Summer house projects big and small that can increase your home’s value
Your home is one of your biggest assets — and like most investments, you need to periodically check in to make sure you’re maximizing value. For a house, this means anything from taking care of necessary repairs to making improvements that will make your property even more appealing to its next owner.
We know what you’re thinking: It’s impossible to guess what a future buyer may want. However, there are a few tried-and-true projects that will boost your home’s worth, no matter what time of year you sell. Now that it’s summer, you may even have a little more time to tackle these projects (or hire them out). From small changes that you can do by Sunday to big projects that have a big impact, here are a few ideas for your to-do list.
Fast & easy fixes
1. Try KonMari
Organizing pro Marie Kondo (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and host of Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo) has made converts out of even the messiest out there. Her easy-to-follow KonMari system boils down to “donate or get rid of anything you don’t need anymore.” Read the book, watch the show, and take the weekend to let go of excess clutter that’s taking up space in your home. Not only will your home seem bigger to buyers, but you’ll actually want to show off your home without all the clutter.
2. Maximize closet space
Today’s buyers can never have too much storage space. That doesn’t mean you have to invest heavily in a custom closet (after all, what works for your wardrobe might not work for everyone). Making little fixes such as installing shelves to take advantage of overhead space, swapping out rickety hanging bars for new ones, and adding smaller organizers can maximize your existing closets. If you also have outdated accordion-style or builder-grade wooden doors, updating them to new doors will make a more favorable first impression.
3. Upgrade your door handles
This is an especially good move if you have dated or boring hardware throughout your home (or haven’t updated a single knob since the ‘90s). Integrating new doorknobs, handles, pulls and knobs creates a cohesive, well-designed look.
Quick updates you can make with purchases from Target
4. Improve your water pressure
You’d be surprised how many people turn the faucets to gauge the pressure. If you’re an avid DIYer, you might be able to increase the pressure yourself using this YouTube video. If your water pressure isn’t the problem, take a trip to a nearby hardware store and buy a new showerhead. Buyers will be impressed with the upgrade and most of them are surprisingly easy to install!
5. Make your lights smarter
Integrating technology into your home is simple and impressive to homebuyers. One of the easiest ways to start is with lighting. Installing a Philips Hue Starter Kit will have you in awe of how easy it is to use, and you can even pair your lights with Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, and Google Home. You don’t have to stop at just lights. There are tons of options for integrating technology into your home, and according to a study from ADT, almost two-thirds of homebuyers would pay a premium for smart home technology.
6. Repaint interior rooms
If it’s been a while since you’ve painted, consider changing shifting the overall color scheme inside your home to a neutral palette. Neutral tones can make a space feel bigger, brighter and newer, and even mask small scratches and imperfections. It also creates a “blank slate” to help buyers focus on the home rather than a bolder color choice. If your home is dark, avoid darker colors and stick with something like Decorator White.
7. Update the walkway
Cracks in concrete, loose bricks or chipped stones are little details that can make even newer homes seem neglected while also presenting a safety hazard. Even pulling the weeds can make a huge difference when buyers walk up to your home. You can even add lighting (see next tip) to the walkway for a better nighttime experience.
8. Add some outdoor lighting
In lieu of any landscaping projects (the intense summer sun may prove too punishing for new plants or grass), think about “hardscaping” elements such as lighting. Just a few solar lights along the path can be enough to make a big difference. If you have a deck or patio, hanging string lights can make it more inviting, and an added benefit you can enjoy during those gorgeous summer nights!
9. Fix the fence
Adding or replacing an existing fence that might need work can have a huge impact on the appeal of your home, especially to homebuyers with animals. According to research from NAR, 91% of buyers with animals find having a fenced yard important. If putting in a fence isn’t an appealing project, consider adding a “living fence” of shrubbery.
Larger projects that have a big impact
10. Paint the exterior of your home
The summer is actually the best time to paint the exterior of your home. That’s because latex paints need to cure at temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (and above the dew point at least 48 hours after you apply it). If the temp dips below that, the paint film won’t form properly. Avoid garish colors (denim blue is the kiss of death, by the way) and stick with enduring neutrals.
11. Install a new roof
When a potential buyer sees an older roof, they also see a lot of dollar signs from weather damage, pest infestations and other everyday horrors. Replacing the roof will help the buyer feel at ease knowing you took care of any immediate roof issues that could arise. If you’re tech-savvy and willing to drop $80K, check out Tesla’s solar roof.
12. Create an outdoor space
You don’t have to add a new room to extend your home’s living space. Instead, add a deck or patio so that your home has a dedicated outdoor lounging space. Experts say a simpler design is better (and advise to keep away from high-maintenance features like spas) and can add up to 80% of its cost to your resale value. Don’t forget to follow tip #8 and add lights!
13. Change to energy-efficient windows
Energy-efficient windows entice buyers with lower energy costs, but the decision goes far beyond future bills. Some windows can improve the curb appeal — or even add an unexpectedly stylish element.
14. Clean or replace the carpet
Wall-to-wall carpeting doesn’t just seem outdated to potential buyers — the fibers also hold onto dust and allergens, impacting your overall air quality. Consider adding hardwood floors (or lookalike composite) or just do a deep-clean of your carpets.
15. Update the bathrooms
Bathroom renovations typically provide a high return on your investment. If your bathroom is smaller, this means you can go more luxurious for less (and the job will be finished quickly). Getting rid of space-hogging vanities, adding in a low-flush toilet, or even little replacements such as the shower head, tub faucet and tiles are all changes that will go a long way in the eyes of your buyer.
16. Upgrade your kitchen and bathroom counters
You don’t need to do a complete bathroom or kitchen renovation with the latest appliances and designer finishes. Instead, consider replacing your old countertops. No, you don’t have to go with granite no matter how many real estate reality shows say otherwise. In fact, these days granite can feel outdated. Instead, opt for quartz, stainless steel, or concrete. If you have a bigger budget, marble countertops are always appealing to deep-pocketed buyers.
For a smaller space like a bathroom, you might find a deal at a countertop slab distributor. Many of them have "bone yards" where they have small remnants left from larger jobs; in some cases you can find a high end countertop for a significantly discounted price.
17. Reface or replace your kitchen cabinets
Since cabinetry does take up the most visual space in the kitchen, a replacement will make the whole room feel updated. A complete overhaul isn’t always necessary. If your cabinets are a standard size and of decent quality, you can get away with just replacing the doors (or even just painting your current doors).
18. Scrape off the popcorn ceiling
Once popular, these days popcorn ceilings have a negative effect on a home’s value, with buyers perceiving rooms with this type of covering as outdated (or worse, hiding something major). Smoothing your ceiling’s texture with a scraper isn’t the most fun way to spend a weekend, but the payoff is worth it.
19. Install a water filtration system
Adding this feature makes for a unique selling point for your home (no more bottled water). This is another addition that you’ll benefit from in the meantime! Having clean, filtered water will make your home more memorable and is a little touch that shows potential buyers that you care. Still not convinced? Take a look at this video and see just how dirty your tap water might really be.