Owning a home is an investment, one that must be cared for and maintained. However, for many homeowners, the thought of home improvement is overwhelming. There’s the cost, the time and the many unforeseen issues and challenges that will undoubtedly arise. Looking for home improvement tips and tricks that are manageable rather than overwhelming? Start with 10 of our favorites:
- Start small. Everyone loves to dream big, right? But when it comes to finding manageable home improvement projects, it’s important to start small — especially when you’re a novice. Find projects that don’t require a lot of effort or prep work. Even cleaning out a closet can provide an improved home experience without too much effort. You can also find easy projects that have simple online how-to guides, including painting walls, replacing dated ceiling fans, changing fixtures and more.
- Be a weekend warrior. Because time is of the essence, start by finding manageable projects that can be completed in a Saturday. If you have a bigger project, try to break it up in chunks. For example, painting a room can be completed in four chunks — paint one wall each weekend for a month. If a project impacts the entire house, break it down room by room.
- Focus on returns. It’s frustrating to spend time, money and energy on making an improvement that doesn’t increase your home’s resale value. Sunrooms, high-end kitchens, in-ground pools and whirlpool baths are great. But you’re unlikely to get that money out of the home when you sell. Front doors, garage doors, decks, new windows, and reasonable kitchen and bathroom upgrades are the real moneymakers when you’re ready to move.
- Be budget-friendly. Not only is painting relatively fast and easy, but it’s also one of the least expensive home improvements you can make. With more intensive projects, costs can spiral out of control, or you can find yourself displeased with budget-friendly materials. Make sure you have a firm grasp of the budget before you start a project, and know that costs have a tendency to creep as you face challenges.
- Stay within your neighborhood. Be careful about just how high-end your upgrades are. You want to make your home as nice as possible, but don’t upgrade it beyond what your neighborhood will support. Don’t turn your home into a luxury abode if it’s in a middle-class suburb. If you do, you’ll find it difficult to sell at anything close to its intrinsic value.
- Use experts. Kitchens and bathrooms are where you’ll make money on your home, but it’s unwise to do-it-yourself in these areas without significant experience. Work with professional remodelers or a contractor when taking on significant projects. You can even find low- and no-interest financing sometimes, and you can use review sites like Angie’s List to identify affordable, trustworthy contractors.
- Reimagine dead spaces. Room additions are a money loser. If you’d like more space, reimagine an area that you never use. Basements and attics are perfect for this, and because they are currently unused, you can conduct your project over the long-term without living in a construction zone. Basements can be especially attractive for remodeling, as raw concrete floors can be polished to look more stylish and professional.
- Learn something new. As you think through home improvement opportunities, think about what you’d like to learn out of it. You might find yourself with a new hobby that you’ll enjoy the rest of your life.
- Build on what you’ve done. You should definitely start small, but build up on a project-by-project basis. You may start by painting walls, but once you get the hang of the small stuff, you can move onto more difficult projects — such as replacing wood panels with drywall or scraping away popcorn ceilings.
- Have fun. Your home should be a place of comfort and relaxation. Don’t take on a home improvement project that’s too large for your time, budget or ability.
For more insight on home improvement projects that will add the greatest value to your home, contact CENTURY 21 Core Partners to speak to one of our real estate professionals.