10 Ways To Maintain Or Improve Your Home Value

We are always looking for ways to increase, or at the very minimum, maintain our home value. Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: It doesn’t always have to break the bank. Sometimes it just means taking a closer look at things when we go to do those normal fix ups around the house.

For the most part, every community has a high end and a low end. In the Real Estate Industry we call these "Comparables". Depending on the size, condition and location of the home- your home may be anywhere in between. For the sake of this article, let’s focus on getting you at the top.

10. Keep it Clean - Sounds simple right? Well, it pretty much is just that. If you are thinking about selling take a few days and do some ‘deep cleaning’ or call in a maid service. Clean out some of those closets that look jam-packed full of linens and boxes. It just needs to be tidy. Get rid of those dust streamers on the ceiling fans, dust and wash the baseboards/door casings. A clean and organized home leaves the impression of one that is well maintained.

9. Maintenance - Keep up with your property…all the time. If you wait until it is time to sell, the cost of repairs may be so much that you won’t want to do it. Set a schedule and paint the house every so often, change the roof in a timely manner, keep those fences looking good. This way, it won’t be overwhelming when you need it the most. Other items that would be on this list would be Hot Water Heaters, A/C and Heat equipments, etc. Buyers really DO look at these things. Wouldn’t you?

8. Update - Often times we confuse the term ‘Update’ with ‘Upgrade’. Updating the home just means to keep it cosmetically as though it is recent. Sometimes this just means changing out a couple of light fixtures, paint on the walls, color choices on the exterior and maybe even the flooring.

7. Flooring - Keep it clean or change it. If you don’t want to mess with it, put down a tile or Hardwood Floor (A little Hint: If the color of the grout in the tile is your only issue, you can have someone come in and stain it for a minimal amount of money). If you think you might be moving in 5 or so years, why don’t you change it now so that you can also enjoy it?

6. Kitchen - When your appliances are getting to look a little…used- Maybe you are getting tired of them? Change those also, and don’t forget to buy ENERGY STAR appliances! If you want to spice it up a little bit more, change the color of them. That would then be updating. Then maybe change the paint and the light over the breakfast table, faucet on the sink. You would have a whole new kitchen for less than $300. Update the pulls on the cabinet doors/drawers, countertops maybe?

5. Bathrooms - The same thing goes here as in the Kitchen. If money allows you can always update the shower and flooring. If not? Just changing out the light fixtures (ENERGY STAR of course) a little paint or American Clay Wall Plaster and you will be lookin’ good!

4. Exterior of the Home - Painting the exterior was mentioned above, but there is so much more to the exterior of the home. If you have gutters, clean them out regularly. Not just to look nice, but to reduce the maintenance of your home as they can cause severe wood rot. Speaking of wood rot, change out the wood that needs to go if there is any. Get the roof changed or washed (don’t forget the radiant barrier) - Should you change out the windows? Check with a local Real Estate Professional, but if this is something you want to do, you will likely get your money back on resale and THEN some.

3. Reduce Your Energy Bills - Now, this is something to do even if you don’t want to move. It could be as simple as sealing around your doors and windows and upgrading to Energy Efficient (ENERGY STAR) items as you go through the home. Make the home a little more affordable to actually LIVE in, and you will likely see the return when you go to sell. On top of that, put a little more money in your pocket every month before you decide to make the big move. First things first though, get an energy audit!

haisma skyvale 2. Upgrade - If you are changing out items in your home, and the Comparables allow you to do so, Upgrade what you put in. Remember, when you go to sell, the other homes around you will likely be your competition. What can you put in that maybe some other homes won’t have? Just don’t over improve your home! I recommend getting with a local real estate professional to find out how much you have to play with in your renovations if there is a chance you may move in the next 5 years.

1. Curb Appeal - This is number One! Your front yard is the first thing that people see, make sure that you make a good impression. Do a little bit of landscaping and maybe try to use Native plants to your Region. People are busy and don’t always like to have High Maintenance yards, but we LOVE to enjoy them. Try to Landscape somewhere in the middle. Let it Dazzle but be easy to keep that way.

Houston Skyline It really is easy as that! If you are having a hard time figuring out what to do to your home, contact a local Professional whether it be a Remodeler, Interior Designer, Landscape Company or Real Estate Professional.

My best advice would be to make a list. Write down what you want to see in your home over the next ‘X’ years or months and how much they will cost. From there it will probably be easier to figure out in what order you want to complete the tasks. Stephanie Edwards-Musa

Stephanie Edwards-Musa is a Realtor® and Certified EcoBroker® in Houston, Texas. She teaches a course on "Making Your Home More Energy Efficient" at Lone Star College and is the founder of .


  1. January 2nd, 2009 | 10:06 pm

    This is great practical and smart information. Thanks for sharing.

  2. January 21st, 2009 | 3:49 pm

    This was great information! Simple, yet tangible. I was looking for some tips to put in our monthly neighborhood newsletter, and I referenced your articlce with a link. I think many of my neighbors will appreciate these tips. Thanks, Colleen

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