Economists have long taught that the most valuable asset people possess is their home. For most, owning and maintaining that house consumes a handsome portion of their income.
You have probably wondered at times if all the hard work and expense was worth it. The short answer is yes. Your home is one of your possessions that actually accrues value over time if it is well maintained.
It is an asset that ‘appreciates’ in value. That is its value increases with the passage of time.
Practically every other thing you own ‘depreciates’ in value as soon as you buy it.
Vehicles are a prime example of a depreciating asset. Common knowledge is that a vehicle’s value depreciates the instant you drive it off the lot.
Since your house is an asset that increases in value, it is just good stewardship to do all you can to enhance its value and curb appeal. Let’s first take a look at how home values are arrived at.
In other words, how is the true value of your home determined? What gets counted as value and what does not.
Estimated Real Value
First, understand that there is no national, established set of valuations. Different regions of the country have different standards for what they deem valuable and what is less so.
Where you live is as much a determining factor on home value as any other variable. Location is always a major factor when pricing any asset.
The region of the country and even where you are within that region affects value. Different areas within regions get assigned value by the people who live there and are familiar with the town or city.
The people who live in the neighborhood pretty much determine whether their neighborhood is a desirable location or a less desirable one. Home values are directly affected by this determination.
Square Footage and Amenities
Other than location, square footage determines value. Square footage directly answers the question of ‘just how much house am I getting for the price you are asking’.
Builders price construction costs on a per square foot basis to help determine total building costs. Realtors often first quote the square footage to interested buyers.
Other structural features which add value to your house are garages, porches, decks, and patios. Enclosed garages add privacy and value. Porches, decks, and patios increase the outdoor living spaces and add to the overall appearance of the house.
Yards complete the overall appearance of the home. The terrain of the yard, meaning how it lays, or its features, either creates a cozy, comfortable setting for the house, or it does not.
Flat or gently sloping yards with thick, green grass create an inviting play-in-the-yard homeliness. Steeply inclined or declined and rocky yards just do not establish that kind of connection, unless you are a mountain goat.
There is a world of difference between the appearance of a property with immaculate landscaping and a poorly cared for yard. The contrast is stark, and it can make a huge difference in home value.
Landscaping is more or less the frame of your total house portrait you present to the passing public. It can accentuate structural features, and it can highlight unique yard characteristics. Landscaping is essentially a visual guide for taking in the total image your house presents.
How to Increase Real Value
The clearly obvious solution for increasing your home’s real value is to add either structural square footage or to enhance your yard and grounds. First, let’s look at home additions. We will discuss the yard improvements below.
Adding square footage to your house is an expensive and disrupting undertaking. Tying in plumbing, heating and other structural details can alter or interrupt daily living.
Correctly blending in the addition with the existing house can also be tricky.
Ideally, you want the addition to look like it was original to the house, and not just a tacky, stuck-on room that clearly does not fit.
Often, the best and least troublesome solution for adding home value is much simpler and far less expensive. Dressing up your yard can often significantly improve home values much more quickly and easily.
One of the best ways to enhance the yard and grounds surrounding your home is to plant a garden. Nothing showcases yards and landscaping like a well planned and laid out garden.
The options are practically limitless. First, determine the size and shape. Selecting plants, shrubbery and miniature trees is a real delight.
Gardens can offer an endless supply of flowers and fragrances which give a home its own distinctive familiarity. Occasional, miniature fruit trees can add the horticultural element.
There is just something exciting about watching something you planted grow, flourish and produce a tasty reward that can be shared with family and neighbors.
What is that old saying about every wise farmer keeping his tools in a good shed? You are going to need tools and equipment to keep your yard’s beauty returning year after year.
Tool sheds are the ideal solution for keeping your tools safely stored and out of the weather. There are plenty of size and style choices that perfectly blend in with your house, yard, and garden.
You can get some free shed plans here. A tool shed neatly tucked into a corner of the yard and carefully landscaped becomes a highlight for that section of the yard.
Also, garage owners have a bad habit of using them as storage for everything. Having an additional outside storage area like a tool shed helps with this clutter problem. Tool sheds also improve home values and attractiveness to the prospective buyer.
Gazebos are another delightful addition to your garden. While they are not suited for storage, they do present an inviting place to sit and admire the garden surrounding them.
They can even be built large enough to entertain small groups of friends and family. Hanging neat little features like hummingbird feeders greatly enhances your enjoyment of them.
Adding living space and value to the home can be done in more ways than building extra rooms. Your yard offers some amazing and fun ways to increase outside living spaces. Consider some of them to save time and money in your home value improvement efforts.