How Do I Increase the Value of My Home?

In my time spent as an appraiser, I was often asked the question; how do I increase the value of my home? Being an appraiser, homeowners expected me to give a quick-fix-sure-fire answer that would instantly double their investment. Most expected an answer like “finish your basement” or “add a bathroom” or “turn the garage into living space”. In some instances, an additional bathroom will significantly increase your home’s value. And yes, in some instances, finishing a basement will significantly increase your home’s value.
But in all instances, including market decline and market incline, regular home maintenance will promote best market value and give you the most “bang for your buck”. Home systems that should be regularly maintained include, but are not limited to, plumbing systems, gutter systems and crawl spaces. Failing to inspect and perform routine maintenance to either of these systems could lead to expensive repairs that will increase depreciation and severely decrease the appraised value of your home.
Plumbing problems can be a nuisance and cause disaster if they are not repaired immediately. Water damage caused by plumbing problems has a “domino effect” leading to other costly repairs. For example, a leaky bathroom sink could destroy wood cabinetry. In severe cases, water could reach the floor, causing structural problems.
Gutters and downspouts are often overlooked. Properly maintained gutters channel water away from the roof of the home, to the downspouts and away from the foundation. Poorly maintained gutters often lead to roof problems as well as foundation problems. When a gutter is clogged with leaves and other debris, water will not drain to the downspouts and will instead flow over the side of your house. Downspouts direct water away from the homes foundation. Water that is not diverted away from the foundation will cause soil erosion, weakening the foundation and, over time, could result in uneven floors and cracks in a foundation.
Crawl spaces should be clean and well vented. Vents in crawl areas help reduce moisture and humidity levels by allowing air to flow freely. Excessive amounts of moisture and humidity attract mold and termites. A fan placed in the crawl space is the best way to reduce humidity. Floors are also directly affected by high levels of humidity in a crawl area. After being subjected to extended periods of moisture, the floor support above the crawl area will begin to rot and result in unlevel floors. Properly functioning gutters and downspouts help alleviate moisture in crawl areas.
So, as you can see, routine home maintenance is a wise investment – unequivocally providing you with the most “bank for your buck”. Always include routine maintenance in your home improvement budget. Failure to do so can leave you with a depreciated asset and an empty wallet!