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8 Smart Upgrades and Fixes to Boost Home Value

Thinking about selling your home soon? Even if your home won't be on the market immediately, now is the time to make smart upgrades and repairs that will boost your home's long-term value. Plus, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of your handiwork, be that the energy savings of a new tankless water heater or the enhanced curb appeal of low-cost landscaping. Whether you have $100 or $1,000 to invest, consider these affordable upgrades:

A home made out of tools.

  1. Create new space by removing non-structural walls. Buyers typically want open floor plans and are willing to pay extra for an open kitchen and living space. While changing load-bearing walls can be costly, non-structural walls can cost as little as a few hundred dollars to remove. Eliminating an extra wall can instantly transform the look and feel of your space.
  2. Make the perfect first impression. Curb appeal counts! Unkempt trees and shrubbery obscure views, block sunlight, and ultimately cost a pretty penny. A fallen tree limb, for example, could cause extensive property damage. Tidy up landscaping by trimming overgrown bushes, shaping the hedges, laying down new sod, or planting flowers. A $500 landscaping investment can yield returns up to four times that, according to a survey conducted by online real estate marketing site HomeGain, as reported by This Old House.
  3. Upgrade outdated lighting. Tired of dark hallways or those harsh, overhead lights in your bedroom? The solution may be as simple as upgrading your wattage in the hallway or adding a dimmer switch to the bedroom. Don't neglect the lighting outside your home, either. Adding motion-sensor lighting near your garage or entryway is an affordable and popular safety upgrade.
  4. Slash energy bills with a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand heaters, only provide hot water as needed, eliminating standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters. For homes using 41 gallons or less of hot water daily (about the average use for a family of four), tankless water heaters are up to 34% more efficient than conventional storage tank heaters, according to the US Department of Energy. Plus their average life expectancy is more than 20 years, double the average for conventional water heaters. Not only will you start saving money immediately, but tankless heaters are an in-demand, eco-friendly update home buyers want.
  5. Ditch the old carpeting. Replacing old carpeting with engineered hardwood can really boost your home's value. Real estate pros estimate that an average investment of $600 to $900 will return up to $2,000 in value. Already tossed the wall-to-wall carpeting? Take a careful look at your floors: patch up any damaged floor boards, repair broken tiles or add a few well-placed nails to eliminate distracting squeaks. Voila—a brand new floor!
  6. Fix an unsightly bathroom. With the average cost for a small bathroom renovation hovering around $20,000 (including supplies and labor), bathroom renovations are a major financial investment. This doesn't mean you have to be stuck with an outdated bathroom, however; investing as little as $500 into cosmetic changes like a new vanity or above-vanity light fixtures can transform the look and feel of your bathroom without costing a small fortune.
  7. Go green with energy efficient kitchen appliances. Not only will matching stainless steel appliances instantly update your kitchen, but these Energy Star certified appliances will also use up to 50% less energy and water than conventional appliances. Calculate your savings here.
  8. Add usable storage space. Usable storage space is a top must-have for today's homeowners. Have a large closet that's poorly organized? Consider investing in custom shelving or adding low-cost storage solutions to your garage, like a pegboard along the side wall.

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