In The News

Simple ways to boost your home's value

2017-02-04 by Angela Vinet

With a fluctuating real estate market, it is difficult for homeowners to know the true value of their home.  When looking at budgets and figures - how can homeowners know what improvements will boost home value and register as a smart investment?

To understand home value, one must first understand the difference between current market value and an appraised value, as well as how the two are used in the real estate world.

Dixey Robertson, executive officer of Home Builders Association of Northwest Louisiana, explains the difference between the two values.  She says that while an appraisal value is based upon comparable sales in the area and can not be directly influenced by the homeowner, the market value is the actual dollar amount the property can sell for.

Realtors use the appraisal amount to help them find the current market value.

Where adding square footage such as an attic conversion will increase the appraisal value, Robertson said that finishes, such as flooring and countertops, boost the market value.

Using study market trends, Robertson said adding green and energy conserving features, such as foam insulation and double paned windows, are a sound investment while she also cautioned homeowners to think of the resale when looking into permanent or expensive changes to the home.  Anything too personal, she pointed out, could be something future owners would not want or need (like hot pink tile in the bathroom.)

According to the National Association of Home Builders, American’s spent $121.9 billion on improvements to their home in 2014.

"A home is a major investment,” said Robertson, “Adding energy efficient features or design features that accommodate aging in place such as a downstairs master, bathroom with walk-in shower and zero threshold doorways will improve your family’s enjoyment of your home as well as add long-term value.”

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To better understand appraisal value, Robert E. McKinnon Jr., who has been appraising property for the past 20 years in both New Orleans and Shreveport, broke down the role of an appraiser.  “Appraisers provide objective, impartial and unbiased opinions about the value of real property,” McKinnon explained. “This service is provided to those who own, manage, sell, invest in and/or lend money on the security of real estate.”

As the CEO and chief appraiser for EppraisalNetwork since its beginning 2008, McKinnon was recently appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board.

McKinnon says homeowners looking to boost their home value should research other properties recently sold in the market/neighborhood to discover what the home may be lacking.


For example, “If you find that a majority of the sales have two and half baths and your house has two baths, you may want to consider adding a half bath - consider cost versus value. In this example see what the market is paying for half baths and keep your budget under that value,”  he said.

McKinnon also said a good rule of thumb for homeowners to get the most value for their monetary investment is to update the kitchen and bathrooms.

“Understanding appraised value is important.  It ensures the homeowner does not over pay or over improve a home,” mentioned McKinnon.   Remembering cost does not equal value, and he suggests consulting an appraiser or realtor before making any large home improvements.

Monroe Realtor Elizabeth Harrison Clack works with home buyers and sellers daily.  As a realtor, Clack determines the market value of a home by using the appraisal as a tool and starting place to find a market value.  With location as the single most important factor in determining the value of a home, Clack explained that prospective buyers will compare properties based upon what has sold in the available area.

“Property values are affected by the current real estate market,” explained Clack. “As the market cannot be manipulated, a flexible marketing plan should be developed by analyzing the current marketing conditions and the individual features of the property.”


With the condition of the property affecting the price and speed of the sale, purchasers often make offers based upon emotion, so a first impression is important, Clack says.

Pricing a home properly at the very beginning is a determining factor in the length of time it will take to sell a home.  “Optimizing the physical appearance of the home will maximize the buyers perception of value,” she adds.


Each neighborhood has a maximum price per square foot.  To figure how much money can be invested in the home with hopes of a return upon the sale, Clack said to subtract the neighborhood’s maximum price per square foot from the actual purchase price to find the amount homeowners could safely invest in renovations. 
When looking at home improvements and investing money into a home, it’s always best to consult the professionals before over spending hurts chances of a good return down the road.


Increase your home's market value by: 

-Upgrade appliances
-Update counter tops, bathroom sinks, showers, and cabinetry.  
-Repaint ceilings and walls with trending neutral colors.
-Remove popcorn from ceilings to achieve a smooth finish.
-Update the lighting and fixtures and change out light bulbs to ensure bright light in the house.  
-Make all repairs before listing

(Courtesy of Elizabeth Harrison Clack)

Before having your home appraised:

1) Make sure that everything is working.
2) Inspect your property for any small repairs that can be done prior. 
3) Replace all rotted wood and touch up any peeling paint. 
4) Make sure your home is clean.  

(Courtesy of Robert E. McKinnon Jr. )


Most popular remodeling jobs:
-Bathroom remodeling
-Kitchen remodeling
-Windows/doors replacement
-Whole house remodeling
-Room Additions
-Repairing property damage
-Finished Basement
-Handyman Services
-Siding
-Roofing
-Decks
-Enclosed/added porch

(Courtesy of  NAHB- National Association of Home Builders)