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Six Affordable Upgrades That Add Value to Your Home

remodeled kitchen countertops

You’ve spent the past decade living in your current home. It’s been the setting for a lot of family “firsts” — from your baby’s first steps to your first time hosting Thanksgiving. Now, your family is growing and planning to upgrade to something bigger. In order to buy a bigger home, you’ll need to first sell your current one — and, hopefully, for its maximum value.

One strategy to help you do that?

Make simple, affordable upgrades that can add value to your home — before listing your property. 

Here are six home updates that can have a big impact.

  1. Hardwood floors. Has your home had the same carpet since the 80s? Dust, dirt, and dog hair often cling to carpets, giving rooms a drab appearance. Freshen up bedrooms and guestrooms by hiring someone to install hardwood floors. Genuine hardwood has the greatest visual appeal, but it can be expensive. If you’re on a budget, vinyl or laminate flooring are worthwhile alternatives. Depending on the size of your bedrooms and flooring selection, it can take anywhere from a half-day to a full-day per room installation.
  2. New, matching stainless steel appliances. We often wait until our appliances break to replace them. There’s a reason for the age-old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, upgrading your appliances can add value to your home, making it a worthy exception. Matching new appliances bring a unified look to your kitchen. Plus, new appliances will typically be built with the latest technology, making them more energy-efficient than your last appliances. Consider black stainless steel, as it is a little more resistant to fingerprints and smudges than silver. 
  3. Quartz countertops. Move over granite and marble countertops. Quartz is the latest material of choice. It has a high-end appearance and is more stain-resistant than granite, based on Consumer Reports’ testing. During the test, Consumer Reports piped half-inch splotches of potential offending liquids — from hot coffee to chocolate syrup — on each surface and recorded the effects after 20 hours. Quartz fared better than granite with beet juice and food coloring, making it the winner.   
  4. Fresh coat of paint to walls and cabinets. A fresh coat of paint can instantly transform a space. Semi-gloss paint has traditionally been known for its durability, but it also reflects light. As a result, matte paints tends to hide imperfections better, making walls appear smoother and mark-free. Which colors appeal to homebuyers? Stick to neutrals, such as beige, ivory, taupe, or gray, and pull in color through accent pieces. A chevron navy and white rug or an aqua armchair can really pop in a gray bedroom. If your home has any rooms with extremely bright paint colors, such as a pink child’s bedroom, start there. Neutral colors allow homebuyers to see the room’s potential instead of getting stuck on the paint.    
  5. Walk-in shower. Angie’s List got personal and asked 2,000 survey respondents: do you prefer a bath or a shower? It was a clean sweep for showers, which received 90 percent of the votes. Based on the results, the likeliest person to prefer showers is a 20-something male. Comparatively, the likeliest person to choose baths was a 40-something female. Interestingly, if you have a tub with a built-in shower, you might think you have the best of both worlds. However, modern homes are moving toward walk-in showers. They’re sleek and functional, allowing for easier access. That’s important for an older demographic — and anyone who needs the space to be wheelchair-accessible. 
  6. Landscaping. The entrance to your home makes a lasting first impression on prospective homebuyers. If they walk up to dead plants and excessive weeds, it’s not a good look. Consider hiring a landscape company to select the right combination of native plants, which have adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. Native plants are typically low-maintenance and are more likely to thrive throughout the year than exotic plants. Thoughtful landscaping can also attract potential buyers when they're driving through the neighborhood.     

A few simple upgrades can add value to your home, helping you get closer to the right buyer — and price. 

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