3 Steps to Maximize Appraisal Values When Selling Your Home
Over time, historical and older home can show its age if not maintained well. As homeowners, how we take our older home’s faded exterior and make it stand out as an attractive and welcoming match for potential home buyers?
Consider the following three points when preparing for an appraisal, and you can turn your old house into a home that will be guaranteed to impress.
1. Cleaning and Painting Your Home’s Exterior
This may seem like an obvious tip to mention, but its importance cannot be overstated. For older homes, which are in some cases older than a century, a deep and thorough cleaning of all masonry, mortar, light fixtures, windows, and doors is crucial to boosting your home’s value and provide a fresh, clean look when staging.
You only have one chance to give that first impression, so budgeting for a professional cleaning job is the first step.
If you feel as though you can handle this task on your own, a power washer, a strong cleaning detergent, paint stripper, and rust remover are absolute necessities.
Cleaning your house can add upwards of $10,000 - $15,000 to its value in the eyes of appraisers.
Decide Whether or Not to Paint
A thorough cleaning is the important first step which opens up the possibility of painting your home. Depending upon your particular neighborhood, painting the stone or brick may or may not be a good idea.
Based on the quality of the underlying masonry, leaving the house unpainted may be the best option - especially in historic neighborhoods that are trying to maintain an unfinished, traditional brick or stone aesthetic. In these older, historic neighborhoods, certain types of alterations may even be prohibited by law.
If you do choose to paint or stucco, you may want to consult an exterior designer or landscape professional to better understand your functional limitations and aesthetic options.
For example, brick is porous and you can only use certain types of breathable paint (see this guide on row houses published by City of Philadelphia) when painting it. Knowing what your restrictions are will help you make the most informed decision and maximize your home’s value.
Do Not Overpower the Neighborhood
It is important to find a good balance between standing out and maintaining an overall aesthetic cohesiveness with the surrounding neighborhood.
Appraisers like a house that makes a unique visual statement, but there are limits on how strong that visual statement should be. This is another reason to consult a professional before making substantial design decisions.
2. Take Your Home into the 21st Century
An urban home that is better integrated into the 21st century will give your home a competitive edge in the marketplace. Appraisers are rating homes higher when they have newer features such as smart alarm systems and doorbell cameras.
Even something as simple as replacing old light fixtures with photosensitive light fixtures can boost your home’s value.
These types of features are standard for modern homes. If you want to compete with these newer homes, you must outfit your older home with the latest in smart home technology.
Consider Rooftop Solar Panels
Solar energy is becoming a more affordable reality for many Americans. There are even some city government-sponsored programs, such as Solarize Philly, that can help subsidize or discount the cost of installing solar panels. (Check your state and city for government-sponsored programs.)
Energy independence is a strong selling point for prospective homeowners and can raise the value of your home.
3. Utilize Extra Space for Plants
Space is limited in a city and, consequently, so are plants. Some urban streets are lucky enough to be lined with trees but for the most part, green spaces are relegated to city parks.
You can increase the value of your home by adding some greenery to your facade. However, you likely want to restrict the choice of plants to low maintenance types to not overwhelm prospective buyers with potential upkeep.
Window planters can liven up a stoic, brick-faced house by bringing a bit of the back garden up to the front. For year-round greenery, consider planting small evergreen shrubs or bushes. These plants will require water and an occasional soil change but are otherwise pretty low maintenance.
Use Beautiful Potted Plants When Staging
Keeping well-maintained potted plants on your front porch or stoop can give your house that extra polish for any appraiser’s or prospective homeowner’s first impression. Taking the extra time and money to decorate your facade with ornate and beautiful flowers could be the difference between a sale or no sale.
Get Started! Maximize that Urban Curb Appeal
You can get the most out of your old, urban home by getting informed and being open to the advice of professionals for those big alterations. Bring your home into the 21st century by revealing a beautiful, clean house that can compete with newer, more modern constructions.
Also, consider smart technology and solar energy to give your home that cutting edge in the marketplace. Additionally, never underestimate the power of bringing plants into your design scheme, especially on city blocks starved of trees. By following this guide you will be well on your way to maximizing your home’s curb appeal.
About the guest contributor: Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger and avid beach-goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.