Homeowners have a lot of responsibilities to juggle, especially if they plan to sell their house in the near future. If that’s you, these 3 great tips for improving your home’s look, feel, and value!
If this is the case, homeowners must look over their house and its front and back lawns for problems, and address them to make that property look its best on the market.
This is where remodeling and landscaping can come in, not to mention more mundane work such as plumbing repair or fixing damage to the drywall.
So, what are some common avenues for improving your home’s appeal and value? And what about the property’s lawn? Also, is it worth it to invest in solar panels?
Not unlike cars, houses may not need that much care early in their lives, but an older one is going to need regular inspections and care to stay in good shape. In particular, a house that is under 10 years old will need little maintenance, but a house aged 10 to 20 years is going to need a bit more care, and houses aged 20 to 30 years will need significant work, such as repairs for the roof (or total roof replacement).
No part of a house should be taken for granted; nearly anything can get worn out, damaged, warped, or moldy, and a new homeowner might be taken by surprise. But not if they know what to look for.
It should be mentioned that landlords and other real estate investors should do this too, and often, they must keep track of multiple properties. Some 84% of surveyed real estate investors said that they plan to invest in another property, and every property under their belt is going to need inspections and care, no matter what.
So, what to fix?
Improving your home’s HVAC system is a fine place to start, seeing how 90% of all American homes are built with heating and cooling utilities installed. A fairly new HVAC system may not need much work, but if the system is getting older, problems may arise, often through sheer dirtiness.
Dust, pollen, spider webs, and more can cake onto the blower fans deep in the system, which will lower those fans’ output and weaken the entire system. As a result, the fans have to blow harder and for a longer time period to meet the house’s cooling or heating needs, and that is going to use up expensive electricity. The air ducts themselves can get clogged with dirt or bacteria, thus lowering the home’s air quality, and the system may suffer mechanical damage, such as blower fans shorting out or air ducts falling apart and thus leaking air.
So, HVAC repair crews must be hired to clean up and fix any compromised part of the system and make it clean, powerful, and cost-efficient once again. A very old HVAC system, such as one that’s over 20 years old, should be replaced entirely.
Another issue may lie with the windows and doors.
Old, shabby windows and doors are fragile and warped, and they don’t fit well in their frames. As a result, they allow for a lot of air drafts, which disrupt the home’s climate control and thus for the HVAC system to work overtime (that drives up the electric bill).
Old windows and doors are easy for burglars to break into, making them a security problem, and such hardware simply looks ugly, which will make a bad impression on people visiting the home while it’s on the market. Window and door replacement companies can be hired to help, and tough, attractive new windows and doors can be fitted in to fix all these issues. This is not a DIY project, however, experts must be called in.
Don’t forget spray foam insulation, either. This is another vital component toward improving your home’s energy-efficiency. Spray foam in the walls and in the attic will prevent warm air from escaping in winter, and contain cool air in summer.
If the spray foam is thin or missing, the homeowner can buy the right spray foam chemicals and equipment to add more material. Or, if need be, they can hire a professional to apply as much spray foam as needed. Draft-free windows and roofs help with climate control, but that won’t mean much if the walls themselves are leaking warmth.
On a final note, the homeowner can and should replace damaged drywall (and optionally add an access hatch), fix or replace leaking pipes, exchange old toilets or sinks for modern, low-flow models, refinish old floorboards, fix a leaky roof, and replace old siding with vinyl, which is inexpensive and easy to install.
By now, the house itself is in good shape, but let’s not forget about the lawns around it. Why care about improving your home’s lawn?
Many Americans love to spend time in their lawns, and even if the current homeowner doesn’t do this, a prospective buyer may want to find a property with nice lawns. That, and an attractive and well-kept front lawn makes an excellent first impression on buyers. First impressions count for a lot, even for a house, so it’s time for some landscaping.
During late winter and early spring, though, the current homeowner should watch out for a particular hazard: melting snow and the resulting moisture. As the temperatures gets between 30 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, snow begins melting rapidly, which can result in snow mold. Shady and depressed areas, such as under trees, may suffer this problem quite acutely.
Winter may seem like an odd time for improving your home’s landscaping, but many plants are ideal for this time of year. For example, certain trees such as evergreens can make a lawn look nice at any time of year, and coral bark Japanese maple or Japanese flowering cherry can add some serious color to a lawn.
Winter shrubs, such as holly, for example, is another fine way to fill out a front lawn during the winter months, not to mention winterberry hollies. As a bonus, these holly bushes provide food for any birds in the area, which can make the lawn look even better to a guest if they see birds. The lawn can look alive even if there are a few inches of snow on the ground.
Finally, take note that statistically speaking, investing just 5% of a property’s value in landscaping can yield an ROI (return on investment) as high as 150%.
For homeowners who live in reliably sunny areas, having solar panels installed on the property can be quite appealing. Solar panel technology dates back to the 1970s, but only recently did this tech become highly economically competitive.
A homeowner may look up and hire local solar panel companies who can affix brackets onto the home’s roof then install the panels themselves and set up all of the wirings for the house.
If your roof is showing signs of damage or hasn’t been replaced in over 20 years, it may be a good idea to replace your roof before you pursue solar panel installation. Once professionals look over the setup and approve it, the home is disconnected from the public utility, and the solar panel activates.
These panels can pay for themselves in the long run due to an absent electric bill, and for nighttime or cloudy days, a solar panel system will have a battery that takes over. These batteries are charged with the solar panels during sunny weather, so the panel array has no blind spots.
As a bonus, having solar panels installed allows a home to join the “go green” initiative, which may appeal greatly to various home buyers. And this slice of the energy sector is bigger than ever; by now, some 1.3 million solar installations can be found across the U.S., and that makes for a cumulative capacity of 40 gigawatts. Given how just one megawatt can power 164 homes, 40 gigawatts is enough to power 6.5 million homes.
Preparing a property for the real estate market will no doubt take some work. The average American home is almost 2,500 square feet, giving you a lot of ground to cover. However, the homeowner can remember that such investment is essential so that the property both looks and functions its best.
A good first impression draws in a buyer, and high-quality hardware will sweeten the deal, and a property that can sustain itself for the foreseeable future is even more appealing.
A typical homebuyer wants to purchase a property that is already all prepared for them; it falls to the seller to make renovations, and a buyer will expect that to be the case.
So, if that property is energy-efficient, has a nice lawn, has no leaks or drafts, and is environmentally friendly, it can have a competitive edge on the market for sure.