Top 6 Home Improvement Projects to Raise Your Property's Value Before Refinancing

The housing market is on the upswing in many regions of America, which is giving many homeowners access to equity that they have not seen in years. But before you call the bank and start the refinancing process, you may want to consider tackling the six home improvement projects below to increase your home's value:

#1 Boost Square Footage

One of the biggest bang for your buck home improvements is to simply increase the size of the living space. Before you start the building project though, you should think about what the new space will be used for. This way, you are sure to get the most return on the money spent.

For example, if you have a two or three bedroom home, your best bet may be to add a bedroom. Or, if you have a small family room, you may want to consider a family room addition on the back of the home. Or, expanding the kitchen can be a fantastic equity-adder if you have the ability to expand this space without overspending. If you have enough bedrooms in the home, you also might consider building another bathroom. This can give a nice boost to the value of the home, and not to mention, make your morning and evening family routine easier.

#2 Create Rooms Outdoors

Outdoor living spaces are becoming very popular, especially in the south with its warm winters. The types of 'rooms' you can build outside are really only limited by your imagination and budget. Some homeowners like to build an outdoor kitchen that has a fire pit and bench seats. Or, if you have young children, you might set up a play area in the back and this could be a major booster in your home equity.

#3 Makeover the Garage

Having a garage on your home already gives it more value, but if you can improve and expand it, this can increase your equity before you refinance. Some of the best ways to increase the value of your home with a garage upgrade include:

  • Expanding a one car garage into a two car garage.
  • Expanding a two car garage into a three car garage.
  • Creating a dedicated work space by installing cabinets, workbench and shelves.
  • Or, consider transforming the garage into a 'man cave' or a lovely playroom for children.

If your home does not have a garage, you may want to consider building one before you refinance. Constructing a garage can take up a lot of money, so you will want to look at your area's home values before you pull the trigger on this upgrade. You do not want your home to be too much outside the range of the comps for your neighborhood as this can actually hurt you when you refinance.

#4 Upgrade the Front Yard

The front yard is an extremely important piece of real estate. If the front yard is not attractive, it makes people less likely to want to go inside your home. And having an ugly front yard will affect the home value as well.

So if your front yard needs some work, you should make this one of the first things you do before you refinance:

  • If the grass is unattractive, you may want to either seed or sod the yard. Nothing looks nicer than thick, full, lush grass.
  • You also can put down a nice walk way to the front door, which makes the house look much more appealing.
  • New bushes and flowers do not cost much but can give the front yard a much friendlier feel.
  • If you have an old garage door, consider either painting the doors or replacing them entirely for a newer, modern look.
  • Replace the front door. Upgrading to a high quality fiberglass door only costs $1000 but can give your home's front a much better look.

#5 Update Lighting

The lighting fixtures in your home are much like jewelry on a woman's outfit: They can make the outfit look bold and fresh, or old and dated. Switching out lighting fixtures is relatively easy and quite inexpensive. You should plan on spending at least $200 for larger light fixtures and $100 for smaller bathroom lights.

#6 Replace Toilets

Newer toilets are more attractive and use much less water. They also are quite inexpensive, and are an easy way to add value to your home.

Before you refinance, you definitely want to make sure that you are getting as much out of your home value wise as possible. By making some of the above upgrades, you will be able to enhance your home's value and get the equity out of your home that you want. - This article was written by Jenifer Stone

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