Tips for Increasing a Home's Property Value

March 19, 2015

With the Spring selling season in full swing, now is the time for your clients to start making changes to improve their home's comfort level and the way it functions to make it more appealing to potential buyers.

Where should they start? Peter Chovanes, a REALTOR® with Van Guard Properties in San Francisco, advises that clients start with the four home improvement basics: foundation, roof, plumbing, and electrical.  Of these the roof is the most important. "I am almost always asked 'How old is the roof?'" he says. "And keeping the roof in good shape alleviates other problems; for example, water can run laterally and once a leak starts it can follow plumbing and even electrical conduits. So what you think is a plumbing leak might really be a hole in the roof."

  • Repair: First take a good look at the state of the home, inside and out. Fix the obvious areas that need maintenance.
  • De-clutter: Find ways to store odds-and-ends in containers and cabinets or donate belongings to charity.
  • Lighten up: Brighter, light-filled rooms are more appealing and make a house feel more spacious. Consider replacing heavy drapes with shutters, shades, or blinds.
  • Add eco value: Replace old windows with energy-efficient versions to reduce home energy costs and add value.
  • Update: Water heaters, furnaces, and toilets are also good to update for energy and water conservation but probably will not add significantly to the home's value.
  • Refinish: If wood floors are looking tired, refinish them. Replace worn carpeting where possible.
  • Kitchen clean-up: The kitchen is an obvious focal point for buyers. Consider a light upgrade in the kitchen, by replacing the sink or replacing cabinets. If you are planning to replace counters try solid surface quartz-based materials, which have become the popular alternative to granite.
  • Better bathrooms: Bathrooms are typically less expensive to remodel than kitchens so there is more potential for a return on the investment. Buyers frequently request double vanities and a walk-in shower so consider upgrading accordingly.
  • Remodel: It is usually more cost-effective to remodel attics and basements than to add entirely new rooms.
  • Spruce up: Add curb appeal by weeding and sprucing up the garden with low maintenance, drought-tolerant plantings -- also called xeriscaping. Giving the front door a new coat of paint is a low cost way to add curb appeal.