Over the past decade, we have seen home prices rise and fall erratically, with a volatile housing market affected by inflation, the stock market, and even the political climate. With such uncertainty regarding the value of our homes, how can we ensure the stability of our future if there comes a day when we need to sell it?
The value of your home is of particular importance if you bought it in a period when the market was booming, such as the housing bubble beginning in 2001. Since then, the market has seen severe ups and downs, with a sharp increase in foreclosures during the years 2007 and 2008. Thankfully, the market is currently stable, but it would be wise to not bank on its stability further down the road. We must instead look to solutions that will help to protect the value of our homes.
How to Protect Your Home’s Value
The 10/10 rule
The 10/10 rule is a way of protecting yourself from a poor home investment. First, make sure that whatever home you bought, or are considering buying, carries a mortgage with a 10% down-payment. Despite the fact that 5% is the minimum down-payment, a 10% down-payment will provide you with extra security and chop off a larger sum from the total cost of the house. If you’re already a homeowner and didn’t manage to pay a 10% downpayment, the other half of the 10/10 rule ought to help. The other half of the rule is to stay in the house you buy for at least ten years. This helps protect your home’s value because if you bought your house when the market was booming, the value of your home will likely decline in the five years after you buy it, so staying in it for at least ten years will mean a more probable rise in the price of your home.
Home is Home
A really easy trick to help you protect your home’s value is to remember that your home is home. Too many homeowners place too much emphasis on their home as an investment, and watch the rising and falling house rates with panic and disdain. If you reside in your home, and intend to do so for the foreseeable future, carrying out standard maintenance and repairs on your home will help protect its value. More importantly, however, you’ll be carrying out the maintenance because you’re living in it, and not just because you think you’ll make an extra buck when it’s time to sell. Home value is important, but it’s more important to understand that your home is somewhere you live, and not just an investment to try to make a profit from when you sell.
If you’re particularly concerned about the value of your home, it’s advisable to hire an inspector to check out your home. There are cosmetic changes that you can do yourself, but what about structural flaws or outdated electrical or plumbing? A home inspector will be able to discover potential hidden problems that could negatively impact your home’s value. The next step is to decide whether you’re willing to spend the money on updating the functional aspects of your home.
One of the easiest ways to not only protect your home’s value but to increase it is to paint the walls. Freshly painted walls have a dramatic impact on any room. Time and wear often causes the fading or yellowing of walls, particularly if they’re painted in neutral tones. Moreover, if you have outdated wallpaper from the seventies, stripping it away and replacing it with a coat of paint will work wonders for the modernization of your home. Paint is cheap, readily available, and easy to do: pretty much anyone can paint a wall. Tired of your teenagers sitting around doing nothing but playing video games? Hand them a paint can and brush, and your chosen room will be completely revamped in a day or two!
A landscaped garden adds value to a home, and landscaping doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive. Even something as simple as planting a tree can make your home more desirable, particularly if it is correctly placed. When planting a tree, make sure you do some research on the optimal placement of it. For example, some trees such as poplar, ash, and oak, can have far-reaching roots which spread out far and wide to find sources of water. Such a tree isn’t a good choice if you don’t have ample garden space. If you’re not optimistic about planting a tree, why not opt for some beautiful shrubbery instead? You can get plants that are very low-maintenance that will add curb appeal to your home for very little cost and effort. If you’re in any way artistic, you can even paint the pots for an especially beautiful finish.
Ditch the Popcorn
Yes, it’s very messy to get rid of, yes, it can be a nightmare job—but it’s time to ditch the popcorn ceilings. For some reason popcorn ceilings are very popular: perhaps because they hide a variety of sins in a ceiling. However, nothing makes your home look more out-of-date than a popcorn ceiling. Ditching the popcorn and replacing with a smooth texture will protect the value of your home, and even increase it. Even if this isn’t a job you feel like tackling at the moment, it is an absolute must for anyone thinking of selling their house soon. As soon as a potential buyer sees the bumpy ceilings, the first thing they’ll think of is the inconvenience they’ll have to face in order to remove them: not a good start if you want your home to be appealing.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Just staying on top of standard cleaning and maintenance jobs will help your home maintain its value. Standard cleaning isn’t just about hoovering the carpet once a month. Standard cleaning can be very thorough, especially if you like things to gleam. Wiping the baseboards, cleaning the light fixtures, and keeping the interior and exterior windows shiny and streak free are all part of standard cleaning tasks that help protect the value of your home. Standard maintenance includes keeping caulking and sealing of fixtures up-to-date, roof repairs, and indoor and outdoor maintenance as required.