10 features that add value to your home

Here are 10 features that can add value to your home:

1. An updated kitchen. Buyers are looking for solid surface counters and high-quality flooring, such as wood, laminate, tile or stone. Also important are newer appliances in working order. Even if your kitchen isn't huge, it should have usable countertops in good condition.
Be wary if renovations are out of character with the community, such as granite countertops in a subdivision where plastic laminate is the norm.

2. Modern bathrooms. A big asset is a spa or a whirlpool tub. Some other features buyers are seeking are separate showers with steam and/or multiple jets, a double sink, and a separate room for the toilet. Make sure the plumbing and water heater can handle the job. The pipes have to be large enough to carry an adequate volume of water and the water heater has to be big enough to accommodate it.

3. A well-appointed master suite. The wish list: A luxurious bathroom, lounging areas and walk-in closets.

4. Natural materials. In floor coverings -- especially bathrooms or kitchens -- look for ceramic tile or wood rather than linoleum, which can tear.

5. Curb appeal. First impressions are everything. A house that appears tidy and well-cared-for will sell more quickly and for more money. A good first appearance can add as much as 10 percent to the value of the home.

6. A light, airy, spacious feel. People are drawn to space and light in a home.

7. Good windows. Insulated windows are always a plus. Well-placed skylights are also a good touch to add value.

8. Landscaping. Mature trees add lots of value and having outdoor spaces with touches such as pergolas and Victorian garden swings are popular. Conversely, you don't have to spend a fortune on plants, either, just keep it typical with the neighborhood.

9. Lots of storage. Nothing beats an oversized garage, some attic space and plenty of closets.

10. Basement. A finished basement adds even more value.


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