When housing costs are high, it’s hard to imagine that your home could ever go down in value. But the truth is it can, particularly if you aren’t actively maintaining your home. If you neglect small repairs, over time these issues can become large — i.e., expensive — problems that can drag down the resale value of your home.
Whether you plan to sell in the near or far-off future, here are some simple (and relatively low-cost) ways to maintain — or even increase — the value of your home over time.
Update, Update, Update
If a home that’s for sale has an updated anything, the real estate listing will scream it out in ALL CAPS. This can apply to appliances, cabinetry, countertops, flooring, bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels, and more.
If your kitchen is due for an update, try to keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean stripping it to the studs and starting from scratch. Are the cabinets in good shape? Consider a fresh coat of paint or stain to reflect the latest color trends.
In addition, something as simple as upgrading to matching appliances or installing a garbage disposal or water filtration system could help maintain value — even if they’re not top-of-the-line.
Also keep in mind that “update” means bringing the home’s aesthetics into line with current styles — replacing brass fixtures for brushed bronze, for example, or swapping out carpet for wood. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean having to buy the most expensive version of that aesthetic.
Something as simple as adding some USB outlets to a room could turn it into a potential home office space.
Other, more expensive updates might adjust the actual layout of the home. If your current house only has one bathroom, is it possible to find a space for another half bath? Are there unused rooms or wasted space that could be updated to become more functional?
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Keeping Your Roof in Good Repair
Replacing a roof is costly, so it’s a good idea to do what you can to extend the life of your current roof as long as possible. A roof that shows signs of wear and tear can also be a big red flag to potential home buyers.
To maintain the value of your roof (and avoid other costly problems like leaks), you’ll want to replace any missing shingles or damaged areas as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to have your roof cleaned regularly to remove any algae, moss, and mold that can damage the roof over time. Finally, be sure to get your gutters cleaned regularly so water can drain rather than collect on your roof.
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Keeping Your Exterior Paint in Good Shape
Maintaining your home’s exterior paint not only helps your house look attractive and well-cared-for but also protects it from moisture. When paint starts peeling, water can find a way in, which can cause your siding to rot over time. Replacing sections of your siding can end up being a much costlier project than periodically freshening up your paint.
It’s a good idea to give your exterior paint job a look-over once a year to see if you any areas may need attention. This can help your paint job last longer and save money in the long run.
Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs
Maintaining your yard is a lot of work if you do it yourself, and costly if you hire a landscaper. But neglect can cause dead branches or an entire tree to fall in a heavy rain or wind storm, and can cause significant damage to your home. Overgrown shrubs can also bring unwanted bugs close to, and eventually inside, your home (more on that below).
It can be worth hiring a tree expert to evaluate and, if necessary, prune your trees once a year. You can regularly trim back hedges and bushes yourself or hire a landscaper to do the job.
Upgrading Energy Efficiency
Making your home more energy efficient is one of those goals that’s great not only if you’re selling, but also if you want to reduce spending on utility bills. And it doesn’t just mean big investments like switching to solar or wind-powered energy. Making your home more energy efficient can also be as simple as replacing bad weather seals, ensuring that the attic has sufficient insulation, paying attention to the air and heating systems, and using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances.
Upgrading the energy efficiency of your home is something that might even be rolled in with another project, such as maintenance or updating.
Installing Smart Tech
Even if your home is more than 100 years old, adding smart tech can make it 21st-century ready. Smart home assistants like Google or Alexa, for example, can control everything from the lights to the TV to locking the front door.
They can also allow you to remotely control your heating and air temperatures, make sure the oven is actually turned off, and even give you a sense of security with security systems or video door bells. In order for the home assistants to accomplish all of these features, additional smart appliances may be required.
While some types of home tech are hard-wired into the house and others are more portable, even being able to say “wired for surround sound” can be a bonus on a home listing.
Smart home tech is not only quickly becoming a must-have for many homebuyers, adding it to your home can be a perk even if you have no immediate plans to move.
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Keeping the Bugs at Bay
One important job that comes with homeownership is keeping unwanted critters outside where they belong. Public enemy No. 1 in this category? Termites. They can wreak havoc on a home’s wood structures leading to costly repairs.
The problem is so widespread that some home loan companies require buyers to get a “termite letter,” which is basically a guarantee that the home is free from termite damage.
DIY recommendations for keeping the pests at bay can also check off items on the home maintenance list, including keeping gutters and downspouts flowing, filling in any places where water pools around the home or in the yard, filling in cracks in the foundation, pruning shrubbery close to the home, and keeping air vents free and clear.
Beyond termites and the havoc they wreak, there are a variety of other living creatures that can cause damage to a home or surrounding property, including attic squatters like mice or raccoons, carpenter bees, moles, mosquitoes, and even grasshoppers that brunch on beautiful landscaping.
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Making Improvements Affordable
While some home maintenance projects are relatively low cost, others require a more significant investment. Before sinking a lot of money into a home maintenance or improvement project, it can be a good idea to use a Home Project Value Estimator that can help determine whether it’s a smart investment.
If you decide to move forward on the project, you’ll want to get estimates from at least three different contractors. Once you know the cost of the project, your next question may be, how are you going to pay for it?
For a small to midsize home maintenance project, you might consider using a home improvement loan. Unlike a home equity loan, these are unsecured personal loans — meaning your home isn’t used as collateral to secure the loan. Lenders decide how much to lend to you and at what rate based on your financial credentials, such as your credit score, income, and how much other debt you have.
With a home improvement personal loan, you receive a lump sum of cash up front you can then use to cover the costs of your home project. You repay the loan (plus interest) in regular installments over the term of the loan, which is often five or seven years.
If you think a personal loan might work well for your home maintenance project, SoFi could help. SoFi’s home improvement loans range from $5K-$100K and offer competitive, fixed rates and a variety of terms. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.
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