How to Increase Your Home Value

Joseph Darby

10 upgrades to improve the value of your home

Buying a house can be a great investment, though nobody can control how the ebb and flow of the property market might impact your property value. One surefire way to grow value is to increase it yourself! That means exploring which renovations and upgrades are worth the time and effort.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to fight the temptation of losing yourself in a sea of home improvement dreams, and instead try and rationally evaluate which pursuits come with the highest return on investment (ROI). That should mean you not only improve your space for you and your family, but for potential future buyers as well.

Whether you buy a brand-new home or one that’s already been lived in, there are always upgrades and renovations you can take on to improve the space.

From a simple fresh coat of paint to a full kitchen renovation, here are 10 projects that will help to increase your property’s value and add comfort and convenience to your life as a homeowner.

1. Smart Home Automation

Smart home devices are becoming increasingly popular, helping to boost home values and add new appeal for prospective buyers. Some of the most in-demand smart home upgrades are:

• Smart thermostats

• Smart home security systems like doorbell cameras

• Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

• Smart lighting

2. Remodel the Kitchen

Kitchen upgrades, whether major or minor, are a great way to increase the value of your home.

Minor kitchen upgrades include small projects such as:

• Putting in a new backsplash

• Refinishing cabinets

• Updating light fixtures

• Adding an island bench

• Increasing storage space

• Upgrading faucets

Major kitchen renovations include:

• New cabinetry and countertops

• Installing wood, laminate, or tile flooring

• Adding windows or doors

• Upgrading to high-end appliances

• Adding seating, dining, storage, or cooking space

When considering a kitchen upgrade, remember to stick within your budget and keep the space functional and relevant to the rest of the property. For example, if you live in a character home with plenty of old-fashioned charm, a modern restaurant-style kitchen with industrial appliances might feel out of place and could be a turn-off for prospective buyers.

Remember it is about return on investment. It may be tempting to put in marble benches or the most expensive taps, but you need to prioritize upgrades that generate the greatest ROI.

3. Landscaping

Landscaping your property also adds to curb appeal and makes your home look more enticing. Potential landscaping projects include:

• Reseeding or resodding your lawn

• Weeding flower beds and planters

• Adding or removing hanging baskets, flower beds, or planters

• Planting trees

• Replacing old mulch

• Removing dead trees and bushes

Many of these projects are low-cost and have the added benefit of being DIY-friendly, meaning you won’t have to pay a professional to do them for you.

4. Bathroom Upgrades

Bathroom remodels are another popular way to increase your home’s value and make it more appealing to future homebuyers.

Depending on your bathroom renovation budget, you can explore a variety of potential projects, including:

• Installing new sinks, tubs, showers, or toilets

• Painting, retiling, and reflooring

• Adding storage space

• Putting in a vanity or mirror

• Upgrading lighting

Another option is to add a bathroom or ensuite to your home, especially if you only have one to begin with. Homes with multiple bathrooms are a hot commodity in the real estate market, and you’ll likely appreciate the convenience as well.

Popular ways to add a bathroom include adding an ensuite to a master bedroom or turning a closet or other under-stair space into a half-bathroom on the main floor.

5. Transform an Unused Space

Many homes come with extra, unfinished space that’s just waiting to be used, such as attics, underfloor space, or cupboards under the stairs.

As a homeowner, leaving that space untouched just means you have square metreage you aren’t taking advantage of. Making the most of those unused rooms will increase your living space and make your home appealing to potential homebuyers.

Plus, it’s typically much less expensive than adding additional floor space to your home, and can usually be done without a costly and time-consuming resource consent.

Some projects to explore include turning an unused space into a:

• Playroom

• Game room

• Home gym

• Home office

• Movie room / second living room

• Library or study

• Guest bedroom

• Sleepout

6. Add Outdoor Functionality

Projects that make your outdoor space more accessible and functional also increase home value. Decks and patios can have a great ROI, as potential buyers are attracted to the lifestyle appeal.

If you already have a deck or patio, waterblast it and refinish it if necessary. Repair or replace any old, rotting boards or broken pavers, and strip flaking paint and stain it. Sprucing up your existing outdoor structures is a low-cost way to increase your home’s appeal to buyers and add to the overall desirability of your property.

7. Make Your Home Compliant as a Rental Property

If you can, get your home up to the healthy homes standards for rental properties. The healthy homes standards are specific and minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties.

If your property meets these codes, then it could one day provide more appeal to a potential buyer who wants to tenant the property. In the meantime, it’ll probably also be more comfortable for you to live in too!

8. Add Energy-Efficient Extras

Energy-efficient appliances and building materials come with a host of benefits. Not only do they help to save money on energy costs, but they can also reduce your home’s environmental impact. Here are some projects you might consider:

• Install solar panels

• Purchase Energy Star appliances

• Invest in a smart thermostat

• Replace old windows with double glazing

• Swap out poorly insulated exterior doors

• Improve insulation

9. Interior Design

A little interior design goes a long way. Simple and straightforward design updates help to stage your home for sale and can come with relatively small price tags.

If you’re looking for some easy but worthwhile home improvement projects to increase your property’s overall value and entice buyers, consider:

• Updating light fixtures

• Replacing light covers and heat registers

• Swapping out old doorknobs and hardware

• Installing custom window coverings, such as blinds

• Modernising your paint colors

• Repainting trim, ceilings, and interior doors

Although these jobs may seem less impressive than large-scale renovations, don’t underestimate how much the visual appeal of your home can affect its value.

10. Boost Curb Appeal

Your home’s curb appeal is directly related to whether it makes a positive first impression on potential buyers. And there are a variety of different ways you can make your home stand out, even from the street.

Some of the best home projects for improving curb appeal are some of the most cost effective, and include:

• Painting or purchasing a new front door

• Replacing or painting a weathered garage door

• Adding stone veneer to your entryway

• Installing new lighting

• Water blasting your driveway, and even the pavement outside your home

According to a widely cited US report, simply painting your front door a darker color, such as black or charcoal, can increase your home’s sale price by more than US$6,000 and we think the results would be the same in NZ too. That’s pretty impressive, considering a can of paint typically costs less than $100.

The bottom line: improve your home value

While it can be hard to determine exactly how much value any of these upgrades might add to your home, local real estate agents should be able to help you price your home accordingly, and provide a couple of tips on where to get started.

Home improvement projects can be difficult to prioritize and budget for, which is why it’s important to take the time to choose the ones that should deliver you the most bang for your buck.