5 Home Improvement Projects That Can Add Value to Your Property

There are always projects. Big things, small things — projects waiting in the wings for when you have a free weekend or have saved up enough money to hire a professional to complete them.

Maybe you imagine new cabinets or counter tops every time you walk through your kitchen. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of having the front porch replaced. Maybe you’ve been saving your pennies until the day that you can afford to install an air conditioning unit so you won’t feel like a roasted goose every day during the summer.

With the economy where it is, though, it’s tough to justify spending the money on things you don’t definitely need…until you want to sell your home.

The housing market might look like it is on the road to recovery, but it is still tough going out there. Selling a house is a time-consuming and often expensive process. If you don’t want your home to sit on the market for months or even years, you need to make sure it is up to date and as valuable as possible. Often this means spending some money.

Here are just a few of the projects that are worth their cost.

1. New and Updated HVAC Systems

Your home might already have an HVAC system installed, but is it up to date? Is it energy efficient? If the answer to either of those questions is “no,” you should definitely explore the idea of having that system updated. Having an up-to-date and energy-efficient HVAC system means that you can elevate (and often get) your asking price because it is one less thing a new owner will have to work on or update once he gets moved in.

2. Update Your Kitchen

The fancier your kitchen, the more valuable your home. Stainless steel and energy-efficient appliances, granite counter tops, updated cabinetry…go nuts! This is worth doing even if you don’t plan on selling your home any time soon. Admit it–don’t you want a refrigerator that will help you keep track of the freshness of your vegetables and that can connect to the Internet?

Even if you don’t care about your refrigerator’s web browsing capabilities, there are a lot of great ways that you can update your kitchen. Cooking aficionados agree that gas ranges are better for cooking than electric ranges. If you don’t have gas hooked up to your kitchen, have it installed.

It’s also worth redoing the floors in your kitchen. Cork flooring is a fantastic flooring material for rooms like kitchens, where lots of standing happens (and it is better for the environment because the harvesting of cork is actually good for the trees).

3. Smart Security System

Even just a basic home security system will add value to your home, but why stop there? Why not go for one of those newfangled security systems that has wireless surveillance, allows for keyless entry to your home, can communicate with your smart phone, and can even monitor your home’s energy usage and adjust the flow of power to coordinate with your family’s schedule?

Imagine being able to push a button on your key fob and have your door unlocked by the time you reach it. Or imagine hearing a strange sound outside and being able to push that same button to have all of your doors and windows lock instantly and immediately (or even set off the panic function on your security alarm).

You can also set up these systems to send an alert to your smart phone (even if you are miles away) when something trips a sensor. If you’ve got video surveillance installed, you can tap into the feed and see what’s happening to determine whether or not you need to call the police.

Who wouldn’t pay a little bit extra for a home that is that secure?

4. Finish Your Attics and Basements

Finished attic and basement space adds quite a lot of value to your home because that is space that you (or future owners) can use safely. It adds square footage to your home. Who doesn’t want to have more usable space in their home?

In this case, finishing doesn’t just mean carpeting and drywall. It means making sure that your attic and basement spaces are properly insulated and weather-proofed. It means running your heating and cooling systems to those rooms as well and ensuring that they have adequate wiring and power supplies.

5. Your Yard

Don’t forget about the rest of your property. The value of your home doesn’t start and stop with your house itself. Having a properly maintained yard is important. Hire professionals to ensure that your drainage systems are up to code and well constructed. Make sure that lines going into and out of the house (electric, internet, sewer, etc.) are all in working order and holding up well.

Then make sure that your property is beautifully landscaped. Use compost instead of fertilizer and rainwater instead of municipal water to help your gardens and lawns grow as fully and beautifully as possible.

It’s true that buyers might decide to completely redo your work when they take possession of the property, but in the meantime, having beautiful property makes a good impression on potential buyers and adds some value to the property itself.

These are just five things that you and your family can do to raise the property value of your home and yards. There are other things that you can do, of course, but these are the best places to start.

Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon, who has written about, among other things, Billfloat, reputation management, and home improvement.

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