8 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR HOME VALUE
Follow these rules to increase your selling price by 35 percent.
- •The Kitchen Is Still KingBuyers of all kinds have long focused on the kitchen, but it holds particular sway over the newest wave of first-time homeowners. A “modern/updated kitchen” topped the list of ideal home features in our survey of millennials, registering as most important to more than a third of respondents.
- •Make Floor Plans Work HarderBigger isn’t necessarily better in today’s market, but strategically increasing the amount of living space is sure to boost home value. An “open floor plan with flexible living space” was second only to an updated kitchen on millennials’ list of most desired features.
- •Don’t Let Your Home Be an Energy HogLowering your home’s energy costs will save you money for as long as you live there and is expected to be a major selling point down the line. Indeed, “energy-efficient” was second only to “safe community” on the list of attributes that would most influence a purchase decision, according to a 2015 survey by the National Association of Home Builders.
- •Keep It Simple and Stress-FreeStain-prone stone countertops, grime-collecting ornate cabinets, and dust-catching wall-to-wall carpet used to be symbols of luxury, but today’s homebuyers are more likely to equate them with extra work. “We call it stress-free living,” says Miguel Berger, a real estate professional in Albany, N.Y. “The younger generation in particular would much rather spend their time entertaining at home than fussing over it.” It’s safe to assume boomers feel the same.
- •Build a Home for ‘the Ages’By 2040, there are expected to be almost 80 million seniors accounting for 21 percent of the population. The existing housing stock isn’t equipped to safely accommodate that many older people—too many steep staircases, narrow walker-unfriendly doorways, and slippery step-in bathtubs and showers. Forward-thinking homeowners are making necessary improvements to their home now—and those changes will benefit people of all ages, not just seniors.
- •Paint Is Still a Potent UpgradePaint keeps your home looking its best while also defending its surfaces from wear, tear, and the elements. If you’re getting ready to sell, don’t blow thousands having every square inch repainted. Instead, focus on high-traffic areas, including the kitchen and bathrooms. “Your home has to look better on the day of the open house than it’s ever looked before,” says Steve Clark, a real estate professional in Los Angeles.
- •Remember the Great OutdoorsYour home’s property is another opportunity to expand its living space. Adding a deck or patio, with room for seating and a built-in or freestanding grill, is a way to create a defined space for outdoor living on a large or small scale. But remember the rule of low upkeep, especially if your future buyer is likely to be a millennial. “They love outdoor spaces, but whereas prior generations might have gone for the pool, Gen Yers recognize the maintenance costs associated with it,” Berger says.
- •Make Sure Your New Technology Is SmartHigh-tech features offer notoriously bad returns on investment because technologies tend to evolve quickly. “One of the biggest losers in recent years is the fully wired audiovisual system,” says Duo Dickinson, an architect based in the New Haven, Conn., area. “They’ve probably lost 80 percent of their value since everything went wireless.” But certain smart devices add to home value and interest, including programmable thermostats.