5 Smart Home Upgrades That Increase the Value of Your Property
Authored by: Beth Kotz
Boosting the value of a property may conjure up images of backbreaking labor or $20,000 renovation bills, but the reality is that you need not put yourself in debt or work your fingers to the bone. In fact, modern homeowners now have an abundance of options for improving property values and creating a safer, more convenient and more efficient home. To make the process even simpler, let’s take a look at a few of the most popular and effective home upgrades and how they deliver a bang for your home improvement buck.
A Recipe for Higher Home Values
The kitchen has traditionally been a go-to option for cooking up higher property values, and the same is still true today. Kitchen renovations consistently bring a higher return on investment than most other improvement projects, and you don’t need to pay a fortune to make it happen. Just a few thousand dollars is enough to completely revitalize a kitchen that’s become stale and outdated. New appliances are always a hit, and outfitting your kitchen with complementary flooring and countertops is sure to create a stunning first impression on prospective homebuyers.
Cast Your Home in a New Light
Adding new windows to let more natural light into a room is a fantastic way to liven up and add value to a home, but it’s not the only way you can leverage the power of sunlight. Adding a roof-mounted solar panel system to your home is by far the most expensive venture on this list – costing about $12,500 on average – but it’s also among the most rewarding. A rooftop solar array can save $10,000 to $70,000 on utility bills over the duration of the typical 25-year warranty, and studies have shown that buyers are more than willing to pay a premium for a solar-equipped home. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to significantly reduce the total cost of installation through tax credits, rebates and other incentives.
An Efficient Home is a Valuable Home
Even if a solar array seems a little too ambitious, it pays to consider the overall efficiency of your home. Energy efficiency has become one of the hottest topics in real estate, and ignoring the trend is simply leaving money on the table when it comes time to sell. Adding quality insulation and installing ENERGY STAR windows and doors are proven value-boosting tactics, but it’s also worth considering more visible upgrades. Installing a new energy-efficient water heater can produce real savings and help prove your home’s efficiency bona fides, and high-efficiency LED lighting will also appeal to many buyers. To maximize efficiency, convenience and value, you may even wish to explore smart lighting options.
Keep Your Home Running Smoothly
The simple fact is that no one wants a home they feel requires excessive work to maintain. While things like engineered hardwood floors, stainless steel fixtures and freshly updated plumbing systems may seem like small details, you – and prospective homebuyers – will appreciate the smoother, worry-free living they provide. Investing in a high-quality central HVAC system is a great move as well, as it often comes with reduced energy use as well as fewer maintenance headaches. The same can be said of using smart products to inject a little intelligence into your home. A smart thermostat can optimize your HVAC system and shave 12 to 15 percent off your heating and cooling costs, and a few well-placed smart leak detectors can help you keep a better eye on your plumbing system without costing an arm and a leg.
Go Green to Get Some Green
The great outdoors is a wonderful place to play with your children, host gatherings or just unwind after a hard day’s work, but you may be losing out on a lot of money if your outdoors isn’t particularly “great.” There’s no need to spring for elaborate landscaping and lush greenery, but simply keeping your lawn well-maintained and planting a few tasteful shrubs may make all the difference when it comes to creating a stellar first impression. If your home is subject to water restrictions, installing a smart sprinkler controller bearing the WaterSense label can significantly reduce water waste.
No matter your budget or do-it-yourself abilities, there are plenty of avenues for giving your home value a boost. With today’s emphasis on technology and a growing awareness of climate and energy concerns, it’s no surprise that the real estate market is especially responsive to smart home tech and other upgrades aimed at boosting efficiency. Whether you’re just looking to add some value to your property or you aspire to flip your way into your dream home, the home improvement projects above are sure to put you on the right path.
Beth Kotz is a freelance writer and contributor for numerous home, technology, and personal finance blogs. She graduated with BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, IL where she continues to live and work.