By Adam Oyer – KeyBank Central New York Home Lending Leader
After living in your home for some time, you might be thinking a lot about changes and improvements that you’ve wanted to work on for a while, but couldn’t afford when you first bought the house. This could cover a wide range and be something simple, like cabinet hardware, or a much larger project, like an in-ground pool.
But before putting any plans into action, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about which projects will be worth the cost and make the biggest impact down the road if you consider selling. Home upgrades can make — or break — your home resale value. While the value of specific home improvements vary based on where you live, there are a few projects that, year-over-year, offer a solid return on investment across the country:
Kitchen upgrades tend to add significant resale value. Even better: Some of the most basic changes, including replacing cabinets and hardware or adding a fresh coat of paint, have the highest return on investment. Other features buyers look for include high-quality appliances and counters.
Adding Livable Space:
Creating more livable space that future homeowners can reimagine in their own way is a win-win. For example, if you finish your basement or attic, you and the home’s future owners have options for a playroom, craft space, office, or even an in-law apartment. Knocking down a wall to create a more open floor plan can also add to a home’s livable space.
Improving Energy Efficiency:
You and any future homeowners stand to save big when you increase your home’s energy efficiency. The right project could reduce your utility bills and increase your home resale value. Some projects, like adding extra attic insulation, are easy and affordable. Others, like installing energy-efficient windows, require a bit more time and budget. You can also consider replacing certain roofing materials or installing programmable thermostats. And be sure to check to see if your energy-efficient upgrade qualifies for a tax credit.
With all renovations, opt for colors, materials, and styles that are classic — they’ll be more likely to appeal to a broad range of buyers. You can incorporate your personal style through your home decor, with pillows, curtains, wall hangings, and furniture.
Maintain Your Home
While you’re considering home improvements, you’ll also want to budget for routine home maintenance. According to HGTV, you should save 1 to 3 percent of what you paid for your home each year. Simple upkeep can ensure you spare yourself a major expense down the road and maintain the cost of your home. Keep paint fresh and don’t wait to fix problems like rotting wood or a leaking roof.
Renovations to Reconsider
Consider the kind of buyer likely to purchase a home in your neighborhood. If lots of families are moving to the area, for example, a potential buyer may be wary of the hazards of an in-ground pool or turned off by the cost of upkeep. The same goes for other luxury upgrades, like chef-quality kitchens and extravagant spa bathrooms. And while curb appeal is important, the extra maintenance costs of an expensive landscape job could be too much for some potential buyers.
How to Fund Your Home Renovation
If you want to improve your home resale value but don’t have the cash to pay for a major upgrade or repair, you have options. You could take out a home improvement loan, which may be a good choice if you don’t have substantial equity in your home. To note, in order to calculate your home’s equity, take what your house is worth and subtract what you owe on the mortgage of the house. For example, if the market value of your house is $300,000 and you still have $120,000 to go on your mortgage, your home equity is $180,000.
If you do have a lot of equity built up, you may consider a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or home equity loan instead. Depending on factors such as your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and how much equity you have in your home, you may find a home equity loan or HELOC offers a larger sum of money. You should also do your due diligence and speak with your mortgage loan officer about the benefits and risks of HELOCs and home equity loans.
Make sure to consider all of your options before deciding which renovations to pursue and how you’ll finance them. Whether it’s a smaller project or one that’s a bit bigger, do your research to determine what makes the most sense for your home and your financial situation.
About the author: Adam Oyer is Home Lending Leader for KeyBank’s Central New York Market. NMLS #411171. He may be reached at either 315-425-8623 or [email protected].
Listing Your Home for Sale: Things to Do First
Perhaps you’ve outgrown your starter home and you’re ready for an upgrade. Or you’re ready to help an aging parent ease into retirement by providing them with an in-law suite.
Whatever your reason, selling your home might be an important move for you to make in the future. If this is the case, you need to know which steps to take before listing your home on the market.
Do Some Basic Research on Your Next Home
Don’t start the process of listing your home for sale if you’re not clear on what you’d like to buy first. Do you know where you’d like to move and what kind of house you want to have this time around? Have you scoped out the area and the surrounding community? Take time to differentiate your lists of must-haves and nice-to-haves and take an honest look at your finances to set your budget for your next home purchase.
Before you start worrying about real estate agents, listing your home, or marketing the property to potential buyers, focus on what’s right in front of you. For many homeowners, that’s some of the clutter that’s built up over the years since they’ve lived in the house.
If you want buyers to be able to imagine themselves living in the space, it’s time to declutter and deep clean.
Interview (and Choose) Your Real Estate Agent
One of the last steps to take before listing your home? Finding the right agent. This is an important relationship to get right, so take your time to interview multiple agents. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember that you’re going to work closely with this person in a high-pressure situation. You should not only trust their professional judgement, but you should also feel comfortable working with them. A strong personality fit matters!