Given that real estate is the biggest investment most of us will ever make, it makes sense to learn how to add value to your home. What are the best ways? Here are a few tips, including a few you can try without a professional.

 

Some suggestions are as easy as basic home maintenance. Fresh paint is inexpensive and goes a long way to freshening up your entire home.

 

Neutral colors

Chad Neal, president and chief general contractor and landscaper for Whispering Meadows, Inc., in Freeland, Md., says that keeping your walls and trim painted and up to date always adds to a home’s value.

 

“Like anything else, painted walls fade and develop a stale appearance,” he explains. “If your intention is to add value for resale, stick to neutral colors that can appeal to a variety of tastes.”

 

If you are going to paint yourself, pay close attention to neatness and the proper paint finish for each room and especially for trim and molding.

 

Landscaping

Many people believe that a property’s landscape needs to be elaborate in order to add value to your home. “A landscape doesn’t need to be fancy, and in fact, it can just be simple and tidy with attention to upkeep,” says Neal.  “To add more value, make the landscape on the street or curbside stand out just a bit more. A landscape that has appeal for as many months of the year as possible is also an attention-getter.”

 

Hardwood floorsUnder the carpet

Perhaps the simplest DIY project a homeowner can attempt is to know what is under your wall-to-wall carpet. “If older wall-to-wall carpet is covering hardwood floors, then you might consider tearing up the old carpet and giving the floors a new life,” Neal explains. “Hardwood floors are low maintenance and always in style.”

 

Beyond basics

Now, onto some ideas that are best left to the experts. If there is one room in the house to focus on to get the most for your dollar, it’s the heart of the home, the kitchen. Neal suggests that today, updating a kitchen is all about the materials. “Value is added by switching out counter tops to materials like granite, and updating appliances,” he explains. “Today, people want stainless steel appliances, and they are looking for those which are more energy efficient than those of the past.”

 

Going green

The best way to add value to your home is in a way that has nothing to do with aesthetics, and everything to do with saving money and adding a green element to your whole home.

 

“Taking a look at the mechanicals that run the systems of your home can provide you and a potential buyer with actual proof of added value,” Neal says. “Replacing systems like your furnace, air conditioning system, and hot water heater with newer and more energy efficient equipment that can significantly lower your utility bills. When you can show savings on paper, the proof is there.”

 

Power from the sun

Triangle Tube boilerAs for solar products, Neal explains that the most asked about solar system his clients want information for is solar hot water heaters (at right). “With the cost of gas, fuels, and electricity only going up, consumers are wising up, doing their homework, and realizing what a difference that solar power can make on their monthly costs,” he says.

 

If you are looking to add value to your home, take inventory, decide what you can do and when you need to bring in a professional. Then, get to work making your place as valuable as possible.

 

Got other tips for how to add value to your home? Leave us a note in the comments below.

 

Photos: Linda N./Flickr; VeloBusDriver/Flickr