Increasing property value in a tight real estate market

sell your home

© Andy Dean

A tight real estate market comes with a lot of stress. Figuring out its nuances is a difficult challenge, and it can sometimes feel insurmountable when you’re trying to maximize your profit margin in a property sale.

The hotter the market, the more tempting it is to try and cash out. Maybe that describes you. Maybe it doesn’t; maybe you just want to raise your property value to help drive up prices a little further so that when, or if, you decide to sell, you’re much better off from a financial viewpoint. A decision today could result in a significant profit five years from now.

Regardless of your incentive, you want the same thing: you want to raise your property value in a meaningful way so that your property is worth more.

The Realities of the Market

Large real estate markets can have their realities obscured by rapid inflation. Foreign interests, property flipping, unscrupulous deals, and good old-fashioned desirability can surge prices up regardless of the homes that make up that market.

Don’t let this distract you: your home, and its value is heavily influenced by the decisions you make.

More theatrical realtors will tell you that each home tells a story and that what gets you a sale is often dependent on atmosphere and staging. It’s a soft science, and skilled realtors are experts in making an average home stand out in the crowd. Desirability is often subjective, and something as simple as making sure your home passes an inspection with flying colors may not win buyers over; indeed, if the new owner of a home changes everything about how it looks, it is still likely that the decision to buy came as a result of how it looked during the presentation.

Because of this reality, you have to take into consideration that a tight real estate market can be navigated with skill if you focus on the easiest, most impactful things first.

The Feedback Cycle of Property Value Versus Neighbourhoods

There is a lot you can do to raise your property value. What often goes unsaid in this discussion is that your property value is inherently tied to a lower and higher limit, simply because of where that property is. Certain neighborhoods impose a minimum value even if the property is a wreck, and the same is true in reverse. Some pre-existing homes can’t eclipse a certain figure if the properties surrounding the home aren’t equal or similar in quality.

But this isn’t the end-all-be-all of the situation. What determines a neighborhood’s value range? Location and demographics contribute a great deal, but the homes themselves can steer this range for better or worse. A beautiful home raises the value of the homes surrounding it, while a decrepit home lowers the value of the homes surrounding it. This is one of the key benefits of a Home Owners’ Association: with everyone buying into the same regulations and aesthetics, you can control the neighborhood’s median value.

Focus on the Exterior

Property value is tied closely to location and the economy, but on an individual level, the quality of the home itself can make or break your profit margin during a sale. Renovating the interior of your home is difficult; it often requires tearing apart other sections of the building so that you can properly upgrade or expand. Many older homes can adopt a Frankenstein appearance where old standards meld with new, and poorly renovated homes can often see their property value drop instead of rising.

That’s problematic, and not at all what you want to achieve:

A safe option for increasing property value in a tight real estate market is to focus on the exterior. This doesn’t rely on altering other things in the home, instead focusing entirely on the outdoors. Some real estate companies estimate that a great exterior can raise a property’s value in the neighborhood of 10% or more.

Think of it this way: an overgrown acre with a lot of debris will be worth a whole lot less than an acre with beautiful paneling, manicured gardens, and enticing patio furniture. Even if the would-be owner doesn’t maintain it or has different ideas in mind, they still see the property as being “more valuable”, and this is supported by official appraisals and market estimates. You can invest a few thousand dollars in your yard and the exterior of your home and walk away with over twenty thousand dollars in increased value—at the lower end of the scale.

Basic Landscaping

Basic landscaping isn’t just keeping your lawn mowed. It’s a little more invasive, at least at first. Having a manicured lawn is a staple of the American suburban dream, and it can feel a little artificial. It’s not great for the environment, it’s not exceptionally useful, and it can come across like a time sink. It also does almost nothing for your property value; a neglected yard will drop it, while a basic lawn will simply keep things stagnant.

Thankfully, that’s not your required fate. Basic landscaping can revolutionize how your yard looks, and the maintenance for it can be similar or less than what you were already doing. Something as simple as separating certain areas of the yard from each other can go a long way towards giving your yard a distinct aesthetic.

Selecting local plants to grow will also help a great deal. Some plants are considered an invasive species, and your standard-fare lawn turf can suck up water and choke out better plant life. The benefit to your property value by growing local plants is that you help contribute to a neighborhood’s sense of community and identity, which drives up prices. Being unique to the point of sticking out isn’t to your benefit, so while you can take some liberties and plant some flowers or trees that you just think look cool, it’s better to make sure the majority of your yard is made up of local species that keep the area healthy.

Another option with your landscaping is to add more features. Just grass will always seem like just grass. It’s difficult to put your best foot forward when there’s nothing to separate one part of the yard from another. Adding stone paths can draw the eye, and converting outdoor walls into practical or decorative areas can have a significant impact. A vertical garden helps conserve water and will assist you in regulating your indoor temperature. Converting a wall to holding necessary outdoor tools and functioning as a “gardening station” gives your yard a cozy appearance that shows it exists in tandem with your home and isn’t simply empty space.

Complementary Décor

How you choose to decorate the exterior of your home has a big say in your property value. This can feel unintuitive; after all, decorations are the first thing to be discarded after a sale. You might take them with you, or the buyer won’t want to keep it around.

But as mentioned above, homes tell a story, and the story can impact value in both a subjective and objective sense.

That is why it is important to make sure that your outdoor décor complements the rest of your home and property. It makes your yard far more enjoyable to use on a personal level. It also increases your property value.

Your choice of décor should complement how you’ve chosen to display your home. A rustic brown wrapper for the house itself wouldn’t mesh well with vibrantly pink outdoor décor. Keep this in mind as you embark on this journey.

A great place to start is adding a patio to your yard. Patios are versatile, and they’re easier to match with your outdoor paneling and miscellaneous decorations. A beautiful patio will transform your yard from “just a yard” into a desirable lounging and hosting area for any gathering, even if the gathering is just you and your family. You can bring your patio and your other outdoor décor together by picking the right patio umbrella.

This is essential, as the umbrella will “focus” your aesthetic. Umbrellas made with Sunbrella fabric are far and away superior to budget fabrics, and they tend to come with lush colors, fade-resistant builds, and a five-year warranty to guarantee satisfaction. These umbrellas are also approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation for their UV resistance rating; not only will your property value increase, but you’ll be keeping your family safer during the summer months in the meantime.

Something as simple as a patterned patio umbrella can give your patio, and the surrounding outdoor décor, the oomph it was missing. A well-built aesthetic naturally leads to your home being seen by others as being more valuable. Neighborhood ratings and property appraisals will value your home more, and all it took was a well-placed purchase.

Conclusion

Your yard and the outside of your home are the first things anyone sees when visiting or passing by. How your home looks, naturally, leads to an affected property value. Make the wrong decisions and your value takes a dip; make the right decisions and you see a significant increase.

Homeowners can over think what it takes to maximize property value in a tight market. Often, it’s as simple as being practical. A taken-care-of yard and the outdoor décor to match it can and will make your home more valuable and desirable. The investment is comparatively low when placed alongside other value-raising opportunities, and you have the side benefit of significantly improving your own lifestyle.

Make a practical change—and do it in style—and you’ll see it pay off.



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