What Home Improvements Add the Most Value in Washington State?

August 28, 2020
Last updated:
October 21, 2021
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Summary: Only certain home improvements can improve a seller’s asking price in WA State. Remodeling and updating the kitchen is one. Showing plenty of open space is another. Energy-saving measures; safety fixtures for seniors; and functions wired to smart technology round out those renovations that add financial worth.

When people spend decades in a home, they will often add to, re-condition or otherwise renovate the structure to their liking. Personal comfort and convenience is a driving motivation. Still, the investment of time and money in home improvement work is also made with an eye to the future, specifically the time when re-sale is imminent.

Many, however, are shocked when appraisals and proposed contracts do not seem to reflect their expenditures on shoring up and beautifying their property. Such surprise comes from the mistaken assumption that every upgrade has a market value. In the state of Washington, only certain renovations add value to real estate.

Modernize the Kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of family life. Everyone needs it, uses it and associates it with sustenance and domesticity. Actually, in the state of Washington, the law allows certain edibles to be made and sold in residential kitchens.

However, if a kitchen is looking old or run down; if its appliances are from a bygone era; and if its floor plan is difficult to navigate, then the house will be less than ideal for buyers. This shows up in the modesty of any offers that are issued on the presumption that enhancements will have to be made upon purchase.

New countertops — quartz, for example — are one element of a revitalized kitchen, as are new ovens and stove tops, dishwashers and refrigerators. It is optimal when these replacements are coordinated with each other in terms of appearance. Stainless steel, for instance, conveys cleanliness and newness.

The placement also counts. Sometimes the dimensions of the kitchen make an island advantageous; in other houses, the island is an obstacle to be removed. Consumer Reports estimates that such changes can augment a sales price by up to seven percent.

Make Room for More Room

Home buyers to whom space is a premium commodity can not necessarily afford a gargantuan house. At the same time, they might not need one. Optimizing space can add a lot of usable square footage to the mix. Case in point: the basement.

Those young families with children will like to see a finished basement that can accommodate play dates and game time rather than simply serve as a subterranean attic. Speaking of attics, that, too, is a worthy room for conversion. With more people telecommuting, home offices ready for occupancy make a prospective home more attractive.

There are other ways to maximize space that cost next to nothing. Disposing of unused furniture, books, shelves, exercise equipment, gadgets and assorted bric-a-brac can open up large areas of a house that have been concealed. Ridding the space of clutter is to instill renewed youth to the house.

Appraisal pictures will show spacious living areas that appeal to buyers. Walk-throughs will better impress prospective purchasers when they can better imagine how they will use the full capacity that rooms have to offer. Especially compelling are rooms that would serve multiple purposes.

Power Up with Energy Efficiency

Home buyers are frequently moved by two concerns: saving money and going green. These represent the same solution — energy efficiency. Adequate insulation with a strong resistance to heat flow is one such measure in that direction.

Likewise, glass windows should now be outfitted with emissivity coatings that deflect ultraviolet light. This prevents the fading of upholstery and wallpaper. A house that uses less electricity while standing up against the elements is worth the extra dollars to ecologically minded shoppers.

Make the House Senior-Friendly

Whether senior citizens — representing 15 percent of Washington’s populace — are the buyers or their children want to make their own house more accessible for aging parents, certain improvements can draw interest. One such modification is having a walk-in shower in at least one bathroom.

As joints stiffen and bones get brittle, stepping over the curb becomes an unpleasant chore for some older people. Some designs even allow for wheelchair accessibility. In addition, safety rails in the shower and by the toilet are a comfortable sight to buyers concerned about themselves or a loved one falling.

Another irresistible benefit for an aging person that is also a favorite of many others is the first-floor master bedroom. The obvious pro is that it eliminates the burden of stair-climbing. Yet this arrangement also helps younger parents.

It creates a buffer zone between them and the kids as they grow into adolescents and stay up later at night. When the children move out, parents can shut off heat and air conditioning from the upper floors thus saving even more money. As boomers and Gen-Xers mature to senior status and incomes are fixed, such economies become ever more important to their quality of life.

Employ Smart Technology

A veteran homeowner with three or more decades of household stewardship under the belt might scoff at the latest devices. After all, why does anyone need automation to lock a door or turn up the heat? This, of course, is the wrong question to ask. The focus should rest on what ups a house’s sale value.

The fact remains that millennials like to save time even more than dollars. Anything that does so — even by seconds — is worth looking at. Even if the buyer is not a technophile, he or she will understand how a totally wired home is a more valuable asset.

Smart plugs and WI-Fi-compatible power strips can connect standard appliances, lights and other typical household fixtures to Wi-Fi devices or voice-activated hubs and controllers. Similarly, surveillance cameras and smart locks are installations well worth the financial investment because — in addition to boosting family safety and security — they often result in a sale price upturn.

The doorbell cam is a device that holds strong appeal in an age of theft and home invasions (a sad reality, now, in the Seattle area). Such automation will soon be expected by house shoppers.

Think About Sale Value When Buying

It might seem like an eternity away but these home improvements will matter when it is time to sell. Getting the most value when buying is half the battle. This means receiving home financing on the choice of terms. Getting in touch with a loan consultant who can explain the process and quickly arrive at a prequalification is step one.

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Ready to Apply For a Mortgage?

Do you have questions about home loans? Are you ready to apply for a mortgage to buy a home? If so, Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a local mortgage company from Bellevue, Washington serving the entire state, as well as Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. We offer many mortgage programs to buyers all over the Pacific Northwest.

Contact us for a rate quote and to answer any questions relating to your purchase or refinance in Washington State. You can also View Rates on our website. You can also Apply Instantly or get a Rate Quote if you’d prefer.

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