Increase Your Home’s Value with a Fresh Coat of Paint

Getting ready to sell your house or condo? One of the easiest home improvements to get buyers’ attention is a fresh coat of paint. Plus it’s a cost-effective fix that will make your home look updated – which can translate to increased value. Sara McLean, color expert and blogger for Dunn-Edwards Paints, offers tips on how to choose interior colors that appeal to most people.

  • First she cautions on painting everything white or beige, because your home might end up looking more like an apartment, rather than an upscale home
  • Stick to earth tones and nature-based colors. Warm browns and milky tans – think latte. Light greens and blues are classy, and even some reds and oranges. Warm grays are popular now, rather than cool grays
  • Take the flooring into consideration and lay your color chips on the floor to see how they pair. Warm tones tend to look better with most hardwood. Whereas tile, terrazzo or carpet may dictate other colors
  • While neutrals are safe, don’t make the entire home so neutral that it’s boring. An occasional accent wall in a darker or complementary shade adds a designer look.
  • Give a room life without being personal. Many people have a visceral reaction to bold colors and buyers’ first thought is that they will need to repaint
  • Kitchens and baths work well with a little more color to brighten up and make them fresh, clean and inviting
  • In the kitchen, soft buttery yellows with slight brown undertones are popular, happy colors. Olive and sage greens, make it feel garden-y and fresh. If you don’t have a tile backsplash, create one with an eggshell or semi-gloss paint — either a solid color or with a decorative stencil
  • Baths, laundry room and powders can incorporate brighter colors because they’re smaller – play with color a little bit. Oranges and reds are trending now and through next year, as well as teal and turquoise

“Once you have chosen a color, pick up a few samples and paint a section of the wall, near permanent structures like fireplaces, flooring and cabinetry,” McLean recommends. “Live with the samples at least a full a day to see them in all light sources. What looks light and bright in the morning, may look dungeon-y at night.”

Next step, she advises, is to choose the gloss level. Flat, velvet or eggshell are­ good for interior walls, while a higher sheen looks pretty on trim and in kitchens and bathrooms. The higher gloss levels are easier to clean, so they are ideal for high traffic areas. Look for trim paint that is water based but with the upscale look of oil based.

Source: Dunn-Edwards

5 Home Upgrades That Just Aren’t Worth It

Myth: All upgrades will add value to your home.

Fact: You may never recoup the full cost of some home upgrades.

If you’re hoping to increase your home’s value (above and beyond the cost of an upgrade itself), you should know that some updates that are valuable to you may not be valuable to potential buyers.

Here are five of the most common upgrades that cause homeowners to lose money.

1. Putting in a pool

Pools can be hit-or-miss when it comes to added value. You may see some return, but often it’s not enough to pay for the pool itself.

In fact, adding a pool to your home could be a major turnoff to some buyers. Buyers with small children may be concerned about safety risks, those looking for a low-maintenance yard won’t want to deal with the hassle and upkeep of cleaning a pool, and buyers who are on a tight budget may not have the extra cash to deal with the added expense.

If you live in a warm-weather climate where people are inclined to use a pool year-round, you’re more likely to get a favorable response from buyers.

If you’re looking to add a pool, don’t forget that you’ll need to operate and maintain the pool yourself, and this comes with a sizable extra cost. Your likelihood of recouping the money you spent on maintenance, in addition to the installation costs, is pretty low.

2. Highly custom design decisions

Contractors remodeling kitchen

© George Peters/Getty Images Contractors remodeling kitchen

Your idea of a dream kitchen probably isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream kitchen. Unless you plan to stay in your house for many years to come, think twice about renovations that are too personalized.

If you install a kitchen backsplash, you might recoup the cost, because the difference between “no backsplash” and “backsplash” is noticeable. But the specific type of tile might not matter to buyers. Similarly, choosing a beveled countertop edge that’s complex and ornate, rather than a basic beveled edge, can turn off buyers whose tastes don’t align with yours.

In fact, these custom features may wind up costing you come listing time, as many buyers will factor in the money they’ll need to spend to change the house to suit their own tastes. If you’re going to upgrade your kitchen just for the sake of selling, stick with neutral, builder-grade design decisions.

3. Room conversions

Woman in closet. Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images

© Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images Woman in closet. Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images

Buyers will be looking for certain basic staples when they tour your home: typically, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage. Getting rid of these expected spaces (or altering them into something unusual) may harm your resale value.

Every bedroom, for instance, is coveted space that can bump your listing up into the next bracket. Buyers are looking for a two-bedroom, three-bedroom, or four-or-more-bedroom home.

You might not need that extra room and dream of knocking down a wall to create a giant walk-in closet. Or perhaps you’d prefer to cover the walls with soundproof foam and convert it into a recording studio.

Unfortunately, most buyers likely won’t share your interests. Instead, they prefer an extra bedroom for children or guests.

4. Incremental square footage gains

Messy basement.

© Angela Wyant/Getty Images Messy basement.

Sizable square footage gains — like finishing your dingy basement so it becomes an additional livable floor — can be a boon in buyers’ minds. But tiny, incremental changes may not give you much of a return on your investment. (You may love your new sunroom, but it’s not likely to drastically increase your home’s overall value.)

Adding square footage in a way that doesn’t flow well with the floor plan can also backfire. Sure, a half bath on the first floor would be useful, but if buyers have to pass through the kitchen to get to it, the half bath loses some of its appeal.

5. Overimproving

An American 'McMansion'.

© Karen Hatch/Getty Images An American ‘McMansion’.

No one wants to buy a megamansion on a block full of split-levels. When your upgrades feel overboard for your neighborhood, you alienate buyers on two fronts: buyers who are drawn to your neighborhood won’t be able to afford your home, and buyers who can afford a home of your caliber will prefer to be in a ritzier area.

Keep the “base level” of your neighborhood in mind. Tour some open houses on your block to see how your neighbors’ kitchens look before you invest a small fortune in granite countertops and high-end fixtures. Being a little nicer than the other houses around you can be a selling point, but being vastly more luxurious is not.

Pursue these upgrades for your own enjoyment — but don’t trick yourself into believing you’ll more than recoup the cost of the improvement in the form of additional home value. You can always opt for the projects that have the best potential to draw in a buyer instead!

Written by Trulia of Money

(Source: Time)

10 Worst Kitchen Upgrades You Can Make

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, having a great kitchen is even more important.
© Martin Desjardins/Oredia/Cor

There’s a reason they say the kitchen is the heart of your home. Even if you don’t cook, it’s likely the room where you gather with family and friends. It might also serve as your home office and having a kitchen that is both functional and appealing is probably high on your priority list.

If you plan to sell your home in the near future, having a great kitchen is even more important. HGTV says the kitchen can be the deciding factor in many home sales and for those who will be remodeling prior to putting a property on the market, the network recommends aiming for a 70 percent return on your renovation investment.

While a creative kitchen remodel can let you dream you big, be aware that not everything sold as an upgrade is necessarily an improvement. In fact, here are ten kitchen remodel ideas from which you may want to steer clear.

1. Ceramic flooring

Ceramic flooring looks great but your legs will be aching by dinnertime.

© AP Photo/ Englund Ceramic flooring looks great but your legs will be aching by dinnertime.

It looks great, and it’s oh so durable but your legs will be aching by dinnertime. Hard ceramic is not the type of flooring you want to stand on for long periods. Plus, any dropped dishware is more likely to shatter on ceramic than on softer flooring options like cork or hardwood.

2. Inconvenient islands

Adding an island is a great idea. A 2013 study from 24/7 Wall St. found 48 percent of home buyers are willing to pay extra for a kitchen island. However, adding an island that comes between the sink and fridge isn’t such a good idea. Design the island so that it adds convenience – not steps – to your day.

3. Wrong appliances

Buyers look at kitchen appliances in China.

© CHINA DAILY/Newscom/Reuters Buyers look at kitchen appliances in China.

Don’t get carried away and splurge on professional-grade appliances just because that’s what the magazines show. Likewise, don’t think you can save money by buying the cheapest appliances on the market. An ultra-cheap new appliance could end up being a downgrade if you have a better-quality, older model in your kitchen already.

4. Cheap cabinets

The same advice about cheap appliances could go for cheap cabinets. They may look nice, but cheaply made cabinets will be quick to show wear and tear under heavy use. Instead of replacing your well-made current cabinets with lesser-quality ones, freshen them up with new paint or hardware instead.

5. Short cabinets

Another cabinet mistake is installing short cabinets. That space between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling is either going to collect dust or clutter. Rather than have a kitchen with dead space, maximize your storage by installing cabinets that go to the ceiling.

6. Stainless steel everything

Too much stainless steel can overpower a room and make it feel cold and sterile

© REX/Design Pics Inc Too much stainless steel can overpower a room and make it feel cold and sterile

Stainless steel appliances can definitely be a selling point – about 41 percent of homebuyers say they would pay more for them. However, too much stainless steel can overpower a room and make it feel cold and sterile.

7. Marble countertops

Marble countertops are gorgeous, but they are high maintenance. If you’re the type to obsess over every knick and stain on your countertop, you will not want marble in your kitchen. What’s more, marble is expensive and can regularly cost well in excess of $100 per square foot. If you are remodeling to sell, it may be hard to recoup your investment if you live in a mid-level neighborhood.

8. Single overhead lighting

You’ve found the perfect hanging light for your kitchen. Great, but it won’t be much of an upgrade if it’s the only lighting you have planned for the room. Instead of splurging on one statement fixture, spread your money around, spring for a dimmer and include some under-the-counter lighting which will eliminate the shadows and dark spaces that are common in one-fixture kitchens.

9. Built-in coffee machines

© Foodfolio/Food and Drink Pho

For the average coffee drinker, it’s hard to justify the price tag on built-in machines that can typically range anywhere from $2,500 to upwards of $10,000. Not only do you lose valuable kitchen space to the machine, the jury’s still out on whether the coffee tastes any better.

10. Major kitchen remodel

Finally, it’s a mistake to automatically assume you need a major kitchen remodel. Your cabinets may be salvageable with new paint and hardware. Your appliances may be perfectly serviceable. To do a creative kitchen remodel, you don’t have to gut the entire room. According to Remodeling Magazine, you’ll get a much greater ROI with a minor kitchen remodel anyway – 79.3 percent in 2015 compared to 59 percent for an upscale major overhaul.

Written by Maryalene LaPonsie of

(Source: Improvement Center)