Small DIY Projects With a Big Impact

3 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value Up To $7,000

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HomeGain released its annual home improvement and home staging survey for 2012 last week — questioning 500 real estate agents across the country regarding the top 10 DIY home improvements under $5,000 that home owners should make to increase the value on their home, weighing both cost and ROI. (For the full list from HomeGain, click here.)

Fundamentally, the practical value of your home, or anything for that matter, is what a buyer is willing to pay for it. So the more appealing your home is to buyers, the more valuable it will be — and the trick to that is presenting a home buyers can imagine themselves living in. And the more of an ideal, fantasy-worthy home you can create, the more buyers will salivate to move right in.

Which makes it hardly a surprise that the number one project on the list is one that will most likely cost more time than money — and for many, require ruthless determination.

“Less is more.”
~Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (famous architect)

#1 — Clean and de-clutter

For the tenth year in a row, cleaning and de-cluttering your home ranks as the number one recommendation by agents to increase the value of your home. Back to that “ideal fantasy home” you are creating — don’t most people dream of living an organized, clutter-free life? Walking into a home that feels that way instantly creates a “boy, I wish my home looked like this” feeling.

According to the survey, the average cost of de-cluttering a home is $402 and the average value benefit is $2,024 — giving a 403% ROI.

#2 — Lighten and brighten

You can’t appreciate — or covet — what you can’t see. Not only do plentiful light and bright windows (cleaned and unblocked) shed light on your home, light rooms are inviting and friendly. While mood lighting has its place and time, when you want to show your home to its best advantage, light up the joint. When museums mount an exhibition, the first thing planned is the lighting. Place table or floor lamps in dark corners, make sure every bulb is working, and think about putting light in unexpected places — like closets and counter tops.

According to the survey, the average cost of lighting and brightening a home is $424, with an average value benefit of $1,690 — giving a 299% ROI.

“The devil is in the details.”
~Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (again)

#3 — Repair electrical & plumbing

Think about your ideal home — wouldn’t it be one where everything just… works? It probably wouldn’t be one where the hall light doesn’t turn on when you flip the switch, or where the kitchen faucet drips incessantly. While everyone has lived with a blown bulb for days before changing it, nobody goes out of their way to do so.

According to the survey, the average cost of electrical and plumbing repairs for a home is $808 with an average value benefit of $3,175 — giving a 293% ROI.

One chance to make a first impression

Ultimately, you want your home to feel perfect to buyers. When they walk in, you want them to feel that your home is not only a home they could live in, but a home they want to live in — a home where faucets don’t leak, closets are organized, lights always come on, keys are always where you put them, toilets don’t run — a home where life runs smoothly.