When buying a house, most people want to ensure that their investment does not lose value. 

If you are planning on selling your home anytime soon or want to borrow money against your home, you should consider ways to increase the value of your house to get the most money back when you sell or have it appraised. 

Consider these ideas for increasing the value of your home.


Increase the value of your homephoto courtesy of Bill Wilson flickr.com/photos/okchomeseller/8063419857/Know the Area
You should research the homes in your area and be aware of the price they are selling and the amenities that they offer. 

Do they have a pool, mature trees, oversized lot, granite countertops, upgraded light fixtures, or other desirable features that your home does not?


Talk to a Realtor
Have a conversation with a realtor to see what buyers desire in homes specific to your area. 

If your home is older, will your tiny closets reduce the value of your home? 

Will adding trees increase your home's value? 

Does your older kitchen make your home undesirable?


Make a Plan for Your Home
After you know what the other homes in your area offer, you should make your home at least equally nice, if not a bit nicer. 

If all of the homes in your area have granite countertops, your home will have a lower value if it has laminate countertops. 

If all of the homes in your area have laminate countertops, consider installing granite countertops to make your home more valuable. 

A wise investor may do some upgrades slightly better than the competition to increase the home's value and make it sell faster, but make sure not to put in something so expensive that you will max out on the upgrade value  (such as an over the top surround sound installation or extravagant security system).


Don't Forget About the Neighborhood
When people buy or appraise a home, they are interested in the neighborhood as well as the house itself. 

Does your neighborhood have friendly neighbors with well kept yards where the only noise you hear is the chirping of birds, or does your neighborhood have a lot of traffic noise, grass that needs to be mowed, no trees, no parks, and neighbors that park their beat up cars in the street? 

The price of a home depends greatly on its location, so do whatever you can to make your neighborhood desirable. 

Create a yard of the month club to promote the beautification of your neighborhood. 

Raise money to plant trees or apply for grants to add landscaping to common areas. 

Contact your Home Owner's Association to help them crack down on homes that do not follow the rules. 

Mow the grass in a vacant lot and create a group to pick up litter. 

Observe the features of more desirable neighborhoods and homes and try to bring yours up to that level. 

Increasing the value of your home typically doesn't happen overnight, so start as soon as you can to generate the most increase over time.