Expert tips to increase home value, safety

A new, online tool is now available for Atlantans looking to buy a home.

Whether you’re hoping to sell, rent, or simply just update your home, there are a few key areas experts say are worth taking a look at.

As homes age and trends come and go, our needs and tastes change. Those changes affect our living spaces. We expand or downsize, we fall in love with new trends or grow tired of old ones. Our homes reflect our lifestyles and sometimes changes need to be made.

But there are a few things we shouldn’t ignore if we’d like to improve the value — and sometimes, safety — of our homes.

The breakfast room leads to the laundry along a shiplap wall and barn door — both which were added during the $250,000 worth of renovations over the course of four months. Tracy Davis from Creative Closets designed the laundry space, which has Electrolux appliances and a gray rug from Target. The black mirror is from Ballard Designs while the wood demilune console table is from Crate & Barrel. Text by Marena Galluccio/Fast Copy News Service. (Christopher Oquendo/

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Thoughtful design

William Bedgood of Team Bedgood at Keller Williams Intown Atlanta said sometimes people make changes to their homes on a whim or according to trends. Those changes may not be in the best interest of the owner or the home.

“Look over the past 50 or 100 years and see what people are trying to undo that was done because something was trendy for a while,” he said. “Today, I see architects and designers editing down some of the features that were installed because something was trendy in the ‘90s but perhaps isn’t what they want now. Be careful about being trendy. For example, at one time, barn doors and shiplap were trendy but they’ve outlived their usefulness.”

Areas you should certainly look at updating, he said, are kitchens and bathrooms.

“In most cases, these are the best rooms on which to spend money,” Bedgood said. “Kitchens and bathrooms have gotten bigger. That may be a direction you’d like to go. But always remember to design thoughtfully. Think about a five-, 10- or 15-year plan. What will your needs be for this home in a few years?

While trends come and go, he emphasized, classic design never goes out of style.

Lighter colors, durable flooring and flex rooms

When buying and selling homes in and around metro Atlanta, Patches Dabbs, a real estate agent with Patches Dabbs Realtor and Associates, said there are a few updates she’s seeing pay off for homeowners. She agrees with Bedgood that updated bathrooms and kitchens are a big seller and included a few other suggestions.

“Since COVID, flex rooms are a big thing,” she said, referring to the space in a home that could be used for a variety of different purposes. “Think about converting a room to a space that can change according to your needs. Home offices are also very popular now, even more so than before.”

One of the first things to consider even before taking out a wall or adding a new decorative feature is how the home will be used in the future.

Painting individual rooms can be an inexpensive upgrade as well. Dabbs said many home buyers are looking for lighter colors in homes as opposed to darker ones. While some homeowners enjoy the moody atmosphere darker colors can lend to a space, many prefer a more airy, cooler vibe that light colors bring.

Dabbs also suggests updating flooring away from carpet and toward more durable flooring, such as vinyl, tile or hardwood.

Bird-Family Insulation employee Andrew Illick spray-foams the heating, ventilation, and AC boots around the furnace to seal any holes in the crawl space in the Pennyman home.

Credit: JASON GETZ /

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Credit: JASON GETZ /

Crawl spaces and HVAC

Rob Smith, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty Intown Atlanta, specializes in older homes. He said we’re now at a point where homeowners must look at those older homes built on brick piers to check for stability and to see if those need to be updated or upgraded.

Another area Smith emphasized was crawl spaces.

“Abandoned crawl spaces kill deals,” he said. “Neglected crawl spaces are no longer accepted by buyers. If your crawl space hasn’t been kept in pristine condition, I’d strongly recommend having it evaluated by a water-mitigation specialist.”

He also suggested having a trusted heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician service your HVAC system at least twice a year in the spring and fall.

“But be aware of unnecessary updates and upgrades,” he said. “Do your research. It’s easy to fall prey to being sold a bill of goods. Always get two quotes. When you call company A, tell them you’re also talking to company B and name that company. Chances are they’ll get straight to the matter.”

“So many people don’t keep their systems up,” he added. “As an older historic homes specialist, these are the things I see hanging up my contracts.”