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A few improvements add to your home’s value

Published on The Jewish Voice Rhode Island on March 12, 2015.

Five tips to help spruce up your home for spring

As Rhode Island, along with the rest of New England, digs itself out of a historic winter, the housing market is springing forward and entering the season of renewal.

“In the coming year, Rhode Island will be one of the key growth areas in New England,” Tara Demyan, of Lila Delman Real Estate, said. “With international flights coming to T.F. Green, this summer will open Rhode Island to an entirely different market.”

While the state continues to recover and build in the housing market, statewide home sales were up 6 percent with median sale price was up 8 percent from fourth quarter 2013 to fourth quarter 2014. Most notably, single-family sales increased 15 percent in Newport with the average sale price up 94 percent over 2013.

“Living and working in Providence, I have seen a renewed optimism from prospective buyers and sellers,” Andy Matt, mortgage adviser at Mortgage Master, said. “As the economy continues to improve, interest rates are at near-historic lows, and there are many well-qualified buyers out there that are eager to purchase a new home.”

With the promise of warmth and sunshine ahead, homeowners are beginning their spring cleaning and updates, while others are looking to buy.

“My clients are now looking for move-in ready homes with an open layout with big, bright rooms, natural light,” Demyan said. “For Rhode Island, homes on the water or with waterfront views are extremely desirable.”

If you are looking to sell, here are the top five simple improvements to add to your home’s value, according to Tara Demyan.

Staging

“One of the biggest issues I run into is personal clutter,” Demyan said. “You want your potential buyer to be able to see themselves living in the house.”

Whether you hire a home staging company, or attempt to do it yourself, staging your home for potential buyers can amp up value. Hiding clutter and scrubbing your house top to bottom, allowing all surfaces to shine are great ways to start. Rearranging your furniture and striking a balance between clean and a lived-in look are important.

“Staging is incredibly valuable when selling your home,” Demyan said. “Most homes sell for more and in less time when staged.”

Kitchen and bathrooms

Updating bathroom vanities and kitchen countertops with a stone instantly raises value. If you are not looking to replace your cabinets, adding a fresh coat of paint can do the trick. Any kitchen and bathroom updates you make will increase the value of the home.

“Nice, large functional kitchens with an island are really in style,” Demyan said. “Your typical buyers want a nice, big kitchen where they can cook a meal while entertaining friends and family in the same space.”

However, don’t get rid of your glass or ceramic tiled backsplash or bathroom walls. Those subway tiles, known for their prominence in New York City subway stations, are a timeless accessory and can be seen in houses dating back to the 1920s. Making them clean and gleaming will instantly attract the eye.

Curb appeal

Sprucing up the outside of your home is what gets people through the door. Planting flower beds, ensuring clean cut grass, or even giving your front door a fresh coat of paint will help in that endeavor. Style a porch or balcony with seating and greenery, and play up any waterfront views.

Paint

“One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint,” Demyan said. “Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated.”

Keep the master bedroom gender-neutral, and opt out of loud colors by choosing a more sophisticated, neutral palette such as “greige” (gray-beige) or mocha. New exterior paint goes a long way as well.

The basics

However, remember the basics when improving your home. Replace your roof if it needs it, install a new furnace or central air unit and make any repairs your home may need. Nothing scares a buyer more than if a home needs extensive, and expensive, home repairs.

The catch-all

Before making any drastic improvements to your home, remember to consult with a professional.

“It’s important to speak with a reputable, knowledgeable real estate agent familiar with your city or town,” Matt said. “They are experts when it comes to home value, market conditions and what improvements should be made before they put their home on the market.”

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