One of the weird things about people is that we tend to downplay our strengths and focus on our weaknesses. This can go double for our homes, especially when we’re trying to assess how much they’re worth.
“It’s just another two-bedroom, two-bath.” “The backyard isn’t as big as I’d like.” “The tree in the yard is nice, but the one down the street is gorgeous.”
There may be a grain of truth to these and other observations, but it’s important to step back and consider everything your house has to offer.
Your “run-of-the-mill” two-bedroom, two-bath may also have double the closet space of all of the other homes a buyer has looked at.
Your “small-ish” backyard may be perfect for someone who wants a little bit of green but doesn’t want to go shopping for a sit-on-top lawnmower.
And never mind the tree, remember the drip irrigation you installed last year? And the French drain the year before that? And the night-blooming jasmine that makes evenings an olfactory treat?
The point we’re elaborating here is to, as Bing Crosby once crooned, “accentuate the positive” and you might just end up reaping the benefits of a higher sale price and qualifying for some of the best home mortgages for your next home.
Here are 11 elements to consider:
The Extended Neighborhood
Not just the street where you live, but the local schools, the crime rate, shopping opportunities, ease of parking, access to highways, and literally dozens of other factors.
Is there a great supermarket or Trader Joe’s nearby that can cut shopping time in half? How about a branch of the city library? A dog park?
Fire up Google Maps, or better yet go for a stroll or a leisurely drive and really take stock of everything in your surrounding area.
Time was anything 999 square feet and under couldn’t compete with the four-digit-crowd, but with downsizing all the rage, smaller homes have become more and more attractive to buyers.
Even modern science agrees, the more trees we can surround ourselves with, the better. If your neighborhood is chock-full of deep-rooted, decades-old trees, that can be a major selling point.
Tree-lined streets are also usually fun to walk, but so too are clean, well-kept downtown areas devoid of so much as a sapling. What really matters is that destinations are easily reached by foot and/or a casual stroll can be had safely and entertainingly.
When neighborhood trees aren’t enough, it’s important to have an ocean, lake or mountain, or other recreational areas close by. Even having a nearby golf course, tennis court, or park for youngsters can bring a boost to your home’s value.
The Latest and Greatest
Whether it’s the “in” accent color, the must-have décor trend, or the to-die-for design accessory. If you’ve got it, some people will want it.
And if you don’t, check and see if it’s something you can add easily or inexpensively. All-white kitchen? Funky, mid-modern sconces? As long as it’s an organic addition and doesn’t end up making your home look like a pawn shop, small changes can yield big returns.
Also, if you plan to continue living in your home for a while consider updating your appliances. You’ll get a couple of years worth of modern convenience, and prospective buyers will see still modern conveniences.
Accessory Dwelling Unit
AKA the industry term for an extra living area. It not only offers owners a room to park friends and relatives for a few days but also a rental income opportunity either with a long-term tenant or through short-term rental services such as Airbnb.
Do you live on Old Magnolia Ave? Great. Roast Meat Hill Road? Not so much. (Yes, there’s really such a street.) Does your neighborhood evoke old-world elegance or nouveau riche excess? Such things matter to many buyers.
A Place Where…
Everybody knows your name. Whether it’s a great tavern, funky coffee shop, or resurgent bookstore. A comfy hangout nearby is an asset to any home.
Thoreau had it wrong (mainly because he lived before the invention of the subwoofer). Good neighbors make good neighbors. If yours are considerate and respectful that’s a major selling point.
A Place for All Your Stuff
Built-in bookcases, under-stair storage, walk-in closets, even an original potato bin in the kitchen. Americans like having room to put things. If your house can accommodate that urge, you’ve got a leg up on the competition.
A House is (Not) Just a Home
It’s the result of many people’s tastes, quirks, design sense, needs, wants, ambitions, and on and on. As a result, even if you live in a planned community, there’s probably something to profitably differentiate your home from everyone else’s.
Want to learn more about what might make your home unique? Answer a few questions here, and a home lending expert will contact you.