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Accent Your Assets! How Home Improvement Turns Up the Volume on Value – Presented by Erica Deuschle

Realtor and home design aficionado Erica Deuschle tells us how to make our home improvements count.

As homeowners, we spend a lot of time managing all of the moving parts necessary to keep  a household running smoothly – from family schedules to chores and errands, from home improvement projects to budgets and bills. We expend so much energy to keep our houses in order that when we’re at rest, we’re all the more grateful for a safe, comfortable place to land. 

But for homeowners, your living space is also a financial asset. And whether you plan to spend two, five, or ten more years in your current home, preserving that investment is vital. Aside from regular maintenance on the natural wear-and-tear that occurs over time, what’s the best way, not just to safeguard your home’s market value, but to improve it? Award-winning, longtime Realtor Erica Deuschle says to “work from the outside in.”

Realtor Erica Deuschle

“Curb appeal is so much more important than people give it credit for,” says Erica. “And it’s the right place to start. Working on your exterior is an inexpensive way to instantly add value to a home and make it more appealing.” 

Erica suggests a manageable approach with impactful changes. “Add some foundation landscaping, hang shutters, paint your front door,” she says. Consider small but visible improvements like power-washing decks and exteriors, pressure-washing walkways, adding hardscaping, or even painting your exterior to protect surfaces and make your house a neighborhood standout.

Updated kitchens and baths are two big-ticket items when it comes to value and are high on the list for buyers, but you don’t need a full remodel or high-end materials to add wow factor appreciable by your family and the current market. Erica’s advice here is to start with the foundation, then accessorize. “Make sure the base layer of the space is in good shape. Glazing is an affordable way to modernize dated tile, for example.” 

Erica’s kitchen cabinets used to be dark cherry. She chose Alabaster, a softer white appropriate for her 100-year-old home.

Further improvements to kitchens and baths can be made with minimal expense by choosing carefully, with thoughtful changes like painting cabinetry, swapping out light fixtures, and updating appliances. John Neill, proprietor of Ardmore-based John Neill Painting, agrees with Erica’s take on the impact and cost-effectiveness of painting to give new life to existing cabinetry. He advises using a professional to paint cabinets for the kind of polished finish that will completely transform the space. “It’s the most affordable way to update a kitchen,” says John. 

Painting indoors is another practical solution for rejuvenating your living space. Erica advises working with neutrals when considering resale, but adds an important reminder: your home’s interior should reflect who you are. While freshening an interior with paint is bound to make a better sale, we should make the most of our homes while we live in them.

As you consider what you can do to increase your home’s comfort and value, keep in mind a few caveats. “Be careful about conversions,” Erica says. “Consult an expert before changing a bedroom into a bathroom, or converting a garage.” The demographics of your neighborhood are nearly as important to your home’s value as its condition, since buyer needs and expectations for family neighborhoods have a significant  impact on selling potential. If your home is surrounded by three-bedroom houses and yours has only two, you’re at a disadvantage when you decide to sell. 

Erica’s master bedroom features neutral walls with white molding, a current look in keeping with her home’s architecture and history.

A crafty way to get around that? Add living space and increase value by finishing your  basement. Not only do finished basements add extra space for your family, they’re extremely desirable to buyers. Plus here’s a little-known tip: finishing a basement for extra room instead of tacking on an addition will keep your taxes at bay. Additions cause your yearly taxes to be reassessed and inflated, while below-grade-level living space will not! 

Ultimately, our homes belong to us, to our families, to our memories, even after we decide to move on. When making changes, do your best to add value and keep your financial standing secure, but don’t forget the value we place on what “home” means. Choose what you love, what reflects your lifestyle, and what fulfills your family’s needs.

“Everyone should love where they live,” says Erica. “I genuinely believe that. I think it’s so important to love the home you live in.”

This sponsored story supports the Main Line Parent Community. Photos courtesy of Erica Deuschle.

Contributing Writer