Say you're thinking of selling a home in Ulster County and want to boost its value, or perhaps you'd simply like to do some improvements that would be worthwhile. Where does one start? When doing home improvements, you always want to be sure that you're increasing the overall value of your home, while not over-spending and/or putting too much money into an unworthy investment. As Realtors, we here at Taft Street Realty have some tips and advice that can help you prioritize your home improvements based on value and ROI, which stands for "return on investment". So get your imagination flowing because without further ado, here are the best ways to increase home values in Ulster County NY!
1) The Kitchen Is Still King
We've all heard the saying, "the kitchen is the heart of the home". That still holds true with regards to Ulster County real estate and home values. The style and condition of a kitchen can make or break a sale, so if you're selling your home or just doing some home improvements, the kitchen is a very logical place to start. What changes can be made? Whether you have a modern home for sale or an elegant restored farmhouse, appliances are a crucial part of the kitchen. When buyers walk into a kitchen, one of the first things they tend to ask themselves is, "Will I need to replace these appliances?" If the answer is "Yes" they will factor in those costs while negotiating.
Think you need to replace your appliances? Taft Street Realty recommends spending the extra money to get either top-of-the-line, or big brand name kitchen appliances. Stainless steel appliances are very popular among today's buyers so if you can afford them, go for it! Another big concern among buyers these days is energy efficiency. This is another case where Taft Street recommends investing a little more money in order to get that High Efficiency washer for instance - as you will likely see a return on this investment! Remember not to overspend however! A starter home or investment property will likely not need a gourmet kitchen or Wolf Range wouldn't fit in a $150K ranch for example. Get the appropriate kitchen for the style and price point of the home, but within these parameters Taft Street recommends spending a little extra to get quality appliances!
Already have new and/or updated appliances? There are other things homeowners can do to spruce up their kitchen aside from upgrading the stove or refrigerator. New cabinetry can completely change the look of a kitchen and give it a second life. Not to say that new cabinets are cheaper than new appliances, in fact it can be quite the opposite. But upgraded cabinetry is been proven to show big returns. A less expensive way to revive your cabinets is to re-paint existing cabinetry; provided the original cabinets are in good shape and the paint color accentuates the existing kitchen. Changing the hardware (knobs & handles) on cabinets along with fresh paint can give a kitchen a whole new look while at the same time saving money!
Another way to transform a kitchen's look is through new countertops. Again Taft Street Realty recommends going the extra mile for quality materials. Beautiful granite countertops can make buyers just fall in love with your kitchen (and your home)! There are less expensive alternatives to granite as well! Engineered stone can be made to resemble a variety if natural stones and other materials such as corian, soap stone are "granite-like" and becoming very popular. We're also seeing poured concrete used as a beautiful (and affordable) surface for countertops! So if you want to increase your home's value but don't know where to begin, you can't go wrong with the kitchen!
2) Think Fixtures & Lighting and Buy Into Green Energy!
Lighting fixtures and creative lighting are another area where Ulster County home owners can upgrade and make a big difference! There are many new, unique, and stylish forms of lighting hitting the market these days; homeowners should really look into this relatively affordable upgrade. Want to draw attention to some custom shelves or show off your kitchen? Creative lighting fixtures, track lighting, etc. are great upgrades that can have a big impact. You can also use lighting techniques outside to enhance your home! (see below)
As we mentioned earlier, buyers today are concerned with energy efficiency and environmentally friendly building & home products. Sellers should take note and cater to these preferences. The bottom line is energy efficiency is the way of the future so investing in environmentally friendly materials and appliances will definitely be a return on investment; either in the form of an eager buyer who loves your home or the long-term savings associated with an energy efficient appliance for instance. So for a relatively inexpensive upgrade, look into new lighting fixtures; and from now on when purchasing anything from appliances to materials, think green because that's what buyers prefer!
3) Curb Appeal Is Priceless!
We can't stress it enough, good curb appeal is priceless and therefore a good investment! First impressions are crucial, so sellers want to make the most of that first impression. There are a number of things you can do to improve the curb appeal of your home, from more expensive changes to quick fixes for relatively cheap! No matter what you do decide to do, you can rest assured it will be a good investment. Need some ideas? The front door is sometimes looked at as the centerpiece of the home's exterior. Is yours in good condition or should you replace it? Perhaps a fresh coat of paint is needed? (Consider colors that "pop" for your door). Do you have shutters or trim on your windows that are an accent color? A fresh paint job on any trim can also work wonders on a home's exterior.
Don't forget landscaping! Flowers or shrubs around your door or lining a walkway are a nice way to add color. A fresh layer of mulch around shrubs and the base of trees will give the home a fresh and clean look. Stonework, be it a pathway or wall(s), is very popular in Upstate NY real estate. Exterior lights are becoming popular as well, so that your front door, a pathway, or that beautiful tree on your property glows elegantly in the evening.
If you don't have any money to invest in curb appeal, don't worry! This is one area where your own elbow grease can go a long way. Maintaining your property over the long-term is always a good investment. Particularly if your home is on the market, do your best to always keep your lawn trimmed and your steps/walkway/ front porch swept clean. Remember that a potential buyer could drive by and any time! So if you're planning on selling your home, or want to invest and add value, focus on curb appeal and you can't go wrong!
Solid Advice on How to Add More Value to Your Home
You can increase your home's value in a number of ways. Updating the kitchen is always a safe bet, or invest in good curb appeal! When purchasing appliances and materials, think green from now on and go that extra mile for good quality! Better yet, contact an Ulster County real estate expert who can give you solid advice on how to add more value to your home.