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Home improvement projects to increase property value

A home is a big investment, but many home improvement projects, if done strategically, can increase the property value and get homeowners a good return. Here are five expert recommendations for work that will get you the most money back when it comes time to sell.

Here are five expert recommendations for work that
Photo Credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images/Justin Krug

Here are five expert recommendations for work that will get you the most money back when it comes time to sell.

OPEN UP SPACES

Homebuyers are generally looking for open spaces with
Photo Credit: iStockphoto by Getty Images

Home buyers are generally looking for open spaces with good flow, so bringing smaller rooms, such as the kitchen and living room, together can make a home feel less cramped. If you have both a family room and a living room, the living room becomes redundant, says contractor Stephen Fanuka, host of the DIY Network’s "Million Dollar Contractor." In his own Manhasset home, Fanuka expanded his kitchen into what had been the dining room, creating a dining area in the living room and using the family room to gather. “We’re getting rid of the formal areas,” Fanuka says.

DO YARD WORK

Curb appeal is very important for a
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Curb appeal is very important for a housme that's on the market.  Matt Smith, president of Mineola-based real estate appraisal firm Standard Valuation Services, recommends regularly resealing the driveway, power washing the house if it has siding and ripping out older shrubbery. Outside improvements, such as replacing the front and garage doors and the roof, usually have the some of the best returns on investment. “It doesn’t cost a lot of money, but it goes a long way with the appeal of the home,” Smith says. “A new roof will make a house look new, even if it’s not.”

MAKE SMALL CHANGES

If you don’t have the budget for
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If you don’t have the budget for a big kitchen remodeling, more affordable changes, such as buying new appliances, changing the hardware on cabinets and installing new countertops, are smaller ways to boost the appeal of an older space. Especially in the higher-end markets, the money spent on a new kitchen isn’t always recouped. “If you have an upper-end home, $5 million or more, you might redo that tired kitchen, but the new buyer is going to rip it out anyway because it wasn’t what they wanted,” says Matt Smith, president of the Mineola-based real estate appraisal firm Standard Valuation Services.

UPGRADE LIGHTING

Most homebuyers like spaces to be bright,
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Most home buyers like spaces to be bright, so installing new light fixtures, changing to brighter bulbs and adding light switches with dimmers are all good ways to set the stage. “Provide mood lighting,” says Fanuka. “It’s very cheap to add a dimmer.”

GO GREEN

Updating older heating and air conditioning systems
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Updating older heating and air-conditioning systems is generally a smart investment. “You’re never going to lose your money on a heating system,” says Fanuka. Putting in attic insulation shows buyers that a seller has maintained the home, says Pamela Zaid of Coach Realtors in East Northport. Adding a solar energy system can also be a plus, Smith says.

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