May 12, 2017

Ask an Appraiser – What Upgrades Increase Home Value?

Chicago Row Houses

Homeowners are usually confused about what upgrades pay-off if and when they sell their home. While the answer isn’t always cut and dry, there are some basic remodeling guidelines for getting the most bang for your buck. UHL asks Chicagoland appraiser Mary Gilmore of Heartland Appraisals and Ken Kolozy of K2 Real Estate Services to share their big brains with us:

Conditional Love

“The main thing we look at, after location, square footage, and the number of bedrooms and baths, is the condition of the home,” Kolozy comments. “This includes updates to the kitchen, baths, and flooring.” When valuing a home, appraisers inspect cabinets, counters, sink fixtures, and basically anything that is a permanent fixture in the house. Everything falls into a grid that appraisers use for valuation, and different finishes have different values. Hardwood flooring, for example, gets the most value points, followed by carpet, ceramic, and laminate.

The Case for Space

Additional square footage or living space absolutely helps your home value. So, finishing a basement or adding a sunroom will help you in the end. What’s the worst thing you can do? Remove walls to create bigger bedrooms. “Taking bedrooms away is a big no-no, and that’s never easy to change back,” Gilmore remarks.

What Counts on the Outside?

Curb appeal is important when selling a home, but don’t be shocked when your five-year backyard beautification project doesn’t pay-off. “It’s a shame, but homeowners get no credit for outdoor features like landscaping or built-in fire pits. Basically, a custom stone patio is the same value as concrete.” Gilmore states. On the other hand, upgrades like a new roof, siding, and windows DO increase your home value, so don’t hesitate to keep your home’s exterior in top, energy-efficient shape.

We hope these words of wisdom shed insight on the home valuation process, but remember, you should always match remodeling funds to the wants and needs of you and your family, especially if you’re planning to stay in the home. So, if you envision a garden that would make England jealous, go right ahead and start designing a patio brick pattern. Your home is for you to enjoy before anything else.

By the way, if you need extra cash to bring your outdoor sanctuary to life, consider a cash-out refinance from United Home Loans. Our expert team can help determine a refinance structure that works for you. Contact us below or at 708-531-8388.

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