June is National Home Ownership Month, and the Oklahoma Association of Realtors calls it a time for homeowners to celebrate the sense of community that arises from homeownership and the economic benefits associated with investing in a home.
The number of people doing home improvement projects with the goal of increasing home value is up 7 percent from last year to 54 percent, according to the second annual Houzz & Home survey by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Houzz. The trend shows a growing movement toward more people investing their time and their dollars back into their homes, the Realtors said.
“There are so many ways — both large and small — that homeowners can improve their homes and increase home values,” said Joe Pryor, president of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors. “When making home improvements, we as Realtors encourage homeowners to do what works for their tastes and budgets but also to keep in mind what might have the most appeal and utility should they decide to sell their homes in the future.”
Here are some things homeowners can do to add value to their homes, from the Realtors:
• Think long-term.
When looking for a new home, buyers tend to factor in the cost of items that they would have to replace should they buy that home. So, when considering what projects might add the most value to your own home, focus your efforts on major improvements like roofs, plumbing and appliances.
Spending money on expensive carpet and other simple cosmetic items may be enjoyable in the short-term for your family, but when you consider selling, buyers are more likely to overlook these smaller items and focus on areas that require the least work and financial expenditure to change once they move in.
Plan for the unexpected.
Homeowners who install storm shelters in their homes can see a return on investment of up to 66 percent. Below-ground shelters tend to generate higher returns than safe rooms and basements, which can both be more difficult and costly to install.
However, Realtors emphasize that the most important return on investment comes from the peace of mind that comes from having a safe place in your home to go during severe weather.
• Focus on kitchens and bathrooms.
These often are the areas that not only generate the most return on investment during the selling process, but they are also among the rooms that families use most. Brightening up these rooms with white or light-colored paint, cabinets and flooring can help create an open feeling and a clean, refreshed tone for families who want a change.
About two-thirds of participants in a recent survey indicated they would choose white kitchen cabinets over any other color, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Updating flooring, appliances, window treatments and other amenities can also help increase overall home value.
• Make the outdoors great.
Creating outdoor spaces may not increase the actual square footage of your home, but it will add to the space your family can enjoy every day. Building a wood deck is among the most cost-effective methods of creating an outdoor escape, generating about a 77 percent return on investment nationally, according to Houselogic.com.
Homeowners can save additional dollars by building and maintaining the deck themselves, remembering to clean and seal it annually in order to keep it in top condition.
• Stay efficient.
Examine your windows, doors and other points of entry to assess whether new, more energy-efficient fixtures might help you better regulate temperature and keep energy costs down.