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These home improvements have the most bang for the buck

If you have a little more capital to invest, creating outdoor space with a deck is a high-value addition to your home. Turnbull estimated that a 10-foot-by-10-foot can cost about $3,000, but it will add much more in sale value to the home.

“People look for that kind of thing,” she said. “People like to have a place outdoors, a place to put their grill and sit. A deck is a really good addition.”

Boston said that choosing lower-maintenance materials like a composite deck with vinyl railings is more appealing for buyers.

Turnbull warned, however, that because “people have been adding decks like crazy” since the pandemic started, there is a shortage of pressure-treated lumber and composite materials for decks, so it may take some searching.

Add a small garden

Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN

Aside from the fact that gardening is a great way to pass the time in the age of the pandemic, adding a raised bed or a small garden to your property

“Outdoor landscaping is a great thing that homeowners can take on themselves, but I wouldn’t go too crazy,” Turnbull said. “A lot of people don’t like the maintenance of a lot of flower beds, but keeping it simple. Adding a pop of color is always a good idea.”

Boston agreed.

“For some people, they purchased this house over that house because it has this well-established garden that they’re excited about,” Boston said. “The next person says, ‘Not that house,’ because it has an established garden that they have to take care of. A little bit of colors, perennials, something that wouldn’t take a lot of time to manage would be a good thing to have.”

For urban properties, adding a tree can have a high rate of return.

“If you’re in a more condensed neighborhood, nice buffer trees would increase the value of a house to increase separation between you and neighbor [and] increase a sense of privacy,” Turnbull said.

Stay on top of regular maintenance

Credit: Kevin Bennett | BDN

No matter whether you are looking to stay in your house or sell it, regular maintenance will have high returns.

“The biggest return for money spent is regular maintenance,” Boston said. “A house that’s cared for holds more value than one that isn’t.”

Regular maintenance tasks include updating, painting or installing new siding, replacing windows and repairing the roof when needed, Turnbull said.

While many other updates can be subjective based on trends and buyer preferences in terms of whether or not they are going to add value to your home, regular maintenance is a sure bet.

“Residential value is driven by so many emotional factors, [so] you can only take it so far,” Boston said. “Regular maintenance is your best hedge against losing value and perhaps even enhancing it.”

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