Contributed by Susan Mackey
Let’s start with the good news: The real estate market in Connecticut is heating up. Home values bottomed out in 2012 and 2013, but they’ve been climbing since. If you’re looking to increase the value of your home, and if you make a few improvements, you’re more likely to see some return on the investment. Here are six trends that increase the value of your Connecticut home.
Shut the Front Door
Your front door is what makes the first impression on a potential buyer, whether they show up at an open house or they are just driving by. You likely still have the front door that was on the house when you moved in, so a new front door is a cost-efficient update that will increase the value. You can spend anywhere from $150 to thousands of dollars on a new door. Before you spend the cash, make sure the door complements the rest of the house and that it’s similar to doors on homes in your price range. You may also consider painting your existing door. If so, black is trending right now and can increase the price of your home by as much as $6,000.
Don’t Let Your Window Panes Hurt
Old, drafty windows will decrease your home’s value right away. To a buyer, all they see is work that needs to be done or high energy bills. Don’t give prospective buyers a good reason to lowball you. If your windows are original to the house, you should consider replacement windows. New windows — although they can get pricey — can match that new front door for a completely updated look.
The Envy of the Neighborhood
Even if you don’t win “Lawn of the Month” prizes, the time to keep your yard in tip-top shape is when your home is on the market. Take a hard look at your lawn. Is it brown? Untrimmed? Full of weeds? Or is the grass struggling to grow? Don’t put off hiring mowing, weeding and fertilizing. You can hire a professional, or pick up some weed and feed at a local gardening store. Make sure you prune the trees and shrubs. You won’t regret it at closing.
Light It Up
Combine wellness trends with home improvement trends and you’ve got circadian rhythm lighting. The idea is to limit the impact of artificial lighting on the people who live in the home. It combines warmer lights (no more ghastly white LED bulbs!) with home automation to more closely match the lighting found in nature. If that sounds like too much of a project, consider changing all your interior light bulbs to a warmer, natural light color. Brighter light makes people feel more positive, so improving the light inside your home can help leave buyers with a good impression.
Clean Up the Kitchen
Your bathrooms and your kitchen can make or break an offer on your home. You don’t have to go crazy updating your kitchen to bring in a sale. You can spend just a few hundred dollars repainting the walls to a more buyer-friendly color. Update the hardware on the kitchen cabinets to give the space an updated feel. Or you can spend thousands on quartz or marble countertops and new stainless steel appliances.
Buyers want to see high tech upgrades, such as remote control thermostats and doorbell video cameras. You probably won’t get a big return on investment if you go overboard by installing an expensive audio-visual system for the house. But high tech upgrades that save money or time, or those that increase security, add interest to your home. A Ring or Nest doorbell camera costs just a few hundred dollars. A programmable thermostat you can control from your phone isn’t expensive either.
You don’t have to go overboard to increase your home’s value in the current upward trend in real estate in Connecticut. Bigger improvements are always a selling point, but they’re not always going to bring in bigger offers. Think about what would make you fall in love with a home, and what would make you increase your offer. Let common sense — and your bank account — be your guide.
Susan Mackey is an interior designer and home stager as well as a freelance writer who focuses on the latest home fashion trends. She loves taking older homes and turning them into the envy of the neighborhood.