For a homeowner, the value of their house will always be one of the chief concerns regarding their property. The family home is often the highest value asset that the husband and wife will hold during their lifetime. Maintaining the good condition of your home is pivotal to its value, but for many, simply maintaining the home is not enough. Some will take a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach. Others will contract the work out and have a professional handle the job. Whatever method you choose, there are certain additions and improvements that add more value to your home than others – and some that might even harm your home’s value.   

The Do’s:

  • Re-Painting and Re-Carpeting. These are two areas that often take a backseat on general home upkeep, but they can have a big impact on re-sale value. Touch up painted areas for a fresh look and consider potential spaces in your home that could use a full re-paint. Carpet in main areas – and especially areas where children are most present – often needs more than just a professional cleaning. Old, dirty carpet will instantly devalue your home. Fresh carpet can make an entire room look brand new and will check off a box for homebuyers, who typically look to replace carpet if it is not new or relatively new.
  • Windows. This is another aspect of the house that a novice homeowner may take for granted. Quality windows not only have a noticeably better appearance, they also provide excellent value for energy efficiency. Fitting your home with energy efficient windows increase future value, and also saves you money on your energy bill while you still occupy the home. New windows show others that you have invested in your property.
  • Deck and/or Patio Area. In the Midwest, you have a number of options you can pursue here. You may lay some concrete for outdoor furniture and a grill. This gives you an outdoor space to host guests and is easy to maintain. Others will elect to build a desk – whether enclosed or open air. An open air deck is great for late summer and fall nights, while an enclosed area could allow for a four-seasons room. This type of addition helps set your home apart from other run-of-the-mill houses and gives you a space where potential buyers will envision themselves spending lots of time.
  • Bathroom Re-Model. Often times, the bathroom may be a neglected area for re-modeling. Even many of the nicest homes in your neighborhood have that basement bathroom that is not often used and therefore goes unattended. A new or re-modeled bathroom provides a good value increase, and the re-model does not require extravagant measures. Typically, folks are just looking for good quality and cleanliness, rather than super intricate tile or wall-to-wall mirrors. A fresh floor, a durable counter, and fashionable cabinets will do the trick.

The Do Not’s:

  • Over-the-Top Landscaping. Make no mistake – a well kept lawn is essential to a home’s curb appeal and general appearance. Patchy grass and weedy mulched areas are an instant turn-off, though easily fixable. However, your lawn probably does not need a koi pond and life-sized bronze statue of you doing the Heisman Trophy pose. Keep in mind that massive and elaborate landscaping may look fantastic, but it doesn’t always equate to increased value. In fact, many potential buyers will look at the landscaping as a massive undertaking in terms of upkeep (in both time and money). Thick, green grass, full trees and shrubbery, and even a nice but modest garden can go a long way.
  • Swimming Pool. This applies to both above-ground and in-ground pools. Some statistics show that homebuyers find an above-ground pool to be distasteful. Although they are removable, there are costs associated with the removal, including the barren area where the pool used to sit. In-ground pools require great expense and upkeep, which turns away many potential suitors. Pools can be great fun for friends and family alike, and if the joy of a perfectly executed cannonball is too much for you, then so be it. Just remember that putting in a pool is a massive expense that you are unlikely to recoup at the time of resale.
  • A Brand New Garage. There is an important distinction here. Statistics show that replacing an old garage door will have energy and efficiency benefits like those discussed when replacing windows. However, the return on investment for a new build may not measure up to other home improvements. If your house has no garage, this may present a challenge. Many potential buyers will be turned-off by the absence of a garage and that could tempt the current owner to build. It is important for a house to have a garage – you just don’t want to be the owner eating the loss to have it put in. The bulk of the benefit is received by the future owners unless you occupy the home for an extended period of time.

Need help assessing the value of a property for a transaction? Wondering how you can increase the value of a particular property as you contemplate a transaction? Contact Goosmann Law Firm’s offices in Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Omaha to learn how we can help!


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