactly easy, updating paint is one of the simplest tasks to up your home’s worth. Everything from adding an accent wall to updating trim to swapping out 1980’s wallpaper for a modern paint color — all are valuable ideas.

Embrace the eco-friendly.

Light fixtures, low-flow shower heads, window treatments, smart thermostats — the small (but mighty) ways you can update your home to be more eco-friendly are infinite. Becoming eco-friendly is no longer a fad, it’s growing into an expectation. The greener your house, the greener your finances — both now and when you eventually decide to sell.

Going solar is another great idea, though the idea might feel daunting. Look into rebates and see how solar could work for you — this is an absolute game-changer when it comes to adding home value.

Say “peace” to the popcorn ceiling.

Ahh, popcorn ceilings. Everyone’s favorite home cringe. If your popcorn ceiling is from 1979 or earlier, you should have a professional check for asbestos. Any ceilings after 1980 should be fine to remove yourself, you just need a weekend to dedicate to this wonderful task. It’s not fun, but it’s worth the increased home value.

Build a beautiful yard.

Creating a paved cement or brick patio gives potential buyers the opportunity to imagine themselves living at your house. They’ll think about what kind of backyard shindigs they’ll throw or how they’ll read outside in the summertime. Landscaping in general is a great home value increaser; a patio is a necessity.

Store it up.

Ask most Realtors and they’ll agree: built-in storage tends to make the top of a buyer’s wish list. Whether adding this to a closet or garage is up to you, but it will make a difference in both your home’s clutter and overall worth.

Aesthetic Ways to Increase Home Value

Make rooms look bigger.

Blinds that let in more light and — you guessed it — a mirror can do wonders for a room. More light gives a sense of more space and these additions create a valuable illusion.

Bathtub? Bring it on!

Many potential buyers won’t use it, many will swear they’ll use it all the time but regardless, everyone appreciates the idea of a nice tub. When you have a home feature that makes interested buyers go, “Oooh!” you know you’ve hit the jackpot. A bathtub does just that.

Fix the flooring.

That old, worn down carpet needs to go, but if you’re not ready to get rid of it just yet, you have options. Consider adding a gorgeous rug (preferably one that will still work without carpet) to spruce up your space, and schedule yearly floor treatments to ensure things last.

Swap out some sinks.

A stained kitchen sink or an outdated vanity are drab, and you deserve something fab. Switching to stainless steel in the kitchen (if it matches the rest of your home’s aesthetic) or opting for a modern vanity do aesthetic wonders for your home and overall value.

Dial up a designer.

Not sure where to start or what the latest trends are? Interior designers (or even real estate agents) are great resources to help you add value to your home. Contact someone local for a consultation — you’ll likely pay $100 or so, but it’s well worth their expert advice and insights.

These changes might seem small or inconsequential, but they can truly pack a punch. Potential buyers, whether in a time-limited event or traditional listing, can tell when effort was put into maintaining and improving a house, as well as when it wasn’t. When you eventually decide to sell, every little thing counts.

Do DIY House Projects Hurt Your Home’s Value?

No matter what style house you have, no matter where you live, you share something in common with every other homeowner on the planet. At some point, your house will need improvements and repairs.

Repairs range from annual (like sealing your house from drafts) to hopefully once in your lifetime (such as replacing your roof). Home improvements (think renovating your kitchen or repainting your living room) aren’t usually as time-sensitive as repairs.

But whether it’s a repair or an improvement, both are time-consuming and range from financially inconvenient to scarily expensive. It’s natural for most people to think about solving the issue themselves rather than fork over hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, are the short-term savings of a DIY home fix worth potentially decreasing your home’s value? If you fix things on your own, will it come back to bite you?

Spoiler Alert: DIY projects can hurt your home’s value.

But only if they’re not done correctly. If you try fixing or improving home issues on your own and are unsuccessful, one of two things will happen:

  • Future homebuyers will have to pay for them, lowering the price of your home OR
  • You will have to pay for the fixes if the homebuyers include this as a contingency in their house offer (and you accept the offer).

However, you don’t have to put down that nail gun just yet. There are plenty of times when DIY projects won’t negatively affect your home’s value.

When do DIY home projects make sense?

Smaller, low-stakes projects are OK to tackle on your own (if you want to). Some examples include:

  • Changing out door knobs or handles
  • Updating kitchen fixtures
  • Painting
  • Sealing leaks throughout your house
  • Minor plumbing issues (like a toilet that won’t stop running)
  • Replacing a door

Most of these fixes require attention to detail, confidence, and being thorough, and access to YouTube doesn’t hurt. They’re all fairly inconsequential — for example, choosing the wrong paint color is no fun, but it’s an easy mistake to remedy.

DIY home improvements also make sense if you want to take the project on and it’s manageable. It’s fun to learn new skills while bettering your home.

When should you hire a professional?

There are three main situations for when you should hire a professional:

  1. Structural projects
  2. Dangerous projects
  3. “I don’t want to do this” projects

Structural Projects

Repairing the foundation, repiping plumbing, installing a new heating system (such as switching to geothermal), or home improvements like adding a new room — all of these are structural projects that require a professional. Making a rookie mistake on a foundational project isn’t just expensive in the long run, it’s downright dangerous.

Dangerous Projects

“Electricity” and “danger” go hand in hand, which is why you want to leave these type of home improvements up to the pros. Becoming a journeyman electrician can take 5 to 6 years, with much of that time including apprenticeship. That’s more time than most people spend in undergraduate programs, and it’s because electrical work is tricky and dangerous.

Other dangerous projects involve working with certain chemicals or materials that are hazardous for health (asbestos removal is a prime example) or anything involving heights and power tools (think tree trimming or roof replacement). Professionals have the necessary equipment to handle these types of projects. Hiring a pro not only helps maintain your home’s value, but it also ensures your safety. 

“I Don’t Want to Do This” Projects

Lacking the time to complete a necessary house project (or learn how to do it)? Think DIY home improvements should stay on HGTV? Hire someone instead! Home projects often reflect the attitude going into them — if you really don’t want to retile the bathroom, you’re more likely to speed through and do a sloppy job, which will only cost you more later.

DIY home improvements can save you money, but at the end of the day, if the job isn’t done well, it will cost you. Professional work and craftsmanship will always reign supreme in the land of home appreciation, but that also doesn’t mean you can’t learn the skills to fix things on your own.

If you’ve read through this with a sinking feeling, thinking of your home’s DIY fixes that work for you but might not for the next inhabitants, don’t despair! Sell with RH for a time-limited event (you can even get cash back with Cashifyd). Even if your house isn’t in the best possible condition, we can still help.