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13 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

Good news! There are many ways to increase your home’s value without taking on expensive remodeling projects. Instead of hiring a contractor, focus on both appreciating the extant things that boost your home’s value and the small improvements you can do yourself.

Let’s dive in.

Here are 13 things you may already have or that you can do quite easily to increase your home’s value—and some may surprise you!

1. Some impressive trees. Money may not grow on trees, but home value does when trees shade the house and yard. According to “Green Cities: Good Health,” a study by the University of Washington College of the Environment, a mature tree in a yard added 2% to a home’s price. Mature trees visible in high-income neighborhoods add 10% to 15% to property values.

2. Close proximity to military bases. Homes near a military base increase its value by 34.8% on average, according to a Zillow report. Army bases are valued at $50,000 more than the national median, whereas houses near Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine bases are valued at $90,000 or more than the U.S. median.

3. Original flooring. Wood floors are highly sought after by homebuyers because any damage can be sanded out and refinished extremely easily. Keeping your genuine, even aged or worn original wood floors is more desirable to buyers than purchasing and installing newer hardwood or laminate flooring.

4. An attic or basement bedroom. Gone are the days an attic or basement bedroom is considered a quirky feature. Many potential buyers think they are a great use of commonly overlooked areas of the home, especially for extra storage space.

5. A nearby coffee shop. A study from Zillow executives found that homes less than a mile from a Starbucks increased in value about 30% faster than homes farther away. The study also found that there is a correlation between increased home values and other coffee shops, like Dunkin’, for example.

The Zillow study also concluded that properties with a local Trader Joe’s had appreciated 40%, while homes with a nearby Whole Foods appreciated 34%. The rise in-home value doesn’t happen overnight when a popular business opens locally, but over time, the presence of a popular store can have a positive impact on market value.

6. Your neighbor’s lawn. Sometimes it’s not enough to take care of your own property. A poorly maintained lawn next door or across the street from your home can make your property less desirable—which is especially bad news if your home is for sale.

If you have a neighbor whose lawn is a mess, you may want to offer to mow the neighbor’s lawn and help tidy the yard.

Here are some small improvements you can do yourself that can increase your home’s value.

7. A black front door. Painting your front door any shade of black can boost your home’s sale price by over $6,200, on average, according to Zillow.

The second-most powerful combination—living rooms that are painted light taupe or gray— boosted sale prices about $2,800, according to the analysis.

8. New ceiling light fixtures. Anything that makes your home appear lighter, brighter and cleaner can increase its value. This includes ceiling light fixtures in bedrooms and hallways. It’s not enough for the light covers to be functional. Replace any light fixtures that are cracked or discolored; they’ll make your home seem fresh and updated.

9. New light switch and outlet covers. Similar to ceiling light fixtures, discolored or cracked light switch and outlet covers can make your home seem neglected. Replacing these covers is an easy way to make your rooms look better, and they are relatively inexpensive to replace.

10. New bathroom caulk. When caulk becomes moldy and cracked, it’s an immediate turnoff for potential homebuyers. Replacing it will create a noticeable improvement in your bathroom’s appearance and the minimal cost makes replacing caulk a must-do.

Caulking requires some patience, but no special skills. Once the old material is removed, it’s rather easy to replace it using a squeezable plastic tube for smaller projects. You can use a caulking gun for larger jobs.

11. Tightened doorknobs and oiled hinges. Nothing says neglect louder than a rattling or squeaking door. Prospective buyers will be immediately turned off. A cheap and easy way to add value is to make sure that all door handles, locks and hinges are in good working order, Forbes reports. A screwdriver and can of lubricant may be the only tools you’ll need.

12. Outdoor lighting. One quick way to refresh your home’s curb appeal is to install outdoor lighting. This aesthetic can add up to 20% on the perceived value of your home and also improves yard safety. Experts recommend installing LED accent lighting and lighting in the front and back yards.

Tip: Some of the best professional photos for placing your home on the market happen at dusk. Turn on all of the interior lights and wait for the newly-installed exterior lighting to flip on. The result? Outstanding photos that make your home stand out from the rest.

13. Smart home technology. Home buyers increasingly want smart home technology and they’re willing to pay more for it. So which technology should you install? The two most popular items were smart home security systems and smart home climate controls. To a lesser extent, home buyers also want smart lighting.

These simple ideas can increase your home’s value without hiring anyone or draining your wallet. It’s just a matter of acknowledging and appreciating what already stands, and adding a few DIY tasks.

Resources: MoneyTalksNews, JLC Remodeling, realtor.com, The University of Washington, Zillow.com, PRWeb, Harvard Business School, Forbes