Written by Mike Cahill
The current housing market has many people considering buying or selling a home right now. Maybe you’ve checked to see how much you can afford, and you believe now might be a good time to list your house and upsize to a new one. Or maybe like so many others, your home is already under contract, and it’s time for an appraisal. Whichever the case, being aware of what hurts a home appraisal and how to increase the value of your home is always a great idea.
There are many things you can do to ensure your home is worth top dollar. When you’re deciding which improvements to implement, remember some improvements are more costly than others, and all should be weighed against the amount of value you’ll receive in return.
To get started, look for any areas of your home that could be improved. The home appraiser will be at your home for about 30 to 60 minutes, so your goal is to make their job easy by shining the brightest light possible on your home’s finest features. You’ll especially want to focus on areas that can hurt your home appraisal, which we have listed 7 of the most common ones below and how to fix them.
1) Poor curb appeal
How to Fix It: Trim up bushes and trees so they are tidy and neat. Add annuals or perennials for a pop of color and interest in what can otherwise be a sea of green grass.
Having a fresh coat of paint applied to the exterior of your home, your front door and shutters painted in a complementary color, and adding flower boxes to match your new landscape will all set the right tone for your home's appraisal.
Garage doors often comprise a good portion of the front of a house, and updating your garage doors with new ones is almost always a sure bet to increase value.
Don’t forget to stage the front porch with a couple of casual chairs and a colorful throw pillow to match the flowers in the yard.
2) Your home’s interior needs a lot of attention
How to Fix It: The first step toward having a showcase home is to thoroughly declutter and clean every room and closet. Because your goal is to show off your home’s best attributes, be sure to pack away personal items that can be distracting, like family photos and mementos. Hiring a professional organizer or declutterer can make this task a lot less daunting and make the project much quicker and easier.
You touched up the exterior paint, don’t forget that painting the interior is one of the easiest and least expensive improvements you can make. Neutral colors will appeal to more homebuyers and those same colors will help brighten any room.
What about your blinds and drapes? Are they dark or dated? You may want to invest in some new curtains that are trendy and colorful to bring a more modern look to your space. Are any of the slats in your blinds broken or dirty? Replace those that are damaged and clean any that need it.
Mirrors add depth and interest to any living space, indoors or out, and they help redirect sunlight throughout your home. To create a sense of space and openness, consider adding a mirror at the end of a hallway, or on a large living room wall.
Does your home have any “hidden” features? Features that might otherwise go unnoticed, such as space above the kitchen and dining room that could be updated for added storage could also add value to your home. Make sure they are accessible and that the appraiser is aware of them.
3) Your kitchen and bathrooms are outdated
How to Fix It: Kitchens and bathrooms are oftentimes what hurts a home appraisal but are also great places where value can be added to a home. In the kitchen, you can freshen things up by refacing cabinets and replacing outdated pulls, light fixtures, and countertops. Swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient appliances and updating your sink and faucet with a more modern one could be just what your kitchen needs. You can even install recessed lighting under the cabinets which is not only functional but gives the kitchen a finished look.
In your bathrooms, cabinets can be updated with paint. If you have a builder’s grade mirror, give it a new look by adding a wooden frame around it. The frame can also be painted to match the cabinets. Install a new faucet and light fixture and include a bright shower curtain to add a splash of color.
4) Your bedrooms and laundry room are dark and small
How to Fix It: Bedrooms will look cleaner and brighter with clutter removed and a fresh coat of paint. Replace any curtains that are too dark and add a closet organization system to your bedroom closets to make the most of the space available. To open up small bedrooms, you can strategically place an appropriately sized mirror in a corner or forgo a headboard on the bed. Instead, hang two complementary pictures above the bed where the headboard would typically be.
Survey your laundry room. Because these rooms are often smaller than other rooms in the house, walls painted a bright, snow-white help add a sense of openness and airiness. Adding storage bins or shelves if there are none will help reduce the clutter, make the space more organized, and keep laundry detergents and fabric softeners out of sight.
5) Your basement is unfinished
How to Fix It: Too often basements are unfinished spaces used only for storage. To increase the value of your home, store items elsewhere, and turn the basement into usable living space which will add to your home’s total square footage. By adding walls, an acoustic drop tile ceiling, and flooring you’ve got the beginnings of a second living room, children’s play area, exercise area, or even a media room. You can also customize the space to fit your current needs. Adding square footage and livable space to your home is one of the easiest ways for increasing your home's value.
6) You home systems need replacing
How to Fix It: Big-ticket items can be costly to update, but they often have a good return on investment. Examples of big-ticket items are replacing the roof, installing a new HVAC system, updating windows with new energy-efficient ones, and installing or replacing exterior siding, which eliminates the need to scrape and paint every few years.
If your home needs to have the electrical system updated, it would be beneficial to make the change before listing the house, since an inspection would likely point out the need for it, and you could delay, or worse, lose a sale as a result.
The same goes for any plumbing issues you may have been experiencing recently. If you’ve noticed a leak, make sure it’s repaired, and that stains are appropriately cleaned and concealed.
7) Your home has no outdoor living space
How to Fix It: Patios and decks create additional gathering spaces for grilling, relaxing, or entertaining. If you have a patio or deck that’s cracked or uneven, consider hiring a professional to replace or repair your outdoor living space.
Value can also be added to your home by installing a deck if you don’t already have one. Maybe your deck is in good shape structurally but doesn’t look as good as it once did. In that case, consider refinishing it using either paint or stain. Both help to extend the life of the wood and look beautiful once the job is done.
You want the appraisal process to go smoothly and provide the most value for your house. As you can see, making a few improvements here and there can go a long way toward adding value to your home.
Originally published on Redfin
Here are tips to help you avoid garage door scams.
- Don’t always call the first company that pops up when you search for local garage door service or emergency garage door repair. Scammers are notorious for buying digital ads to keep these types of calls rolling in because that is when homeowners are most vulnerable.
- Listen for background noise when you call the garage door company. If it sounds like you have reached a call center, chances are the company is not local or reputable.
- Search online to find out if the company has a local building address or showroom and view the property on Google Maps.
- Read customer reviews!
- Make sure the employee is driving a truck with the specific company’s name and is wearing a shirt with the company name and logo.
- Use dealer locators on garage door manufacturer websites. Major manufacturers have a “Where to Buy” page that lists reputable garage door dealers who service their products in your market. These companies invest in training their service technicians and uphold standards recommended by the International Door Association and Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association.
- Garage door scammers often operate under multiple generic names, like Garage Door Services, or a name slightly different than an established reputable local garage door dealer. When you call, make sure to ask the representative what the name of their company is — don’t provide the name for them.
Will investing in a new garage door increase the value and curb appeal of your home? Absolutely!
A study by Remodeling magazine found that replacing the garage door gives homeowners more return on investment (ROI) than any other home remodeling project. Replacing your garage door improves the appearance of your house, which increases its resale value.
The Remodeling survey compared “typical home-improvement project costs with what those projects contribute to a home’s price at resale.” The 2019 survey calculated the average cost versus value for 22 popular home remodeling projects in nine U.S. regions and 136 U.S. markets. The study revealed that the cost for an upscale garage door replacement was $3,611 and the estimated value at resale was $3,520. This was a 97.5% ROI, which far exceeds the 66% average for other remodeling projects.
According to the report, “the reason for high returns on exterior projects, and especially façade facelifts, stems from the valuations set by the real-estate community.”
Exterior projects give more ROI
One takeaway from the survey was the higher ROI that comes from exterior renovations, as opposed to interior projects. Outside of the garage door, the top projects include:
When it comes to maximizing the value of your project, it’s clear that curb appeal is king.
From Amarr Garage Doors:
The 2020 International Door Association Expo was held March 2-6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Entrematic’s booth was filled with exciting new Amarr products, proving that Amarr continues to bring innovation to the market, with the focus this year on modern, contemporary looks that are in demand by consumers nationwide! Couldn’t go? We’ve rounded up the four hottest upcoming Amarr products shown at IDA Expo 2020.
Amarr prism diamond weave pattern
Arguably the hottest new Amarr product shown at IDA was the Amarr Prism door, a 2” unique diamond weave pattern steel door. “The Amarr Prism door appears like a modern, flush door from a distance, but as you approach the door the Diamond Weave design creates more interest and uniqueness. In addition, the Diamond Weave embossment adds more strength and durability as compared to a smooth flush door and makes minor scratches less visible,” says Maura DelVecchio, Residential Product Manager. Offered as a 2” polyurethane insulated door, the Diamond Weave design is available in 4 residential colors in the Amarr Prism collection and in 5 commercial colors in Amarr 2742. Projected availability Q3 2020.
Smooth flush commercial door
Fulfilling the need for contemporary styling with commercial applications, the new smooth flush panel option was a hit at the Entrematic IDA booth. This design has no embossment or shadow line, providing a clean, contemporary look to highlight modern architecture in commercial office buildings, retail establishments or high-tech apartments. Projected availability Q3 2020.
amarr classica flush panel
The Amarr Classica door in Flush Panel, shown in the Entrematic IDA booth with Mosaic Window Options, is made with only three sections to create a wider span of flush panels. This results in an even sleeker, modern looking door. The Amarr Classica Flush panel door with Mosaic Window Options will be available to place in any standard position for a modern window look or a simulated Full View look. This door also provides a perfect base for dealer-made overlay doors. Projected availability Q4 2020.
Bordeaux Color for Amarr Aluminum Full View and MultiView doors
Amarr debuted a new anodize color, Bordeaux, for Aluminum Full View (Amarr Vista VI1000 and Amarr 3552) and MultiView (Amarr Horizon HO1000 and Amarr 3582) residential and commercial doors. This wine red color adds another beautiful and stylish option for the modern aluminum and glass doors. Projected availability Q3 2020.
Your garage door is a very busy part of your house. Fact: garage doors open and close at an average of 1,500 times every year. You probably do not pay that much attention to your garage door because it is easy not to; it is a smooth and efficient system, one of the conveniences that make modern life easy.
But everyday use, combined with the changing of seasons every year, will surely take its toll on your garage door over time. At first you will not notice the little details - small dents, chipped paint, rust spots or scratches here and there. The good thing is that this kind of damage is pretty easy to take care of. However, things get a little more difficult when your garage door opener - the device that allows you to open and close your garage door with the touch of a button - starts giving you problems. The most common garage door problems can be remedied either by little tweaks here and there, or by calling in the pros who would be more than happy to fix the issue for you. However, not all garage door problems could be solved through repairs. Sometimes, the problem could only be solved by having a new garage door installed.
But how do you know when repairs are enough or when you need to have your garage door replaced? Here are seven signs that point to a need for a new garage door:
1. You see your garage door repair professional more and more often. If you find yourself calling in for help at an increasing rate, then it is probably high time to have your garage door replaced. Garage doors require regular maintenance, which will only increase in frequency over the years. While there is completely nothing wrong with repairing your garage door, there are times when mere repairs cannot remedy the issue anymore. Even if repairs would provide a temporary fix-up, you would still need to have a new garage door in order to save yourself the headache of dealing with a problematic garage door and to avoid costly repetitive repairs.
2. Your energy bills are rising, despite no changes in consumption. Is your energy bill higher than usual? Your old garage door might be the culprit. The garage door serves as an entryway for most homes, and if your garage door is rather old, it is probably not insulated like newer, more modern models. Why do you need an insulated garage door? A garage door with cracks or gaps or an uninsulated or improperly insulated garage door might let outside temperatures in your home, especially if you have an attached garage. When this happens, your AC or your heater has to work harder than usual in order to keep indoor temperatures stable, using up more energy and upping your energy costs. Replacing your old garage door with one that has the right insulation will help you in conserving energy and making your home more comfortable.
3. Your garage door has become noticeably noisy. New garage doors operate smoothly and quietly. Over time, however, your garage door can start making noises that might seem like a minor inconvenience that could be remedied by lubrication or simple repairs. When minor repairs cannot get rid of the noise, and the noise begins to sound like your garage door is straining to open or close, then you probably need to have a new garage door installed.
4. Your garage door is more than 20 years old. Garage doors have a typical lifespan of 30 years. If you have an old home, then chances are, you have an old garage door as well. Aside from the normal wear and tear that your old garage door has gone through, it could also be opening and closing slowly and be less efficient in conserving energy, especially because it does not have the right amount of insulation modern garage doors have.
5. Your garage door looks worse for wear. An old garage door does not just function less efficiently. It also looks old…and ugly. Sure, the cracks, gaps and rusted parts could easily be mended by a coat of fresh paint maybe. But when your garage door looks like it has gone through a tough beating, then you might want to start thinking about replacing it. A garage door can take up a big area of your home’s façade, and can influence curb appeal a great deal. Even if you are not one to grandly spruce up your house, an unappealing garage door will make your house look like it is falling into a state of disrepair, and therefore uninviting. Today’s garage doors come in many styles, colors and materials. By replacing your unattractive garage door with one that matches your preferences and the architectural style of your home, your home will be much more appealing.
6. Your garage door does not have features modern garage doors have. New and modern garage doors come with built-in features that older models do not have. These include technology features like mobile apps that can operate the garage door, and more stringent security and safety features, as well as insulation and even bottom rubber seals. Older garage door models are not only less efficient because they do not have insulation or these other features; they are also less safe and more prone to burglary because their remote controls have fixed codes that could easily be hacked, unlike today’s garage doors.
7. You want to sell your home. As mentioned in the previous points, garage doors make or break the appearance of a home. If you want to sell your home, then you have to make sure that everything about it is visually appealing. A new garage door will help attract potential buyers and increase the value of your home. This means that the more attractive and appealing your home is, the higher you can sell it for, the higher the return for your investment.
Should you replace garage door with a new one? If your door functions without flaw or has minor issues that could be easily fixed, then slight repairs are enough. But if you see one or more of the above-mentioned signs, then it is probably time for a new garage door. Looking for a high-quality garage door? Give CCM Overhead Doors a call and we’ll help you choose a garage door that fits your preferences and your budget.