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What can I do to improve the resale value of my home?

Many times home owners ask real estate agents what improvements they can make that will add value to their home when it comes time to sell. Given that the average American moves every 4 years, it is important to think about increasing the resale value of a house.

There are 5 key areas to look at when adding value to a home: kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, landscaping and structural improvements.

The most valuable home improvements include kitchen and bathroom remodels. Updates in these areas are the number one requirement of most buyers. Not all updates have to be expensive, for older houses, a coat of paint, new hardware, and new countertops make a big difference. For newer houses, upgraded countertops and lighting, custom backsplashes and modern appliances can make your home a stand out.

Next, consider the flooring. Replace vinyl with tile. Replace carpet in high traffic areas with tile or hardwood floors. Wood flooring can easily be repaired or looking fresh with buffing and refinishing. Always replace worn or nasty carpet, but don™t spend too much, get a nice pad, so that you can lift and replace just the carpet in 5 years.

The landscape is an often overlooked item. If the yard is all rock or lawn consider adding a few perennial planting beds. Put in a simple drip system and plant a tree or two and in a few years you can have some nice shade. Landscaping doesn™t have to be elaborate, but it needs to be something.

Consider improving more structural items like increasing the overall square footage. Examples include adding an additional bathroom, bedroom or sunroom. Think about renovating a carport to a garage, building a covered patio or adding a deck. Simply replacing old windows and sliding glass doors can add value to a home.Finally, over-improving a home can be a bad investment when it comes to resale.

For example, a home in a neighborhood with $250,000 homes doesn™t necessarily increase in value because it has lead-crystal chandeliers or a 6-car garage. Even if the home is œworth $350,000, buyers looking to purchase a $350,000 home want to buy in a neighborhood with comparably priced homes. Values are determined not only by the condition of the home but also the value and type of houses which surround it.

Your goal when the time comes to sell your home is to make it look better than the competition without overspending for the area.

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