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Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Add Value to Your Home in an Up Market

12-13-2012

The Portland real estate market is appreciating so here are ten ways to increase the value of your home. Some will be easy and some more complicated but use your budget accordingly to gain the highest dollar value sale.

1. Clean and Declutter. Increase your homes inside square footage ... visually that is. You would be surprised at how often this is overlooked. I always tell my clients to pack first and commit to the sale. Removing the wall of family photos, the collections of horses or pigs or cows, and the extra furniture will go along ways towards giving it a larger cleaner look and feel.

2. Curb Appeal. You cannot sell a house if someone drives by and doesn't want to come in. You want to entice people to come inside. Buying a house is an experience, from seeing it online, to pulling up to the home and being excited about it, to going inside and falling in love. Curb appeal is paramount. It starts with a clean look to the siding and roof making sure it's well painted and kept up well. Even a new front door will add tremendous value. Then comes the landscaping, make sure to keep the grass manicured and edged along with bushes and trees. Replace your thick lumpy patch of different grasses with some new sod. Purchase flowers to give the entry some color. Make sure there are no weeds or pooling water. Power wash a dirty driveway, fix any concrete cracks. Add barkdust for freshness, color and maintenance.

Curb appeal is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve the value of a home and get it sold.

3. Kitchen, kitchen, kitchen. Did I say kitchen? Yes a new kitchen will not only add a tremendous value to your home but it will make the sale. My buyers look at a kitchen that needs to be replaced and put a $50,000 price tag to remodelling the kitchen without even thinking. A nice new kitchen could cost you $25,000, but you will be able to get $50,000 from the sale. Buyers don't have the tolerance or cash to fix a kitchen but they do have the ability to finance another $50,000 of value at these low 3.5% interest rates on their home loan. It's a win-win. Not only will you have a new kitchen to enjoy but when you sell it will sell faster and at a higher dollar value.

Here are some recommendations on what sells well right now in Portland as it relates to kitchens : tall ceiling cabinets, slab granite counters, undermount sinks, push button garbage disposal, filtered water and ice, oil rubbed bronze fixtures or brushed nickel depending on colors, stainless steel appliances, an island or extended usable countertops for a bar, large pantry, functional sink, oven and dishwasher locations, and depending on floor plan create openness to the main area.

4. Home Inspection. Get a home inspection prior to selling. This is often overlooked or not considered since it's the buyer's responsibility to do their due diligence and hire a home inspector. If you purchase a home inspection before a sale not only will you know everything that needs to be corrected so you can tackle the list but if the home does not need much structurally then you can use that home inspection as leverage for the negotiation. It might cost you $300-500 for the home inspection but if you know the home's quality than it eliminates thousands of dollars of negotiations later and can give the home inspection directly to the buyer so they don't have to pay for it. If the buyer pays for a home inspection they will want to get that value back and ask for repair items which are usually far more than the cost of the home inspection. If there is a major concern like dry rot you can tackle the issue first on your schedule without all the stress and hassle and you know it will not be a deal killer.

5. Paint. Paint the eye sores. Paint does wonders to a home sale. It can completely transform the look and feel of an area or room. Stick to neutral colors or earth tones if you are unsure. Paint is an easy and cheap way to give a room a fresh and new feel to an old and faded house. Did you ever see one of your friends paint their kids room pink? That's a good room to paint.

6. Flooring. New floors add to the buyer's sensory experience while they are viewing your home. Make sure not to overfloor; be smart. If you live in a low end spec development where everyone's home has carpet don't put in a new $20,000 oak floor. Instead upgrade to a laminate floor to save thousands while still giving the home an upgrade and newness. If you like carpet keep it in the bedrooms or a family room but keep it out of the kitchen, bathrooms, and entry way.

7. Bathrooms. Small changes are great. For an inexpensive update you could take out the old wall paper and repaint, with new electrical outlets. For a bit more add the framed mirror and new modern light fixtures and new faucet fixtures for both sink and bath. You could also paint the tub/shower and redo the floors from carpet to tile for even more of a wow factor.

8. Fixtures and Electrical Outlets. Change old outdated gold fixtures for nicer oil rubbed bronze fixtures. From faucets, to bathroom lights to ceiling fans, to bedroom lights. These little items will not cost much and definitely get their value in return. Change old outdated electrical face plate covers and outlets. It takes hardly any time and costs very little.

9. Energy efficiency. Add a tankless water heater. Not only does it minimize the space and save the space and look of a big 50 gallon eye sore but it only heats the water when the hot water is called. Also one perk is that it never runs out of hot water. If you need to replace a furnace or other electrical or gas devices go for the energy efficient ones.

10. Add lighting and Windows. Adding lighting can help to brighten up a dark room and make the space feel bigger and more comfortable. If you have one of those old fluorescent lights in the kitchen rip it out and install 4-10 recessed can lights. It will be flush with the ceiling creating more space and shine brightly highlighting your kitchen appliances and countertops. As for windows bring the outside in by adding a big picture window in place of two smaller windows or cutting out an old sliding glass door for a new bigger one. The addition of any new windows over the old metal or wood windows will also make your home more energy efficient saving money on your heating bill. This will add value for the next homeowner and command you a higher value on your home.



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