How to Build Equity in Your Home

January 22, 2020

The following article was written by Lexi Klinkenberg for Redfin. In it you will find some excellent tips for building equity in your home.  Thanks to Lexi for including some of my comments in it. Enjoy!



How to Build Equity in Your Home

Published on: January 21, 2020 - By Lexi Klinkenberg



Building home equity is one of the many financial benefits to homeownership, but sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Increasing your property value through renovations or home additions, and paying off your mortgage, seem like the most straightforward ways to build equity. But there are also some factors that determine what your house is worth that are out of your control, like the location and popularity of the particular housing market. We gathered tips from experts in the field to share what they find to be the most effective ways to build equity in your home.  




Spurgeon Appraisals: Thinking about putting in a gazebo? A saltwater pool? Custom features may not always contribute to value, because they may not be widely accepted by your market.  Spend your money where every homebuyer looks, the kitchen, bathroom, roof, and repairs. The more you stray from the norm the less likely you’ll see a return on your investment.   


OlaesSmith Appraisals: A good way to build equity in your home is to see if your house is being used at its highest and best use. Being able to add additional square footage to your home to maximize your floor to area ratio allows you to use larger home sales when an appraisal is done on your home, which in turn will add more equity to your home versus its original smaller footprint. 


John Tsiaousis, Chicagoland Appraisals: Start by understanding what is happening in your market for the type of property you have. Let's take a 2-flat in Chicago's Logan Square for example from a real estate appraiser's perspective.  If you were to automatically remodel the kitchens and bathrooms in both units in a very short time you'd find yourself having questions as to the value. Most 2-flats in Chicago's Logan Square are not being fully remodeled, rather the 1st-floor unit is being duplexed with the basement and that is being fully remodeled to current tastes and the 2nd-floor unit is being spruced up with paint and minor updates.


Alex Argianas, Argianas and Associates: Your first priority, if you have been putting off, should be superstructure & mechanicals like the roof, HVAC system, electrical and plumbing. What’s more, a proper appraisal will identify and should apply the costs associated with these upgrades in the appraisal of the home. A new kitchen is great, but if the roof leaks or you can’t heat it, you’re going to have some unhappy home buyers. 


American Realty Appraisals: While it’s important to increase the energy efficiency of the home which will improve comfort and lower utility bills, the market doesn’t react to these critical factors that they don’t see, like they should. One thing homeowners can do which may not necessarily increase the equity in the home on a refinance, but lowering your taxes through tax appeal can increase the purchasing power of a potential buyer and thus increase buyers’ bids to purchase the property…..and that is extra equity for the homeowner.


Gynell Vestal, Consumer Home Value: Build a strong relationship with a local real estate appraiser. They should obtain an appraisal every few years to keep current with their home value and property expectations for their market. An appraiser can advise them on trends and characteristics important in their micro-market and the cost-to-value relationship of improvements remodels or upgrades being considered. This way homeowners spend their money on improvements that will maximize returns and are steered away from potential over-improvements. 


Matthew Frentheway, Aspen Appraisal Group: Typically, the amount people spend in finishing a basement will only yield about half as much in equity. So it’s not a good idea to finish one if you expect to get immediate equity back out if they sell or get a loan. It is better to do it for the use of the area, and wait for the market to increase to get your money back out.


Sun Point Appraisals Inc.</