12 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Home Resale Value | Guest Post

How do you convince them to pick your property, and at the price you want? In this article, we’ll look at simple renovations that increase the value of your Denver home. You’ll improve its curb appeal, and attract more affluent buyers who are willing to spend more for their “dream home.”
Brian Rudderow

It’s a good time to sell Denver property at a profit—but you may have to work a little harder to get it.

Last year, there was a huge “buying frenzy” that led to bidding wars and 91 percent of homes getting snapped up within a month of being listed (Zillow report).

Now, the Denver housing market has balanced out. You can still get a good price for your property: the median sales price of $555,000 is 15% higher than last year’s, and more than 61% of homes sell above the list price (Redfin). But buyers are taking longer to close the deal, and like to compare amenities and features.

How do you convince them to pick your property, and at the price you want? In this article, we’ll look at simple renovations that increase the value of your Denver home. You’ll improve its curb appeal, and attract more affluent buyers who are willing to spend more for their “dream home.”

Update your flooring

In a survey by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), 99 percent of Realtors® said that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell, and 95% of them said that they sell for a higher price.

The big trend now is dark wood like mahogany and walnut. They hide dirt better, and the rich color ages beautifully. They also look pair well with almost all popular design trends, from minimalist to modern Southwest.

However, prepare to invest a lot of money. Brazilian walnut, tigerwood or mahogany planks can cost as much as $14. If you’re on a budget, consider buying a cheaper wood like pine or oak, and then asking your floor installer to add a stain. That could slash 30 percent off your flooring costs.

And here’s a tip from Denver renovation experts: always order about 10 percent more wood than you need, in case some of these have defects or cracks that may become even more obvious after they’re stained.

Renovate the kitchen

The kitchen is a deal-maker for many home shoppers, and according to CNN, millennial homeowners list “a modern kitchen” as one of the top three things on their list.

The simplest and most affordable fix is repainting walls and cabinets, and adding stylish hardware. You don’t have to buy the most expensive handles and accessories in the store. Just make everything look coordinated, from the type of metal you use to the colors of your countertops and flooring.

If your kitchen desperately needs a new look, you can do a “small” makeover that includes new sink and fixtures, laminate countertops, new cabinets and drawers, and resilient flooring. This can cost about $15,000 for about 30 feet of floor space.

If you’ve got deeper pockets, or are selling a Denver property worth more than $500,000 then invest in stone countertops. It can increase the house selling price by 3 percent to 7 percent even if you don’t buy the top-of-the-line material.

While marble and granite will always be popular, quartz has become more appealing to the younger market because it resists stains and scratches, and requires less upkeep. You can tell potential homebuyers that they’ll spend less time cleaning—definitely a plus for young parents and busy couples!

Add a home office space

Colorado Homes; Lifestyle magazine named home office spaces as one of the top design trends of 2021.

As more people work from home, a dedicated work area is just as important as a kitchen and dining room. Simple renovations include adding shelves and storage space, but you can go the extra step to make the area even more inspiring and comfortable—such as good lighting or ventilation or big windows.

If you’re selling a small home, then scour interior design magazines for small office ideas using lofts or even the empty space under the stairs. With a few changes, you add an extra “room” to your property and set yourself apart from other homes with a similar size.

All hands on deck

Fix up the deck and the surrounding garden area. Replace any loose or rotten planks, then refresh it with a dark stain. This is more cost-effective than spending on expensive wood, since it will get a beating from the elements anyway.

Then, you’ll only need a few very cheap additions to make this place extra cozy and inviting. You can add outdoor lighting or fairy lights, then a few plants.

The point is to help prospective homeowners imagine what they can do there. Once they’re already mentally planning barbecues or a quiet cup of afternoon tea, you’re already halfway to sealing the deal.

Fix up the bathroom

Like the kitchen, the bathroom is another area that the buyer closely scrutinizes. Broken and moldy cabinets and cheap and leaky faucets can turn them off or make them wonder if there’s something wrong with the pipes and ventilation. Besides, outdated bathroom fixtures are the fastest way of making a house look “old.” According to HGTV, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive designer fixtures. It’s enough to repaint the walls, get nice-looking tiles and repaint the walls in a coordinating color.

If you need to retile anyway or change the fixtures anyway, you can invest in extra features that can increase comfort, such as heated bathroom floors or showerheads with water-saving settings.

But if you really want to compete in Houston's premium housing market, allot a bigger budget for improving the master bathroom. A bigger bathtub, backlit mirrors or makeup vanities, a walk-in closet and other amenities turn the bathroom into a special place.

And since the bathroom is a pretty small floor area, you can afford to splurge on more expensive accent tiles, quality countertops and good lighting. And imagine what your Denver house ad is going to sound like "A master bathroom that rivals a five-star hotel." You'll definitely get a lot more calls.

Sell the idea of “self-care”

If you’re trying to attract an upscale market, then high-quality finishes are definitely a must. But since buyers are probably looking at several houses with marble floors and sprawling bedrooms, you need to take another tactic: sell the idea of pampering and wellness. According to Colorado Homes; Lifestyle magazine another big trend to sweep the Houston housing market is health and wellness amenities. This market values self-care, and they’ll look for special spaces where they can relax and exercise.

Home renovations include a home gym, larger bathrooms and bathtubs or carefully landscaped “zen gardens.”

But even if you’re selling a mid-priced home to millennials, keep the concept of self-care in mind. According to Refinery29, this age group defines their ideal home as relaxing (82 percent), calming (68 percent) or welcoming (69 percent).

You can create that atmosphere by using calming color palettes, or looking for ways to let in more natural light and breeze. And if you’re preparing for home for visits or tours, aromatherapy and cozy touches (like pillows and throws) can help send strong psychological cues that this is a happy place to be in.

Add environmentally-friendly features

This is a big design trend, and can help your home stand out among over Denver homes for sale. You don’t have to completely overhaul the property to make it work, either.

Consider minor additions like using LED lights, double glazing windows or using window materials that improve insulation, or identifying an area for composting or growing your own vegetables.

Declutter and store

If you don’t have a lot of time or money for big renovations, at least declutter and move things you don’t need into storage. A few artfully placed books in a bookshelf (interspersed with photo frames and small décor) immediately look prettier and more premium than a shelf crammed with old college textbooks.

Decluttering also makes a room look bigger, and allows the prospective home buyers to imagine their own furniture inside it.

Add closet systems

Decluttering doesn’t mean that you hide everything in your closet, because buyers will definitely look at those, too. Overflowing closets can also make buyers feel they won’t have enough space for their stuff, says The Spruce.

So rather than hiding things in closets, do a closet makeover. Install closet systems that will maximize space and help new homeowners keep everything organized. The best thing about this type of renovation is that it’s very cheap: you can get DIY systems in most home stores, or even make them from scratch if you’re handy with a hammer.

Invest in the landscaping

First impressions last, and even before home buyers knock on your front door they’ll be looking at (and walking through) the landscaping.

The American Nursery Landscape Association estimates that a landscape redo will cost about $3,500 for soil and plants and $1,465 for a professional designer. But you can cut back on professional fees, and ask your local garden center if they have free design services. Many of them will be happy to help you select plants and suggest arrangements, in exchange for new business.

If you’ve got a green thumb or enjoy gardening anyway, then do the landscaping yourself. You can also find many landscaping ideas on Pinterest or home design websites and magazines. The first step is to trim any overgrown shrubbery. Once you’ve cleared the area, see how you can mix different types of plant heights and colors for visual impact.

Just like any room in your home, your garden needs a focal point. This can be a tree with a cluster of plants around it, a stone pathway, or simple and classy garden décor like a small fountain. (Please, no garden gnomes!)

Fix up the exterior

If your property is still in relatively good condition, landscaping will already do a lot to improve curb value. But if the house looks faded and dreary, that budget is better spent on exterior improvements such as a fresh coat of paint, some vinyl siding and maybe even a prettier front entry.

The cost depends on the size of your home (estimate about a gallon for every 400 square feet) and whether you need things like trims and a new door. Use paint color cords to find the best color combination.

If you have a porch that lacks personality, consider adding elements like columns or a pergola. You can also replace old, rotting columns with fiberglass or visit a salvage yard to find interesting historic columns.

Other simple updates that can completely increase curb value is changing outdated windows and awnings or even changing it to a bay window.

Expand your floor plan

You may not be able to change the total size of your property, but you can increase the amount of “available living space” or usable square footage. For example, you can convert the attic or basement to turn it into an extra bedroom or home office, or add a patio, sunroom or outdoor play area.

If you have a large garden space, adding a “casita” (or the more technical term of Accessory Dwelling Unit) can significantly increase your property value. This is basically a small separate unit where guests can stay or can even be rented out for additional income.

Other homeowners may like the idea of using the casita as a separate home office or hobby area—when “Me Time” is a luxury, a property that literally provides that rare personal space will definitely pique the interest of buyers.

Set goals and budgets

Lastly, don’t renovate without keeping a close eye on the potential return of investment. Be clear about your desired market price, and then set your budget accordingly. You may also want to look at your neighborhood—does it attract primarily young couples with kids, retirees or urban professionals?

These “target markets” will have their own budgets and wish list of features. Young families will want more space and a Forever Home that can grow with their family, so those attic and basement renovations will pay off. Retirees may look for accessibility, or gardens and hobby areas.

So it’s best to focus on the types of renovations that meet their needs, so you don’t spend too much time or money and reap the full increase in market value.

Also, another option that a lot of home sellers are considering these days is selling their Denver house fast to a company like HBR Colorado because it lets them avoid having to make all of these renovations and repairs. However, fixing up the home and listing it on the market is still the best way to net the most cash on any given property.  

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent those of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors®. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please contact Sarah at sgoode@dmarealtors.com.