When people think about adding value to their homes they often think about remodelling projects like kitchen renovations, finishing a basement, or putting on an addition – all good ideas. But there are plenty of things that can be done to improve the exterior of a house that can be just as valuable. Here are five exterior home improvement projects that will go a long way in adding value to your home.
Decks can be a great value-add if you’ve got the space. In fact, when it comes to return on investment they rank right up there with kitchens and bathrooms. However the value has to be appropriate to the house, meaning you should spend somewhere between 2.5% and 5% of the house’s overall value , and under $10,000 on a 200 sq ft deck. In terms of size, about one part deck to 5 parts backyard is usually best. If you have a really small yard you can still have a deck, just make sure it’s at least 100 sq ft in order to get the maximum value.
The front door is the focal point of any home. It’s the first thing you see, the first thing you touch, and it plays a big part in your home’s security and safety. It’s also one of the best investments you can make in your home. Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Reports routinely cite a new steel front door as the number one source of remodelling return on investment, with fiberglass front doors following closely behind. (Steel doors give the best ROI due to their low price point.) If your front door has seen better days, it’s well worth considering investing in a new one.
Windows aren’t just important for your home’s light, ventilation and insulation – they contribute a huge amount to a home’s curb appeal. Because of their aesthetic and practical function, windows are something buyers always pay attention to – so homeowners should too! There are plenty of different styles available, so be sure to consider the style of your home along with your light and ventilation requirements.
Nothing says “neglect” like rain gutters choked with weeds, or those that are sagging. Eavestroughs need to be tight to the house with the drip edge under the roof’s shingles running into them. The gutters should also slope towards the downspout, which should drain the water at least five feet away from the house. Otherwise you risk rot, termites and foundation issues. Properly installed and cleaned gutters will function better and look better.
Most homebuyers are attracted to properties that have lush green spaces around them, which is why neighborhoods with mature trees often command higher prices. Since a grass-only yard can look a bit barren, consider adding some foundation plantings to break up the hard lines at the base of the exterior walls (just make sure there’s enough space between the shrubs and the walls so that moisture does not build up). Otherwise there isn’t much you need to do. Remember that a simple well-maintained yard is more appealing than one with complicated landscaping that looks good but requires a lot of maintenance.
For more ideas on how to add value to the exterior of a home, check out these Curb Appeal Do’s and Don’ts.
Photos courtesy of iStock.com /akurtz, /chuckcollier, /boblin, /chandlerphoto, /Lex20
Don’t be afraid to call your municipality’s permit office to discuss your project. They can help you understand the process and make it run smoother.