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Five Tips To Improving Your Home's Value



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Are you one of thousands of Americans who are thinking about improving your current home or buying a "fixer-upper" home? Before you take the leap, here are five things you should know before you start spending your money.

1) Life Style Home Improvements such as kitchen and bathrooms consistently impact a home’s value for the better. As a result, these are always your best investment. Fans of TV home improvement shows have been trained to expect the best; so not only are life style improvements a good investment, but they will help your home’s value increase. Other lifestyle improvements include master bedroom suite, media rooms and today’s trendy "outdoor rooms".

2) Maintenance improvements are necessary, but don’t expect the value of your home to go up as a result. Buyers expect systems and maintenance to be adequate and up to date. Exterior paint jobs may help increase the “curb appeal” of your house, but since maintenance is a part of home ownership, don’t expect a $5000 paint job to translate into $5000 more in home value. But do note failure to maintain your property will make the value go down by the cost it will take to repair the damage or implement necessary maintenance. Think of maintenance improvements as a way to protect your home’s value from going down.

3) Cosmetic improvements have a neutral effect on a home’s value. Jobs like wall paper stripping or painting are improvements most homeowners can do themselves, so the perception of their value is less. Jobs such as repainting on the interior will have less impact on the value of your home. If you can, try to do most cosmetics yourself and build sweat equity instead of paying someone else to do the work.

4) Beware over improving, especially if you plan to sell within 2-5 years, you may want to approach all improvements cautiously. Before you commit to any big projects, understand whether a three car garage or a pool is out of character for your neighborhood— you may be consigning your house to an oddity status. If your house is improved beyond all the neighborhood that surrounds it, it is likely that the value of your home won’t be realized when it comes time to sell.

5) Stay Informed. Keep up with home values. Realtors use home sales information on comparable sales (comps) to put a value on a home. The best way to assess value is to look at home sales of properties that are similar to yours. If you know 15 Hedge Lane sold for $325,000 with a new kitchen, you can get an idea of your home’s value with a new kitchen if your home is comparable to 15 Hedge Lane. Looking at comps gives you the best idea of your home’s value. You can look at exact home sale prices online and keep track of values in your neighborhood by visiting Web sites like or http://www.domania.com.

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About The Author - Domania

The editorial staff of Domania lives and breathes home values. Find more advice and real estate tools at www.domania.com

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