What Makes a House Sell for More Money

Home ownership is the biggest investment in most people’s lives. When it comes time to move, what make a house sell for more? You might be surprised.

The average price of a home, according to the National Association of Realtors, is about $258,000. Over a decade, you will spend tens of thousands or more in interest payments, taxes, maintenance, repairs, insurance and other costs.

You must keep your home maintained to protect its value if you have an eye on selling it. Especially if you have lived in it over a decade.

What makes a house sell for me is repairs, replacement, upgrades and refurbishing. Such value enhancements can be minor or major, depending on your budget.

Increasing your home’s value may involve many areas, but here are a few you should focus on:

  • Paint aesthetics
  • Insulation replacement
  • Refurbishing hardwood floors
  • Lawn enhancements
  • And, surprisingly, painting your front door black

Your home can sell for almost $6,300 above its market value if you paint the front door black. Or charcoal gray.

This is according to statistical research dating back to 2010 and conducted by the online real estate website Zillow. Since 2010, analysts at Zillow have analyzed and cross-referenced the selling statistics of its real estate sales.

This research analysis was based on the 135,000 photos accompanying these sales. Houses with their front doors painted black or charcoal grey commanded significant price value increases.

According to the Zillow analysts, the first sight impression and visual aesthetic reaction of buyers seeing the threshold is very powerful. It’s easier for buyers to imagine ownership.

Of course, a fresh coat of paint looks better to a buyer than an unchanged, worn-out and dated look. But Zillow’s research shows that the color and tone of paint matters just as much as the effort.

Choose the exterior color wisely. A house with a creamy or flax yellow tone exterior may sell for under $3,400 its market value according to Zillow.

Various interior and exterior painting projects may cost $200 to $300 a room, and a little more for the exterior. In the end it will be worth the outlay.

By some estimates, a a professional painting makeover for your home could net you a 109% return on the investment.

Insulation replacement

About nine out of every 10 homes is under-insulated according to the U.S. Energy Star program. The average price to insulate a 1,200 square foot attic is about $2,000 but can easily cost more.

Prospective home buyers are just as concerned with potential energy costs as much as the aesthetic value of the home. Replacing the insulation before selling will make your home stand out for its energy efficiency.

Replace or upgrade your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems too. That include new windows and a water heater as well.

This may cost you, but it will be less expensive and probably more effective than a solar panel installation. Before incentives and subsidies, a solar panel installation may cost between $25,000 and $35,000.

Improving efficiency is a financially prudent move to make especially if all of your home’s windows are older than a decade. Most buyers won’t want to buy solely based on upgrades and renovations due to the wear and tear of the previous tenant.

Have a buffer of time between making these upgrades and replacements and before placing your home on the market. You can gauge and record the improved energy efficiency. Keep before-and-after energy bill receipts to showcase to prospective buyers.

Refurbish hardwood

This may be a pricey investment based on your available square footage of flooring. Still, it will be worth it to prospective buyers in the long run.

New hardwood floors will stick out in the mind of buyers during a pre-sale inspection. Also, it will be worth it to invest in hardwood replacement because hardwood floors last longer.

Carpeting lasts about a decade. Carpeting will also incur regular maintenance and cleaning costs of its own for new buyers.

Professionally installed hardwood floors can last a quarter of a century and carry warranties that last just as long. A home buyer will have to buy new carpeting three times against replacing hardwood floors once in the same time period.

If you are DIY inclined, you could sand down and re-varnish the hardwood yourself. If not, you may want to get a professional on the job.

Replacing the hardwood will be expensive, but worth it in the long term if needed. You can use various online price calculation tools to make your own estimates.

On the average, you may end up paying up to $10,000, or more. Depending on your home’s size, you may be able to add as much as $2,000 to its market value.

Enhance your lawn

A lawn is prime indicator of home maintenance. The aesthetics of a lawn immediately tells a prospective buyer how well you take care of it and the home.

Keep up with lawn maintenance or invest in a major landscaping upgrade before selling. You may be able to increase the asking value of the home by 28% with a visually appealing lawn, depending on its size.

You don’t really need to go over the top and invest in an elaborate, visually busy and flamboyant landscape arrangement either.

It might cost you about $5,000 to go all out for an elaborately designed lawn with fountains, stone paving and such. If you keep to a simple design, you might be able to makeover your lawn for as little as $330.

About 75% of real estate brokers recommend some kind of lawn makeover or upgrade before selling. Also, you stand to recoup the investment. The National Association of Realtors estimates that you can recoup about $1,000 from an initial $330 investment.

Check your math

Keep running estimates of your home value increasing activity spending. You’ll need to compare it against investment and potential profit calculation.

Enlist the help of a financial advisor or your realtor. To prove your home is an investment worth selling, you must keep track of these numbers.

A valuable home could recoup as much as 95% of its original investment — if you keep it maintained or embark on value increasing beautification projects.