How much is your property really worth? Many of us already have a certain value fixed in our heads and we know what we want to get out of selling our properties. Unfortunately, with the housing market in its current situation, this isn’t always possible. Right now, home values are dropping fast, so it is important that you do everything possible to make sure you get as much out of your property as you can.
When it comes to selling your house, there are two types of value. There’s real value (the number that an appraiser will give you) and there’s perceived value (what really goes on in a buyers head). If you take the time to work on your property, there are a number of things you can do to increase these values and get a better price for your home. It all starts with the first impression. While there are countless things you can do to the interior of the house, if you can’t impress prospective buyers as they approach the property the first time, it’s going to be a really tough sale.
On the House
Most people think of the changes they can make to the actual home when they want to raise their property’s value – and with good cause. New paint or siding can increase the value of the home by thousands of dollars, and it will immediately give the prospective buyer the impression that the house is new and clean. You should also take the time to make sure a few other elements look great and function properly, like the rain gutters, the external lighting, and then fill in any potholes in the driveways and walkways. However, your job doesn’t stop here.
In the Yard
Unfortunately, a lot of home renovations can end up costing a lot of money (new siding isn’t cheap – and are you sure you have the skills to fill those potholes?). There are a lot of things you can do in the backyard, though, that will also help you increase the real and perceived value of your home without as much of an investment.
- Landscaping – This is the most obvious and possibly one of the most important things you can do in the yard. Trim the hedges, mow the lawn, and take care of those straggly branches before prospective buyers start showing up. If you are going to add some extra landscaping (rock gardens, flower patches, etc) don’t go overboard. You want to make everything look nice without making it look like a lot of extra work.
- Porches or Covered Decks – If your house includes a porch or a deck, make sure that it is in good shape. These elements can add to the real value of your house, but if the paint is flaking or the steps look a little rickety, it will immediately detract from the perceived value.
- Fences – The perceived privacy and security that a fence adds to a home will help increase the perceived value. Fences also have a very real effect on the appraised value as well.
- Storage Sheds – The same rules that apply to your home apply to any storage shed in the yard. They add real value because everyone needs more storage, but you can increase the perceived value by painting it the same colors as the home and making sure the structure looks sound.
- Swing Sets – Quality swing sets are a great way to impress a family looking at the house. There are a lot of quality play sets that look great in the back yard. The play sets that are made from solid wood and have climbing walls and slides are tough, durable, and attractive. On the other hand, the old, rusty aluminum sets should be removed from the property as soon as possible.
Some of these things are more expensive than others (obviously, installing a fence around your backyard will probably cost almost as much as re-siding your whole house), and if some of these things are out of your budget just do your best to work with the elements you already have in place.
If the lawn is getting out of hand, take care of it as soon as possible. You should go the extra step, too, and pull out all the weeds, cut all the grass in those hard-to-reach corners, and keep everything looking as green as possible. If the swing set is looking a little rundown, replace the ropes or the rusty chains and make sure you clean out any bugs that are trying to make their home there. It may seem like a lot of small things, but they all add up until your prospective buyers see the same value in the property that you do.