Renovating your home will increase its value and make it a nicer place for you to live. But many people don't have the money to spend on expensive housing upgrades. Here's what you need to know about making affordable improvements for your home, as well as a few budget-friendly projects to add beauty, value and selling appeal to your home.
The Effect Affordable Improvements Have On Home Value
If you're trying to add value to your home, several projects tend to add more value than others. For example, upgrading kitchens with new appliances and fixtures will pay off, especially if you're updating a particularly old space. Bathrooms are another source of home value when updating accessories and features. Tidying up outdoor areas tends to pay off, and any major improvements such as a roof, siding, and windows almost always earn their cost back. Many of these upgrades can be accomplished by the owner of the home with a little DIY elbow grease and by renting a dumpster to keep the process clean and organized.
Homeowners should be cautious about a few projects that may actually bring the price of their home down. In general, highly personal improvements may prove to be an annoyance to a potential buyer. Luxuries that are not proportionate with the house or neighborhood, such as marble flooring, may also be a mistake. Lastly, garage conversions and swimming pools are two projects that might steer potential buyers elsewhere.
Give Your Kitchen A Facelift
The kitchen is the heart of any home, so spend a few hundred dollars to spice it up. You can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles, and update old lighting fixtures. If you have a dark or small kitchen, make it look larger and brighter by using a lighter finish on the cabinets.
If the kitchen countertop is outdated, consider using a Laminate countertop. They are inexpensive and come in all types of colours and patterns, some of which resemble much more expensive solid surface materials, such as stone or tile.
Liven Up The Bathroom
Buy "expensive-looking" hardware for taps and showers and get a sophisticated new look without cleaning out your wallet. Like in the kitchen, soft lighting and warm colours here can go a long way in increasing home value. Add vases and plants as design elements and make sure vanity mirrors are at an accessible height for every member of the family.
If your bathroom requires any plumbing or electrical fixing, get a professional to do it.
Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint
New paint makes everything look clean and bright, and you can do it yourself relatively inexpensively on interior walls.
Paint with a neutral colour such as beige. It will make the house seem larger, and it will be inoffensive to buyers. And don't forget the ceiling. Paint the trim a contrasting colour.
Add Wood Trim And Cornicing
These are cheap and easy do it yourself, but can add tons of "WOW" factor to the look of your home. Simple ceiling trim and armchair railing are the easiest and most typical upgrades found in newer homes.
To make an even bolder statement, paint the walls a neutral, flat colour and paint the trim a high gloss white.
Consider Your Flooring Options
If your home has hardwood floors covered with carpeting, consider restoring the original hardwood floors, particularly if the carpeting is old and worn.
If not, you can shampoo or steam clean your carpets, or use a dry cleaning system, which requires no water or steamer, and dries instantly while killing virtually all mold and bacteria. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions, and then vacuum. If all else fails, get a professional to do the carpets for you. You'd be surprised how much better your carpet will look after a good cleaning.
Enhance The Lighting
Consider replacing the dining room lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Create a comfortable ambience with recessed lighting that is controlled with dimmer switches to provide the appropriate amount of light for different activities.
Use indirect lighting focused away from television and computer screens to reduce eyestrain.
Install Modern Light Switches And Outlets
Some of the new style switches can be easily installed using the wires already running to the old switches. Turn off the power to the room or entire house before doing any work. The new outlets look nice, and give the impression that the electrical wiring in the house is newer than it really is.
Create More Storage
Extra storage is always a plus. You don't need to renovate to add more storage space, you can create more space for free and without remodelling your home! Revamping your existing closets can do the job.
Many old houses lack closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, add do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms.
Make your closets serve a variety of purposes. Try adding a shelving unit to a clothes closet where you can store pantry goods and other items.
Reframe Your Front Entry
The front door is the statement that you make in your house, and a front door in need of work gives a wrong first impression.
Refinish the front door with a new coat of paint. Replace that worn, flimsy little knob on your main entry door with a more substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware signals newcomers that this is a solid home.
While you are preparing the door for the finish coat, be sure to check the weather stripping for damage. With soaring energy costs, adding some new weather stripping can quickly pay you back in utility savings.
Placing planters on either side of the front door will also enhance the image of your entry.
Landscape The Front Yard
A nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept walkway make a great first impression. Get your green thumb on, install some new sod, plant a few evergreen shrubs, and give your front yard a good cleanup. This will draw attention to your home and change people's perception of your home.
Today, there are dozens of choices of plant materials that can add colour and style to your front yard. Stop by your local landscaping centre—they'll have dozens of ideas for you.
Ready to renovate but on a tight budget? Spend money on what can be seen versus what can't be seen. Think new door handles, not new doors, and spiffed-up appliance fronts, not new appliances. Fix up the exterior first, then the interior.
If you put some of these tips in action, you will boost your home's value and live happily ever after in your dream home. Enjoy!
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.