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Spending resources and effort on improving your home’s value are always important. These will ensure a more livable and appealing home which will reflect on your style and personality as a homeowner. More importantly, these will also ramp up its market value, which is always vital in case you will need to sell in the future.

The important thing to remember is that not all improvements need to be costly. In fact, you don’t need to install a top of the line home theater in your home in order to make it attractive. A realtor related that he himself installed a swimming pool in order to increase his home value. Unfortunately, said improvement was quite massive and required a lot of upkeep, making it less attractive to potential buyers.

According to a report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, less than $10,000 have been spent by over a million homeowners in their remodeling projects in the past fifteen years. In order for you to make an informed decision on the best improvement projects for your home, here are some tips which are driven by consumer reports and data from the current housing market:

The kitchen is the heart of any home.

Any improvement in the kitchen drives the price of a home by 3 to 7 percent. In various studies, it has been noted that prospective buyers always look at the kitchen as the selling point of any home. In consumer reports, it has been noted that a modern or updated kitchen is the most ideal home feature. However, it doesn’t mean that you will need to gut out your current kitchen. You can start with small remodeling projects such as repainting cabinets and walls, staining old wood, among others. If you have the budget to go all out, major projects include updating the kitchen hardware.

The current buzzwords at this point in kitchen improvement is the use of stainless steel. Outfit your kitchen with appliances that have the steel finish for that modern, contemporary design. There is recently a surge of black kitchen appliances which look elegant and clean. If you can, invest in these appliances and see the value of your home move up drastically.

Another wonderful improvement is the use of quartz countertops. If you have the money to spend, splurge on these as these countertops are scratch and stain free and even heat resistant. It is made from stone chips, resins and pigment.

A beautiful yard will always be the first attraction.

The yard is almost always the one overlooked by homeowners in making home improvements. Note, however, that a properly manicured yard is the first thing that prospective buyers will notice about your home. Most importantly, the yard is also the easiest to maintain. Always make sure that it is clean and that grasses are mowed. Ensure also that trees and bushes are regularly pruned.

You can make your yard more attractive by adding flower beds that bloom according to the season. Do not over embellish with exotic plants that are costly and difficult to maintain. Invest in pots or a topiary instead which can help you embellish the look of your yard.

Also, do not forget to make minor repairs to the façade, including painting the gate or walls. If possible, add improvements such as a deck or a patio, a sitting area or even a grill for barbecues and picnics. You can also add in a gravel path which will definitely make the look of your yard more interesting. If you have existing gravel tiles, do not forget to repair or replace the broken ones. According to reports, an awesome yard will add in 3 to 5 percent in the overall value of your home.

Maintain your front door and garage door.

The main contributor to the curb appeal of your home is your front door and garage door. Always maintain these doors with a coat of fresh paint or a good stain. It would also help to show how secure these doors are in keeping out intruders.

For those with a garage, always make sure that the garage door is in good working condition. The garage door opener mechanism should be properly working and regularly checked by a reputable specialist such as A1 Garage Door Service. If you need to update the look of your garage door, look out for the best style, materials and brands that will complement the look and aesthetics of your home. A beautiful garage door can go a lot in increasing the curb appeal of your home.

Keep all your fixtures in good working condition.

Most homeowners overlook leaky faucets, damaged door locks, faulty light bulbs, clogged drains, broken toilets etc. These can severely affect the value of your home as most buyers are oftentimes turned off by homes that require a lot of work. Make sure to fix all broken fixtures. These are oftentimes the least expensive of your home improvement projects and yet the most practical ones. At the same time, having all fixtures in good proper working order will assure prospective buyers of the soundness of purchasing your home.

Create strategic living spaces in your home.

In a consumer report of millenials’ list of most attractive home features, an open floor plan with flexible living space is considered as most important. This does not equate to increasing the size of your home but improving the amount of living spaces. For example, you can convert that attic or basement into a usable living space. In a report of US News, conversion of an attic or basement costs only half of what it takes to create an additional space outside of the home.

Millenial buyers oftentimes want the additional space to serve as a home office or a studio while baby boomers want the extra space as additional bedroom for guests or a play room for grand kids. These spaces are oftentimes advertised as flex rooms, mother-in-law apartments or upstairs laundry rooms and can add as much as 4 to 6 percent in terms of home value.

What’s more, you can also try to rethink your layout. Consider removing walls to create open spaces. Check the layout of the bath, toilet and basin for maximum space and privacy. Use a lot of mirrors to create the illusion of space and openness. There are definitely a lot of creative ideas to make spaces more strategic. While you are at it, throw in some planters for a cozy feel.

Ensure an energy efficient home.

Having an energy-efficient home is not just a good selling point but also important in keeping your energy costs down. A recent survey of the National Association of Home Builders noted energy efficiency as the second most important attribute to safe community in terms of influencing purchasing decisions.

Installing LED lights is the first step in ensuring an energy efficient home. Next would be adding in insulation and Energy Star certified windows. According to real estate professionals, buyers nowadays ask for the R-value of a home’s insulation and the low-E coatings of windows. It is also important to show that even your garage door is well-insulated. A garage door with good insulation will improve the overall energy efficiency of your home. In terms of pricing, an energy efficient home boosts its overall value by 1 to 3 percent.

Install new sidings for a brand new home look.

Did you know that you can actually make your home look brand new? It is possible to do this by installing foam backing, vinyl siding or fiber cement siding. By doing so, your home’s durability increases and even helps in improving its energy efficiency. What’s more, new sidings can improve the look of the exterior of your home, even to the point of making it appear brand new.

According to Remodeling Magazine, installing new sidings can also boost your home’s re-sale value by a whopping 78 percent.

Paint is the best and cheapest way to upgrade the look of your home.

If you do not have the budget to do a lot of improvements, the best uplift that can be done to your home is by painting it. Painting is the best way to hide marked or scratched surfaces while defending your home from the elements and the regular wear and tear. For a more strategic uplift of your home, paint high traffic areas such as the living room, kitchen and bathrooms.

In order to appeal to more buyers, use a neutral color scheme. This will allow buyers to envision living spaces according to how they would want it to look. Also, use high quality paint that will not easily chip off and will maintain its luster even after a few years. A good paint job will bump up your home value by 1 to 2 percent.

Keep your home upgrades simple and easy to maintain.

Most home buyers nowadays are not interested in wall to wall carpeting or ornate cabinets that easily collect dust. What they want are home improvements that are easy to maintain and do not require extra work. As such, make sure that your upgrades take all of these into consideration.

In demand at this point are houses with hardwood floors because of its beauty and durability. Updated gas systems are also important considerations. Also, roofs that are free of water damage, squirrel infestation, ice dumps etc. tend to rake in a good price. All these will push your home value by 3 to 5 percent.

Invest in smart technology.

If you can go all out with equipping your home with all the best technologies, make sure that you invest on smart devices. This is because technologies easily get outdated so it is important to make informed decisions. Smart technology include a wide range of products that are applicable to lights, doors, locks and security systems. Home buyers are willing to pay 3 to 5 percent more the value of your home if they see the potential in these devices. Best technologies to invest in are programmable thermostats that can be controlled by smartphones or computers and a generator for the entire house.

Consider the needs of different age groups.

In outfitting your home, consider the needs of the different age groups. Avoid steep staircases, slippery bathtubs and showers, pointed cabinets etc. which are not suitable for old people and children.

While some home buyers are still taken in by bath tubs, consider installing a separate walk in shower that is suitable for using walkers or what may be considered as wheelchair friendly. If possible, consider installing the master bedroom on the main floor to reduce the need to climb stairs. Toilets should also be a few inches taller to ensure ease in getting on and off. These improvements are expected to increase your home value by 1 o 2 percent.

Spruce up your bathroom.

Go for the clean and fresh look in the bathroom with white tiles and suites. To make it more homey, experiment with the lighting and decorative paneling. Home buyers love unique yet functional bathroom fixings, spa-like shower heads, creative wall vinyl, bold bathroom basins and coordinated finishes. You can also improve the look of your bathroom by installing bold shower curtains and other fixtures.

Don’t forget the finishing touches.

If you are putting up your house on sale, do not forget to make some finishing touches. This can be as simple as tidying up the mess, airing the rooms or adding in some flowers. Presentation is definitely key.

A realtor notes that even simple interior styling can help increase the number of property viewings, improve the pricing and reduces the time on the market. Home buyers are just oftentimes put off by houses that need a lot of work. So style your home with some wall hangings, curtains, fresh flowers and some throw pillows.

See, boosting the value of your home can be range from a number of things, from the cheapest and minor projects to major ones. The important thing to consider is to always maintain its beauty because you never know when you’ll need to put it in the market.