Small House on Stacks of Hundred Dollar Bills Isolated on a White Background.

Whether you want to sell your home now, or well… never, it is always a good idea to increase the value of your home.  Here are 10 smart ways to maintain and improve your home value.

1)  Let There Be Light – Lighting can enhance a home’s appeal in many ways.  Soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces, while high wattage bulbs can make small spaces feel larger.  If your home doesn’t get enough light, solar tubes are an attractive and energy-efficient way to bring in natural light (and are much cheaper than skylights!)

2)  Don’t Procrastinate on Care and Maintenance – Before you undergo the costly vanity upgrades, like your new custom kitchen, do the necessary stuff first… like fixing leaks, insulating the attic, fixing problematic gutters, replacing old windows, and such.  I know it’s not fun, but these items will quickly increase the value of your home, as well as make it much easier to sell.

3)  Do Your Pruning and Landscaping – Unruly trees and bushes can block the front view of your home and if they can’t see it, they won’t buy it.  Landscaping does make a difference as well.  Often, spending a few hundred dollars can bring you much larger returns.  Not to mention, if you don’t maintain your large trees, fallen branches could cost a great deal in damages.

4)  Create Space – Open-floor plans and large spaces are quite popular these days and buyers want homes to “flow.”  So, check with a structural engineer and knock down that non-structural wall!

5)  Upgrade Your Front Entry – If your home does not have an overhang or awning over the front door, many buyers notice immediately.  No one wants to be in the rain while shuffling for their keys.

6)  Replace or Repair Your Flooring – Replacing the flooring will often pay returns during your home sale.  If replacement is not necessary, like in my home where Pottery Barn wishes they had my original hardwood floors, a few well-placed nails can help to eliminate squeaks.  It is also very worth it to replace broken tiles.

7)  Do Some Cheap and Easy Bath Upgrades – If you are ready to sell your home, but don’t want to do a costly bathroom overhaul, spend $500 on a bathroom facelift.  Remove rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, clean the grout… probably wouldn’t hurt to get a new toilet seat!

8)  Neutral Wall Colors – Most brokers recommend neutral wall colors.  I do if you already need to update your paint.  If your more colorful paint is fresh and you genuinely think there are many people who would appreciate it, go ahead and try to sell.  Before I was a realtor, I sold my home and my realtor recommended I repaint my walls neutral colors.  I did, and when I stopped by my former house several months later to see if the new owners had a piece of my mail, they had painted my living room almost the exact color that it was before I changed the paint to neutral!  On the flip side, most realtors have had buyers who didn’t want to purchase a home because of the paint color and they couldn’t visualize the home repainted.

9)  Eliminate “Potential Issues” – Have a friend come over and let you know everything that pops out about your home that could potentially be wrong, such as a broken step or way outdated wallpaper.  If buyers see too many issues that raise their eyebrows, they will be more hesitant to make an offer.

10)  Green, Green, Green – Green homes sell faster and for more money.  Make sure you have proper insulation.  If your heating, air conditioning, or water heater need to be replaced, new ones are often 30-40% more efficient, and even more so when you purchase ENERGY STAR appliances.  I always point it out to my clients when homes have new heaters and water heaters, because it is something they won’t have to worry about for a few years.

green paint and paint supplies ready to do home improvement

FHA’s Streamlined 203(k) program permits homebuyers and homeowners to finance up to $35,000 into their mortgage to repair, improve, or upgrade their home. Homebuyers and homeowners can quickly and easily tap into cash to pay for property repairs or improvements, such as those identified by a home inspector or an FHA appraiser. Homeowners can make property repairs, improvements, or prepare their home for sale.  Homebuyers can make their new home move-in ready by remodeling the kitchen, painting the interior or purchasing new carpet.

This could be very useful for you if you don’t mind buying a home that may not be move-in ready or would like to have the home customized to your taste… that’s right, the kitchen and bathroom would be designed by you.  For those of you who are passionate about sustainable living, the 203(k) loan could utilized to do green upgrades, such as energy-efficient windows, ENERGY STAR appliances, high-efficiency furnace with sealed ductwork, and solar panels.

The Section 203(k) program is FHA’s primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single family properties. As such, it is an important tool for community and neighborhood revitalization, as well as to expand homeownership opportunities.

Note:  It is recommended to use a 203(k)-approved contractor for improvements.

platteforum-photo

Conscious Real Estate is proud to announce a partnership with award-winning Denver nonprofit, PlatteForum. PlatteForum is an innovative nonprofit arts, youth-development, and urban artist-in-residence program in Denver that teams underserved youth (K-12) from around the Denver metropolitan area with contemporary master artists in intensive, structured, and long-term creative learning environments.

In 2002, Judy Anderson and Mark Smith (East West Partners) co-founded PlatteForum in Denver, Colorado, to address diminishing access to the arts in public schools and provide a place for artists to have the time and support to create new work.  Youth work side by side with resident artists to collaboratively plan, produce, and exhibit a body of work in an environment in which artistic excellence is highly valued.  Through the creative process, PlatteForum gives hope and direction to underserved youth who collaborate with master artists from around the world.  This experience transforms the lives of the youth, the artists and the community.

PlatteForum welcomes the public to their events, it’s a great place to volunteer, and creative workshops are led by professional artists… with cocktails, or you can make a donation.  As always, you can remind your friends and family that when they sell or purchase a home through Conscious Real Estate, 10% of our agent’s commission can go to PlatteForum to help underserved youth and lend to the vibrancy of our community.

 

Hands holding clear green meadow with sun battery block, wind mill turbines and countryside house. Concept for ecology, alternative energy, freshness, freedom. Green fields collection.

On May 28, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law the Colorado Energy Saving Mortgage Program.  Under this program, a homebuyer purchasing a new or renovated Zero Net Energy (ZNE) home is eligible for an $8,000 reduction on financing the total cost of their home mortgage.  A ZNE home produces as much energy as it consumes.  A new or renovated home that has a HERS rating greater than HERS* 0, but less than HERS* 50 will also receive a mortgage reduction incentive.

In addition to the mortgage incentive, homebuyers will benefit from lower energy bills, which can be used to offset the cost increase of a ZNE home.  For example, $30,000 in improvements on a 2,200-square-foot home after the $8,000 incentive would require an additional $94.53 in mortgage payments each month.  However, the monthly energy savings would be $154.00.  That’s a net savings of $59.47 a month.

Under this new program, a homebuyer can receive an $8,000 incentive and purchase a zero net energy home that is worth substantially more at a lower annual cost than an equivalent non-ZNE home.

With this attempt to move our Colorado housing market to ZNE homes, this movement should create more construction jobs, as well as increase state and local government tax revenue.  According to the analysis conducted by Architecture 2030, each $1 million in incentives will generate:  $16.22 million in direct spending, $16.49 million in indirect and induced spending, and $1.92 million in state and local government tax revenue.

*The HERS Index is the nationally recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance.  The HERS Index Score can be described as a sort of miles-per-gallon (MPG) sticker for houses, giving prospective buyers and homeowners an insight as to how the home ranks in terms of energy efficiency.  A HERS Index of 100 represents the energy use of the “American Standard Building” and an Index of 0 (zero) indicates that the building uses no net purchased energy.  The lower the value, the better.