I don’t know about you, but every time I turn on the news, I hear that the housing market is still kind of crazy. Seems like millions of people are still “underwater” on their mortgages, owing more than their home is worth, sometimes by the tens of thousands of dollars.
If you were thinking about moving to a bigger house or a different neighborhood for any reason other than sheer necessity, you might have just decided to stay put until things start to look up. I completely understand! Then there are strange people like me and my family. We move every couple of years, whether we want to or not, because that’s the military way. In fact, the higher my husband’s rank, the more frequently we move. We’ll probably only be in Nashville for two years–and yet, we still bought a house, but that was a calculated investment and probably a story for another day!
Yet because I’ve moved so often, lived in such a variety of houses, and looked at HUNDREDS of homes along the way, I think I’ve gained some wisdom through the process. We’ve bought houses; rented houses (as tenants and landlords); and staged, showed, and sold houses (we showed our house in Virginia Beach twenty-six times in a five week period; I nearly died!).
I also grew up with parents who worked in real estate and new home construction, and I spent weekends visiting model homes and checking out the competition. I’m just trying to give you my bona fides here since I’m also about to tell you what you can do to add to your home’s value!
Whether you want to improve your space for your own family’s enjoyment, or make your home more attractive before you put it on the market, most of the same rules apply. Homes in the same neighborhood might be listed at a similar price per square foot, but people will want to buy the one that has all the extra goodies in it! Don’t panic, though. Pick and choose according to your abilities and your budget, and let it be a process. If you’re considering putting your house on the market, then talk any improvements over with your agent. Sometimes the “must do’s” vary widely by location. It’s also wise to do one thing at a time; otherwise, you may find that your stamina (or money) runs out before the projects are finished, leaving you with unfinished projects all over your home.
Today I am starting with one of the greatest ways to add value to your home…
I’m noticing that lots of carpet on the lower level is OUT. The preferred flooring choice is sand and finish hardwood. Stains vary, as always, but wider planks and darker stains are the most popular in my area and are, in my opinion, the most up-to-date look. Pulling up carpet and installing hardwood is a pretty doable DIY project. Laminate works, too, if you’re on a tighter budget, although it’s not recommended in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms (if you’ve had the water line of your fridge break and leak, you know why). I prefer to see NO carpet at all on the first floor (this includes the master bedroom if the master is down), nor any on the steps.
Warning: before you pull ALL the carpet off your steps, check and see what’s underneath first. A lot of builders use plywood and other cheap materials when they know they’ll be carpeting the stairs. There are lots of blog tutorials out there about redoing this kind of stairway, although it does take a little more work. But, look at all the cool things you can do if you pull the carpet off your steps!
Traditional flooring, like this Heart of Pine that we had in my former home in North Carolina was gorgeous, but may not fit the style of homes in your area.
There is tons of great information about putting down hardwoods online and the different styles available, so do your research first. In the end, adding hardwood is a great way to add value to your home.
Have you done anything to add value to your home recently?