As a wise woman named Beyonce once said “Let Me Upgrade You!”

                 Throwing Money Into Your Home Without Throwing Money Away

              Let me just come out and say it- putting $50,000 of work into your home, doesn’t directly translate into an additional $50,000.00 in value, or an additional $50,000.00 on an appraisal. End of story. I can’t tell you how many Sellers have spent half of the initial listing consultation explaining to me why they want to list their home $100,000 higher than the comparable homes in the neighborhood. I’m a good REALTOR, but I’m no miracle worker. Installing a grotto that fits 20, a movie room with 15 sub woofers and a popcorn machine, or wall papering the entire house is your prerogative. I’m not here to advise against any of the above. It’s your space- love it. But when it comes time to list it, you may have to face the harsh reality that your man cave was not necessarily the best “investment”.

Here are some relatively easy and affordable home upgrades that will not only increase the value of your home, but will also make it more appealing to the masses (i.e. quicker to sell, i.e. $$, i.e. Cha-Ching)
1) Paint- My suggestion is to keep it neutral, go with a two-tone paint if it’s within the budget, and hire a professional (my husband will claim he’s a professional- I quickly learned my lesson after the first coat). Nothing shows better than a freshly painted house! Aside from removing any miscellaneous odors, a fresh, neutral paint color can help prospective buyers better visualize the space as their own. Don’t quote me on this, but I like to think you can get this done for approx. 1$/sq foot. Definitely worth looking into!
2) Kitchen Upgrades- Upgrading cabinets (or simply staining them), installing granite counter tops, and switching out white/black appliances for stainless steel are all simple, cost effective ways to increase the value of your home. Buyers have definitely come to expect a kitchen that is not only workable, but also shows well. Whether you’re cooking dinner for the family, socializing with friends or simply staring at the microwave waiting for your dinner to “ding”, the kitchen is the center of every day life so make sure this space is usable, warm, and inviting.
3) Replacing Windows- Having shown a lot of new construction homes this past year, I know how much energy savings can mean to a potential buyer. Replacing old windows with new dual pane, Low-E windows is a great way to set yourself apart from the rest. While installing new windows may not be the cheapest option, it’s definitely a great selling point when listing your home. My local MLS recently included a section for “energy efficient features” because this is what buyers are looking for. If you want to keep your home current and save some money on your energy bills at the same time- it’s definitely worth the investment!
4) Bathroom Upgrades- Gone are the days of tile counter tops and gold hardware. Buyer’s expect even the powder room to be “up-to-date”. I hate to have to state the obvious but I feel I must. Absolutely NO carpet in any bathroom, in any part of the house, ever. There’s just no justifying it. Buyers want tile floors, granite counter tops, and updated faucets. If you can’t afford the whole enchilada, I suggest at least updating the faucets, changing out the light fixtures and throwing in a fancy new mirror!
5) Landscaping- Curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal. If you want to get buyers in the door, you have to get them past the front yard. Whether its potting a few seasonal plants or just keeping the grass well-maintained, I can’t stress enough the importance of a well manicured yard. “If you plant it, they will come…”
6) Installing a Swimming Pool- The previous 5 suggestions have been reasonable in price. Installing a swimming pool can take months, and is anything BUT cheap. However, installing a swimming pool is a great way to increase the value of your home. Here in Las Vegas swimming pools are everything- if you don’t have a pool, you simply can’t live. Ok, you can live- but it’s a sweaty, miserable existence. While putting in a pool is a great way to increase your homes value, there’s one very important thing to keep in mind- you are not going to get back everything you put into it. If you pay 50k on a pool you will probably get an additional 20k in value. If you spend 70k, you will probably get back that same 20k in value. My advice is to put in the pool that works for you/your family, the pool that you want to enjoy for the next couple of years, and the pool that doesn’t totally wipe out your bank account. *And spare yourself the cheesy faux-rock waterfall/slide combo, please.*
And the number one renovation I would advise against (drum roll…..)
1) Converting a garage into a bedroom- Just don’t. People want  a place to park their cars. If you absolutely MUST convert your garage, make sure it’s easy enough to convert back so you won’t lose potential buyers.
And I leave you with this- do what feels right for you. Make the upgrades that better your quality of life. Just keep in mind that at some point in a year, or ten years, when you go to list your home, you’re going to have to market it to the masses. Upgrade wisely, and prosper.
Peace, Love, Properties
– Create Luck