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What are the Top Home Improvements to Improve Resale Value?

Certain home features are very desirable to buyers and there are specific improvements for which they are willing to pay a premium.
Monday, 29 July 2013

home improvementsPerhaps you've attempted to sell your home over the past few years and you know how hard it's been to get offers that come close to your asking price. Fortunately, if you live in certain areas of the country the buyer's market of the past is quickly becoming a seller's market, but buyers are still just a picky as ever. Even as bidding wars are breaking out in some areas, it can still be difficult to fetch the right price. But if your home has what buyers are looking for, you might even get more than your asking price.

According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, certain home features are very desirable to buyers and there are certain improvements for which buyers are willing to pay a premium. Many of these features are focused on the kitchen and bathrooms while others are all about "curb appeal." Of course, there will always be the neighborhood-related features, such as the school district, safety, proximity to major highways and ease of commute to the nearest major city. But some of these features may be a worthwhile investment if you are looking to improve resale value.

As the real estate market recovers and there are more properties to choose from, shoppers want homes that are move-in ready and free of the need for home improvement projects that will add to their own bottom lines. The real estate blog on AOL.com published a popular article on this topic called "Top 10 Home Improvements That Pay You Back." Here are some of their recommendations for making sound investments in your home.

Front entry doors: We all know how important it is to have "curb appeal," especially in a competitive real estate market. Installing a high-quality entry door is one of the simplest improvements and it delivers the right impression, both in online listings and when potential buyers drive by. Other benefits of new entry doors include lower energy costs in extreme weather.

Decks: One of the least expensive ways to add value to your living space is by adding a deck. Whenever possible, use composite decking material that is made from recycled plastic. This low-maintenance option won't warp or fade and it never needs to be stained and refinished. Even a deck made from pressure-treated lumber will nearly pay for itself at the time of sale.

New Siding: What is one of the biggest contributors to curb appeal? A clean and well-coordinated exterior takes one of the biggest home improvement worries off a buyer's mind, plus it creates a protective, eye-catching finish. For a long-lasting designer look with plenty of room for customization, consider James Hardie fiber cement siding. Or, for less than the cost of replacing siding, consider some easy-to-install decorative trim elements.

Kitchen: The kitchen is a major selling point for a home, and its appearance and layout can often be a deal-breaker. But sprucing up your kitchen doesn't have to be a huge investment. It is possible to replace just the countertops and key appliances, or get the cabinets refaced. The good news is that most of the money spent on a new kitchen will be recouped at the time of sale.

Basement: Make the most of this bonus space by finishing it for use as an apartment, office or entertainment zone ─ more great ways to appeal to multi-generational households.

Windows: Installing replacement windows is a pre-sale home improvement that is a win for everyone; the seller earns valuable energy tax credits and the buyer enjoys lower home energy bills. Buyers always seem to appreciate when new; better windows have been put in.

Bathroom: Along with kitchens, bathrooms get a lot of use. This means they tend to age quickly. But if you plan to redo your bathroom, neutralize potential design objections by replacing the vanity, installing efficient fixtures and choosing hardware that facilitates easy access for all.

Backup power generator: Our country's aging electrical grid has recently left thousands of homeowners without power for several days at a time. As a result, many homeowners have invested in a neat compact back-up power generator that sits outside next to the AC unit. Generators like these can repower a home within seconds of losing electricity from the supplier.

If you live in a competitive real estate market where prices are still sluggish, it may be worthwhile making a few of these important home improvements. Find out first what potential buyers are looking for and determine what you can realistically afford.

Photo Courtesy of Kookkai_nak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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