55 Ways to Save Money and Build Equity

55 Ways to Save Money and Build Equity

  • Published: Jan 03, 2020

A house is among the most expensive investments that an average middle-class American makes. Naturally, we want to optimize our earning potential from our property, and often find ourselves making changes to our homes. Drastic remodeling is not always the answer.

In fact, sometimes large-scale remodeling can actually put you at a disadvantage. "Preparing a home for sale means making improvements that will help you sell the home faster -- not necessarily fetch a higher price," says Ron Hazelton, Home Improvement and Remodeling expert.

Home improvements should not cost you a fortune. Here are 55 improvements that can be achieved with almost zero investment.

The Visibility Factor
A neat and tidy property that looks presentable is a very basic and inexpensive way to increase the value of your property in the eyes of a potential buyer.

First, Work on the Outside

External Clutter
Visuals leave a strong impact on memory; a house that looks cluttered and untidy is not a pretty sight for a buyer. While a real estate agent may be able to look through the mess and perceive the true value of a property, buyers won't be so kind. They will simply ignore homes that don't appeal to them instantly. So heaps of leaves, discarded beer cans, and barbecue leftovers are a sure no-no for the exterior of your home.

Pet Implications – What's that smell?
After living with a certain smell for a while, homeowner's get used to it. This will, however, not stop visitors and potential buyers from noticing them. Households that have pets are immune to the "pet smells" that are embedded in the home. Unpleasant smells such as those of a pet (or Asian spices that are sometimes used in the kitchen) remain trapped in carpets and outsiders catch them immediately. Just as the presence of an unpleasant odor in the house reduces its value, ridding your home of unpleasant smells increases its value.

Visible Repairs
Expert renovator Steve Berges states, "When renovating a house or preparing it for sale, spend money on things a buyer can see… Fix up the exterior first, then the interior." When you get into a "buyer mindset," you will easily understand that an unkempt yard and ugly exterior means that the buyer may never reach the inside the house. So one of your most urgent tasks is to complete externally visible repairs.

Once you're done with the external repairs, take a look around the yard. Landscaping comes next - prune hedges, trees and shrubs, mow the lawn, paint the fence, and if possible, add some flowering plants in the yard.

"Keep your lawn in good condition and mow it. This includes using a weed whacker to get in the tight corners and along the edges of sidewalks and the house. Trim the hedges, get rid of weeds, and mulch the flower beds. If you don't have much to work with, plant some flowers or install some landscaping appropriate for your home and climate." (How to Inexpensively Increase the Value of Your Home)

Danny Lipford, home improvement expert offers tips on everything from planting to pruning to mowing your lawn, here.

Why the Roof?
The roof matter at all, and if yes, then how? From the curb, "the roof takes up 30% of what you see," says Berges. "If you have a nice-looking roof, that goes a long way in curb appeal for the house." So if the roof is among the first things the buyer will notice, it is worth your while to make it look appealing. You don't have to go "over the top," just ensure that it is clean and looks neat.

Why Visibility? – Choose Where to Spend
"Visibility adds value," Berges says. "The improvements that are most visible are the things you need to focus on." If you have to choose between spending money on repairing the foundation and the roof; you need to choose the roof – simply because it is more visible.   

According to the bankrate.com article, "3 simple ways to increase your home's value," when working on increasing the value of your home, "Focus first on what Berges calls the "Yikes!" appeal -- clutter, trash and bad smells that drive down a home's value." Once these basics are in place, then you can pay attention to other things. For instance, you may have spent a small fortune on re-doing your kitchen and bathrooms; but if your home is high on "Yikes!" appeal, potential buyers may not wait around to see the inside of your house.