Four Projects That Will Add Value to Your Home

Updated 09/17/2015 @ 8:30pm
One of the best reasons to work on projects that add value to your home: in the event you sell your home you have increased the resell value. ABC’s Real Money teamed up with HGTV to give you pointers on getting the most value out of your home when it is time to sell.

Looking to put your house on the market? One of the greatest worries on your mind may be about getting the most value from your home, as it is for some many embarking on the real estate journey. You may be feeling a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of projects that could be tackled in an outdated or well-lived-in home. Worry not, there are certain projects will translate to better overall impressions of your home, and ultimately lead to a higher valuation. If you’re looking to be effective with your time and money, try one of these:

curb appeal, home improvement
Update curb appeal to effectively increase your home’s instant like-ability factor.

Curb Appeal


When a visitor pulls up to your home, the first thing they see is the yard. It’s a no-brainer, right? Updating landscaping and the general appearance of the house will create a positive impression even before they step in the front door. Curb appeal is often underestimated, but can pack quite a punch. Don’t worry, these updates don’t have to be costly; a nicely trimmed yard, fresh flowers and mulch, and a clean coat of paint on fences or trim will make a world of difference.


Renovate Bathrooms


A clean and inviting bathroom is a huge selling point in the real estate world. Potential buyers are likely to be put off by grimy, outdated fixtures or questionable plumbing situations. If the space is decently designed, make sure that every surface is squeaky clean. It’s always a bonus if you can incorporate green design techniques in the remodeling process of your bathroom. Even if updating your restrooms requires a larger renovation than you’d hoped, remember that it’s a relatively small percentage of the home that will have a large impact on overall impression and the price that someone is willing to pay for your home. 


Renovate THE Kitchen


So often these days the kitchen is the center of the home. Accordingly, real estate agents and buyers alike will be expecting to see a well designed and well maintained kitchen space if you’re going to be paid top dollar for your house. Even if you can’t afford a full-scale remodel, simple things like new appliances, updating tired paint choices or refinishing cabinets will all be nods in the right direction. As with the bathroom, clean the kitchen to within an inch of it’s life to ensure visitors aren’t put off by the accumulated grime.


Upgrade HVAC


Heating and air conditioning problems can be deal breakers for many potential buyers. Let’s be honest, we enjoy our creature comforts, and HVAC systems are wonderful things, not to mention extremely necessary in many parts of the country. If the existing HVAC system is old and tired, installing an updated system will not only ensure reliability for the new owners, but may appeal to a larger group of potential buyers if you select energy efficient units that will help save on utility bills. Opting for environmentally friendly products for HVAC replacement is rarely if ever a bad choice!


Things to Consider Before Hiring a Contractor


At some point in everyone’s life, home improvement becomes necessary. Whether it’s as simple as giving your bathroom a light makeover or as drastic as completely changing the layout of your home, many projects or homeowners will require the help of a contractor to complete some or all or the work. Unfortunately, not all contractors are created equal. Before you recruit your second cousin’s best friend or the first contractor listed in the phonebook, here are some important questions to ask and points to consider.

Consider the source of your referral.

I know that you love your neighbor’s new countertops, but pause before hiring based solely on their recommendation. Find out who the pros recommend! If you have a skilled laborer who you use and trust, ask them for a recommendation. It’s likely they’ve worked with many a contractor and have insider insight into their business practices and standards. It’s beneficial to make your decision based on real life observations, not just a contractor’s squeaky-clean website and snazzy marketing campaigns. As a side note, take online reviews with a grain of salt… some less than scrupulous companies may pick and choose which reviews to display, leaving out some that may raise a red flag. You can always consort the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List to view multiple recommendations for your area.

You’ve done this before, right?

Okay, there are definitely some important things to know about any potential contractor you’re looking to hire. Is he experienced? Ask about how many years they have been in business and what type of projects they usually take on. Hiring a bathroom guy to redo your kitchen may not end up so well. A good contractor should be able to present examples of their completed work, and even references. If you’re going to talk to past clients, make sure you call more than one to get a more rounded view of their abilities and practices from a former customer’s perspective.

roof repair

Licensing can matter.

Not all states require contractors to be licensed. Just as in any area of life, there will be a plethora of good and not-so-good contractors, licensed or unlicensed. If they do have a license, check to make sure it’s current! Consider the work and studying that go into the licensing process. It may be tempting to hire an unlicensed contractor for many reasons; he’s offering a cheaper price, a faster timeline, of maybe he’s just got a great smile. Construction is a science; some contractors may not practice all the nitty-gritty details of a job that are required to maintain safety and ultimately soundness of your completed project. Do your research and be knowledgeable about what a contractor is capable of.

Insurance matters, too!

Say an accident occurs while work is being done on your project, and the contractor, licensed or unlicensed, doesn’t have and insurance? You might be liable. Not double-checking that your contractor is properly insured may saddle you with costly medical treatments or legal disputes. General liability insurance will also protect you from any accidental damage that occurs during the course of the project.

Where’s my warranty?

Did you even know that was a thing? Just like you can have a warranty on your car or a new kitchen appliance, a good contractor can give you a warranty on the work that is being completed.

Educate yourself about requirements and expectations.

How early will they be starting in the morning and what time will they finally finish up at night? Know about city laws that may restrict the hours of noisy construction. What is the projected timeline, and what are you expected to do to get things completed? This may involve being absent for certain portions of the project or even something as drastic as relocating for several days. What about city permissions? Permits may be obtained by the contractor, but not necessarily. Make sure you communicate about who is responsible for these important city-granted permissions so that construction isn’t inconveniently postponed.

Construction and remodeling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Making sure you’ve got a knowledgeable and responsible team in charge will keep your project running smoothly, and help you weather the bumps and snags that will inevitably occur. Happy contractor hunting!