What raises home value the most?

Upgrade to energy-efficient features and devices. Invest your money in your kitchen and bathroom. Finish your basement or other unfinished spaces. Clean and tidy before showing your home.

The outside of your home is the first thing buyers see. It's worth the cost and effort to improve your exterior appeal. Mow the lawn, mow the bushes, rake the leaves and touch up the paint on your fence. Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long history of helping people make smart financial decisions.

We have maintained this reputation for more than four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in what steps to take next. Timothy Wiedman, a former professor and personal finance expert who has been around houses throughout his career, says he should start by repainting any room with a “strange color scheme”. For example, did you let your then 11-year-old daughter paint her bedroom hot pink 16 years ago? If so, it's a good starting point. If you plan to list your house for sale and want to increase its value, staging the house can pay off.

Eighty-five percent of ready-made homes sell between 5 and 23 percent of the list price and are recalled in just 23 days, according to the Real Estate Staging Association. If you need to borrow a small amount of cash for your home improvement plans, you may be able to skip the loan and opt for a 0% APR credit card instead. Many cards don't have interest payments on balances for up to 18 months, which can be ideal if you have a smaller scale project in mind. A credit card can also work well if you can pay your contractor with it.

For Todd and Lisa Miller, making major improvements to their 3,100 square foot ranch, built in the 1970s, is normal for the course. The remodel recommends sticking with a 16 ft x 20 ft wooden deck, although the correct size for your home will depend on the size of your home and patio. You'll also want to add a railing system for added functionality and stability. Sharbani notes that this is a particularly desirable design right now, when more people work, eat, entertain and study at home.

And if you want to keep that costly investment pristine, make sure you know these 25 silent signs that your house is falling apart. All it takes is a bit of stone cladding to completely change the exterior aesthetics of your home and increase the exterior appeal. Facing manufactured stone veneer can give you up to 92 percent return on investment, according to Palomino. Whether you want to build capital or get the best price when you sell, use the tips below to increase the value of your home.

Larger homes tend to have higher values, and even if an appraiser doesn't officially recognize the full value of the added space, the buyer is likely to notice it. The exterior appeal of what your home looks like from the street is your first chance to make a good impression, says James Murrett, president of the Appraisal Institute, a professional association of real estate appraisers.

Magda Jansen
Magda Jansen

Wannabe tv guru. Hipster-friendly organizer. Hipster-friendly twitter fanatic. Avid tv expert. Extreme beer lover. Amateur beer buff.

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