As young homeowners, you should work to keep your house in order to protect the biggest investment you probably have made. Basic repairs, as well as a little spit and polish, can protect your home from losing value. Updating your home and looking out for problem properties in your neighborhood also can help make a difference in your property's value as well. Ask real estate professionals such as sales agents and inspectors to help you find ways to improve your home’s value.
Taking routine care of your home is the most important move you can make to protect its value. The National Association of Realtors recommends you set aside $500 a month to save for big repairs, such as roof, plumbing and electrical problems, all of which hurt your home’s worth. Plus, keeping up with minor fixes can prevent major problems. Weatherproofing, cleaning gutters and replacing broken roof tiles or shingles stop water damage and other structural issues. If you skimp on maintenance, it can greatly affect a home's resale value.
Cosmetics play a role in your home’s value. Dirty siding, loose railings and broken light fixtures could all curb value. An unkempt exterior can make potential buyers wonder what else you haven’t maintained. A fresh coat of paint to replace peeling areas, or even a power-washing to spruce up exterior walls, can help keep up your home’s value. Landscaping is part of curb appeal as well. A healthy lawn and trimmed trees boost aesthetics, and good aesthetics reflect the care you take as a homeowner.
A big share of your home’s value is in its kitchen and bathrooms. Outdated appliances and old cabinets and countertops can eat away at worth. Older, inefficient water fixtures and appliances also hurt. Energy-saving refrigerators and dishwashers can update your home. Be careful about assumptions on how much value renovations will bring. The National Association of Realtors says remodeling adds value equal to about 80 percent of the improvement, on average. Upgrades can maintain your home’s value, but they may not boost it.
If you live in a neighborhood with a number of foreclosures, look out for nearby vacant homes. Ambitious residents can take action to shore up the neighborhood, which will help maintain property values. Empty homes can fall into disrepair and have a negative effect on surrounding home appraisals. Watch foreclosed homes for deterioration. Pull weeds, mow the lawn, take out dead bushes and plant flowers. Enlist other neighbors to help preserve the aesthetics of your community’s problem homes.
Ask real estate professionals for guidance on what you can do to boost your home’s worth. You don’t need to list your property to call in a sales agent for a consultation on how to improve value. An agent may notice small problems that have a big impact. Also, consider calling a home inspector to spot structural or mechanical problems that could cause value-destroying damage down the road. Ask the inspector for a list of repairs you can tackle in order of importance.