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High Country Real Estate: Best Upgrades to Add Value to Your Home

By Breanna McKay, REALTOR, Blue Ridge Realty & Investments

When most people think about “The American Dream,” homeownership is always a major component of that dream. But purchasing a home is just the first step of homeownership. 

Homeownership is a living investment, not a static one. It’s more than just making your mortgage payment. Well, theoretically, a homeowner could simply make their mortgage payment (along with taxes, insurance and utilities) and still maintain their investment. Theoretically. 

But when we invest, we want our investment to grow and flourish, not just maintain. At the same time, while our home is an investment, it is also our home; while we want to make the most of our investment, we also want to make our homes comfortable and peaceful places to live. So, what are the things we can do to add value to our homes to ensure the biggest return on investment and still keep our homes as our haven? 

The number one most important thing is keep up with maintenance items. Make repairs as necessary; don’t let anything slide for too long. Unfortunately, when we let small repairs go for too long, they have a way of becoming big, and often expensive, repairs. Fix leaks immediately. Walk around the entire exterior of your home at least once a month and look for any issues; when you see something amiss, get it repaired as soon as possible. Have a yearly pest inspection.

If you are keeping up with your maintenance and you’d like to add some value to your home, but don’t have the money or the time for a major renovation, here are eight (relatively) low-cost things you can do to add value to your home:

1. Upgrade kitchen and bathroom fixtures. A new faucet, new drawer pulls, a new mirror, switch plates, outlet covers…these might seem like small things, but they can make a big difference to the look and feel of a room. If you don’t want to rip out the cabinets and the counter tops, just try this for a quick refresh. It’s inexpensive and is a great return on investment (ROI).

2. While you’re at it…light fixtures. You can update the kitchen and bath light fixtures to match your new faucets. While light fixtures are not inexpensive, they are not horribly expensive and can make an old space feel new again. A word of warning here, though, experts warn against overly specialized or extra expensive light fixtures if you’re looking for ROI…you won’t get it. Stick with the basics.

3. Plant a tree. Plant two trees. Studies show that trees and landscaping increase resale value. Plus, strategically placed trees can help with energy bills by blocking the sun in the summer. 

4. Add a water filtration system to the kitchen. It’s a plus for the kitchen, it’s a plus for you, it’s a plus for the environment, it’s a plus for your pocketbook.

5. Add ceiling fans to rooms without them or update outdated ones. This is not only an aesthetic upgrade, but, again, helps with energy usage.

6. If your home is on the small side, there’s not much that can be done to make it bigger other than suggesting an addition. But to make it look bigger, add a large mirror to a room. This will double the space visually…the bigger the mirror, the stronger the impact.

7. Refresh your entrance. Paint your front door a welcoming color. Make sure your front porch is clean and free of clutter. 

8. Upgrade your water heater. While this isn’t as inexpensive as new switch plates, it can end up saving you money in the long run and the new tankless models are quite popular and seem to bring a great return on investment. 

The most important thing to remember is that while it is an investment, it is also your home. So don’t do anything for a return on your investment that doesn’t bring you joy and make your home a happier place!