12 Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home in Montgomery County, Maryland
A lot of the work that goes into selling a home starts well before listing the property. Making improvements and piecemeal updates through the years gets you closer to your desired resale value.
Not all improvements are created equal though, it’s essential to pick out the projects that have good potential to net you the highest return on investment. For major updates, like building a deck, conservatory, or fireplace, you’ll most likely need a permit, so check the requirements beforehand.
If you’re preparing your home for an impending sale in Montgomery County, or strategically planning out upgrades years in advance, we’ve prepared a few ideas on how you can successfully boost the value of your home.
- Declutter perpetually messy areasDecluttering is more than just tidying up around the house. When done right, it can make your home more appealing from the perspective of potential buyers. And equally important: it removes the stress of having to do a ton of work come selling time.Focus your attention on areas of the house that always seem to fall into disarray – whether it’s the growing pile of books in a corner, a messy tool shed, or a living room that doubles as a toddler’s playroom.
To keep things neat, consider:
- Adding storage. Storage space is one of the top things buyers look out for in a home. Adding a few shelves and cabinets can make a huge difference in keeping things organized and boosting home value.
- Optimizing storage. Take stock of empty and neglected areas that can potentially accommodate more storage. It can be as complex as installing hidden spandrel cabinets in the area under the staircase or as simple as getting rid of things you don’t need to free up space.
- Using multi-functional furniture. Invest in versatile furniture that’s not only pleasing to look at, but also keeps clutter at bay. A great place to start is the living room, where you can add ottomans, coffee tables, footstools, or window seats that double as hidden storage space.
- Go cozy and functional
One of the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the continued need to emphasize comfort and function in the home on two levels — as dwelling and office.
Take stock of your home as a comfortable dwelling. Is it time to replace the sofa the family has been lounging in nonstop during lockdown? Have mattresses become lumpy because kids have taken to using them as trampolines to release pent-up energy? You could swap out an entire furniture set or simply replace the gnarly items. Proceed as you see fit.
Next, look at your home office or desk. Is the space conducive for work? Does it minimize distractions? You may need to update the lighting fixtures (or let in more natural light) to ease the strain of spending long hours staring at screens. Additionally, consider adding a small area with plants where you can take short breaks to destress.
- Improve lightingLighting is essential, whether you’re staying in or wowing potential buyers during a home showing. Examine areas that could benefit from better or dedicated lighting options.Consider the following:
- Ambient lighting to illuminate the entire room. For example: ceiling and wall lights, floor lamps, recessed fixtures, and down lights.
- Task lighting for activities such as reading, cooking, and working on your laptop. Use desk lamps, under-cabinet lighting, directional fixtures, or pendant lighting.
- Accent lighting to illuminate points of interest like art, architectural features, a collection of objects, and so on. Use track lights, wall-mounted fixtures, downlights, or LED light bars.
You can also improve the amount of natural light that streams into the house by changing window treatments or installing glass bifold doors adjacent to patios, backyards, and gardens.
- Introduce neutral colorsA lot of homeowners underestimate the power of a simple paint job to increase the perceived value of a home. It’s the first thing that buyers see when they enter a home. Which means that you want to make a good impression from the get-go.
Unless your buyer shares your taste, bold, trendy colors will have a niche or narrow appeal. Instead, go for neutral colors that appeal to a wider buyer pool.
Here are a few to consider:
- White. If you’re aiming to make your home look and feel fresh, it’s hard to go wrong with white. It suits a range of spaces nicely, from the exterior facade to kitchens and bathrooms.
- Gray, beige, and greige. Next to white, these colors for the home are the most buyer-friendly. Beige in particular can make interiors feel warm and cozy, while gray imbues an elegance that’s hard to top. Greige combines the best qualities of both colors.
- Light blue. Pastels can be neutral, too. Light blue conjures calm waters, helping convey a sense of serenity. A great option for bedrooms especially for people who have trouble relaxing and winding down at night, light blue can also make a room feel more spacious.
- Add a bedroomOne of the more expensive improvements to undertake is adding an entirely new bedroom. While bigger bucks are involved, you can recoup from 53% to 75% of your cost once you sell the house.Since an extra bedroom also increases the size of a home, the value of the home increases in turn. Simply take the average price per square foot in the area your home is in and multiply it by the size of the additional bedroom. If the median listing price in Montgomery County, Maryland is $278 per square foot (as it was in February 2023) and the bedroom you’re adding is, say, 132 square feet, then your home could fetch an additional $36,696 on the market. Note that this value is dependent on other factors like market demand and lot size. Consult a real estate professional before you make your move.
Alternatively, your home may have an extra room or attic space that can be transformed into a suitable bedroom. Dividing an exceptionally large bedroom could be another option.
- Repurpose the spaceWith the right makeover, a rarely used or underutilized room can add value to a home. A basement can be transformed into a well-appointed home theater, where everyone in the family can relax and enjoy favorite movies and shows.Adding a home gym is also a good idea. You can begin with basic equipment like weights and workout matting, and update the room over time by adding items or machines specific to your fitness goals.
Spruce up your backyard and rebrand it as an outdoor entertaining area. It’s one of the things that buyers will want in 2023.
- Improve the kitchen When it comes to updating the kitchen, a steady and tailored approach is always best. A complete overhaul, despite adding the latest and greatest features, does not guarantee a good return on your investment. More importantly, your allotted budget will mostly dictate the changes you can make.
Adding more storage (expanding cabinets, installing extra shelves, etc.) is always a good idea. Updating a kitchen island is a fairly minor project that can have a huge impact in the way it looks and functions.
If your budget allows or if it’s achievable by moving things around, improve the traffic flow. Based on the kitchen triangle concept, limiting your contact points to the cooktop, sink/washing area, and refrigerator can make the kitchen layout aesthetically pleasing and make movement more efficient.
- Upgrade the bathroomBathrooms are ultimately places of comfort, where you can relax and unwind or destress after a tough day.
Here’s how to achieve a sheen of luxury without breaking the bank:
- Replace tiles or flooring. Chipped or cracked bathroom tiles can be an eyesore and can harbor dirt and mold.
- Mirrors. A new mirror instantly upgrades the look of a bathroom and serves to make the room look bigger and brighter.
- Warm lighting. Easier on the eyes and calming.
- New fixtures. Repair or replace based on the following:
- Toilets – Following a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, if not earlier
- Shower curtain liners – Every six months
- Shower heads – If there are leaks or, worse, mold
- Bathtub – If there are leaks, cracks, or black mold
For those with the means to spend on an extensive overhaul, the investment is likely to net a sizable return. According to House Method, the average cost for a full bathroom remodel is nearly $27,000 and you can usually recoup about 60% come selling time. House Method also found that in all 50 states, the increased resale value after a bathroom remodel more than covers the total cost.
- Add a sunroom or conservatoryAdding a conservatory or sunroom may be well worth the price, especially for homes surrounded by verdant environments.The resources required for this type of improvement are quite substantial. Building a conservatory from scratch can set you back from between $50,000 to $150,000. Moreover, in Montgomery County, Maryland, you’ll need a permit to build one.
Resist the urge to cut corners for the sake of just getting it done. Cheap materials and flimsy work can make the conservatory look, well, cheap and flimsy. While the additional square footage will increase the value of your home, a poorly conceived and badly constructed sunroom can turn off buyers.
In terms of building materials, consider the following:
- Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC). This low-maintenance and sturdy plastic is a popular framing material for many conservatories. It’s resistant to chipping and fading and provides top notch insulation.
- Timber. Aside from creating a more natural look, timber is incredibly durable with proper reinforcement. However, it will require more frequent maintenance work.
- Aluminum. Outdoor conservatories benefit quite well from aluminum’s resistance to bad weather and corrosive elements. However, the degree of insulation is usually not on par with uPVC.
- Upgrade outdoor living spacesFor homeowners with existing outdoor areas, there are a number of ways to update and refresh these spaces.
- Adding a pergola can make your backyard more functional and visually appealing. This improvement stops short of fully protecting your outdoor tables and BBQ area from the elements, but it can provide enough shade for you to spend a few more hours outside – even when the sun is out.
- Alternatively, solid roofing on your deck or patio can make sure you enjoy this part of the home no matter the season.
- An outdoor fireplace can create a cozy atmosphere Complemented with a round center table and a slew of seating options, it’s a spot that’s great for entertaining.
- Refurbishing patio furniture can be the DIY project that will breathe new life to your outdoor living space. Pick out colors that pop and complement the colors surrounding your garden.
- Build a multi-level outdoor deck to delineate areas for dining, fire pits, hot tubs, and showcasing views and gardens.
- Refresh the exterior Buyers seeing your home for the first time should feel excited about exploring the rest of the house. Again, first impressions matter. Step back for a moment, take a good look at your home, and take note of these exterior makeover ideas:
- Landscaping is a great way to improve curb appeal and boost home value. If you live in Montgomery County, Maryland, add conifers and other types of evergreens to create an alluring green backdrop to your home. Create focal points using simple water features or flower beds.
- House cladding or covering the exterior of the house in another material is both an aesthetic and functional improvement. Not only will it revitalize the appearance of your home, it also provides added protection and insulation from the elements. There’s a plethora of materials at your disposal, such as timber, stone, brick, flint, render, uPVC, and porcelain tile.
- Maintaining the driveway is a chore that, when done regularly, keeps your home exterior in great condition. Keep encroaching vegetation and weeds in check. Clean up oil and fluid spills to avoid permanent stains. Fill in cracks and holes immediately as these areas may enlarge when left unsealed.
- Update wiring on older housesIt may be time to upgrade or rewire an older home, especially for properties built before 1965. Many of these homes have lower-capacity electrical systems that are likely to be overloaded when newer and more power-hungry appliances and devices are used.While committed DIY enthusiasts may be tempted to take on the task, it’s better to seek guidance from a certified electrician because they’re up to speed when it comes to building codes.
If rewiring is necessary, it will likely involve replacing the main electrical panel with a higher capacity one. A 100-ampere (amp) panel can usually power a 3,000-square-foot home. It would be a good time as well to add solar panels so you can easily or automatically switch from an on-grid to an off-grid power source to reduce your energy costs and improve the environment.
Many homes built after 1980 may not require extensive work, but old sockets, outdated lighting fixtures, and frayed cables will need to be replaced as they can become fire hazards.
- Address plumbing issues A plumbing problem often rears its ugly head in the most inconvenient moments. Make sure to have these issues sorted out well before putting your home on the market. Have a professional review your plumbing system to identify areas that need special attention.
Older homes, especially those built before the 2000s, may need upgraded pipes to avoid diminishing water quality. Outdated materials include polybutylene and galvanized steel.
Even for some newer homes, bellied water lines may become a problem as well. After completion, the house settles into its location over time and can sometimes exert pressure on drains and sewer lines, which then creates a “belly” or curved shape.
Call Judy Martin to sell your home fast in Montgomery County, Maryland
If you’re planning to put your home in Montgomery County up for sale, consider working with a seasoned agent who has in-depth knowledge of the local market and a proven track record.
For more than 30 years, Judy Martin has assisted countless homeowners sell their property in Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, and North Potomac, Maryland for top dollar in the least amount of time. With decades of experience under her belt and countless clients attesting to her expertise, Judy Martin is an invaluable advisor to have by your side during your real estate journey.