Want to raise the value of your home?
The Time to Reinforce Your Home is Now!
There are two main reasons people take on home improvement projects: for safety purposes and in hopes of increasing the resale value of their homes. When you spend time and money for the first reason, you will be making a worthy investment, but you won't necessarily see a return on that investment. It's when you start thinking more about the second reason that you may be able to make it a profitable investment. There are many factors that go into buying a home, and likewise into selling a home. Many of those factors can be costly BUT avoidable. There are not only structural issues to be concerned with, but also things such as insurance, which in California has a lot to do with earthquake retrofitting Codes.
So, what improvements do add value? It's the highly visible improvements that will impress most, but it is the less visible ones that add more resale value to your home. New energy-efficient doors and windows are not likely to recoup the cost of installation (However, if you are going to continue living in your home for the next few years, $1,000 spent on insulation and caulking existing windows and doors can help you save on your energy bills).
The biggest home improvement you can do to impress homebuyers (and make them want to pay more) is in regards to safety and structural stability. When you repair structural problems you will appeal to a wide audience - having structural issues or a property that is not up to code can prevent the house from being insurable and be unattractive to potential buyers - by fixing it ahead of time you'll increase appeal. Likewise drainage problems can be similar. Flooding and water damage are not only structurally damaging but they can be very dangerous to your health. If you were to go view a potential home and saw areas that obviously showed water damage, how would you feel about buying that property?
So, what else is worth doing? You may have a concrete foundation or concrete around your home. If the concrete in your home has any cracks it can be very unappealing to potential buyers. Getting rid of outdated concrete or repairing cracked concrete can be the difference between selling to a particular buyer or not! On that note, cracks in your paint and stucco can also be unsightly. Most buyers are aware that this can be an indication of a more serious problem. Some people have tried to just patch over and cosmetically hide the damage, it is risky though because not only are there disclosure laws regarding these types of issues, but most home buyers will be well educated and look for just such a thing.
Landscaping can also improve curb appeal and salability of a home, but don't spend thousands on hiring a professional (it won't increase the value anywhere near that much). Tackling landscaping projects is something you can do yourself instead.
Keep this advice in mind before you open your pocketbook to hire contracts and buy materials for massive remodeling projects. While recouping your investment is very important, if you're going to spend a lot, make sure it's - first and foremost - for the safety of yourself and your family, with resale value of the house a distant second consideration.