Weekend Home Improvement Projects That Have a Great Return on Investment
You have a free weekend and decide to use the time to work on your house. Maybe you’re planning to put it on the market, so you want to spruce things up. Perhaps you’d just like to make the space nicer for yourself.
In either case, it’s a good idea to consider which home improvement projects recoup the most on your investment when you do eventually sell. You’re going to be putting in time and money, so you might as well make them count.
Get Out the Sponge
One of the biggest changes you can make is essentially cost-free: clean up your house. Potential buyers are put off when they enter a house that’s dirty, cluttered or in need of many minor repairs. Even if you’re staying put, a general fix-up makes your home a much better place to live.
Scour your home from top to bottom. Sort through the basement, attic and closets. If you have a lot of stuff accumulated that you aren’t ready to part with, consider renting a storage area, especially if you’re preparing to sell. Repair all the little things that have been slightly annoying but not bothersome enough to tackle.
Fill in old nail holes in the walls. Tighten up loose drawer pulls. Replace cracked bathroom tiles. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have a sparkling, functioning home.
Put on a Coat
Repainting rooms that are dingy or out-of-date is a fairly quick and inexpensive way to enhance your home’s appeal. A low-VOC paint is the safest choice. Volatile organic compounds in paint form ozone, an air pollutant and health risk. Ozone can cause respiratory and eye issues, nausea and headaches. Kidney trouble, liver problems and cancer are associated with VOCs, as well.
With low-VOC paint, your rooms are much more environmentally friendly.
Go Up Top
Repairing your roof and gutters heightens the curb appeal of your home. It also makes it a more pleasant place to live: no leaks or poorly draining water. This is especially important if you live in an area that receives a lot of precipitation. And winter is coming…
Repair work can be finished in a couple days, with the right equipment. It’s getting darker earlier, so be sure you have sufficient lighting to work efficiently, effectively and safely. If you need more illumination, rent a light tower. Most extend up to 28 feet, so they easily reach the roof and gutter level.
Open the Door
A new steel front door makes a world of difference for your home’s appearance. In addition, you save on your energy bill. An old, leaky door releases a lot of heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. And there’s even better news: the average cost of door replacement in the U.S. is less than $1,300.
Look forward to getting back more than 90 percent of that when you sell. But stick with steel — a fiberglass entry door costs more to install and recoups less.
While you’re thinking about doors, check the one on your garage. Time for a change? It costs a few hundred more to replace than your front door, but you’ll earn back about the same percentage upon resale. And, on many houses, garage doors take up a lot of space. A new one spiffs up the appearance of the entire front.
Warm It Up
Improving your home’s insulation is another way to take a dent out of energy costs. The average price for insulating the attic is under $1,300 — and you’ll probably earn back almost 117 percent of your outlay. That’s right. You can actually make money by insulating your attic. Potential buyers appreciate a well-insulated house.
How do you tell where the leaks are? Feel for drafts and cold spots during winter. Or, use a handheld thermal leak detector around your home, taking note of temperature differences. Likely places for leaks include around sockets and switches, within recessed lighting, in the basement, in and around the attic and spots where ducts and wires go outside.
While you’re at it, consider installing a programmable thermostat. It lets you control the temperature of your house at all times, even when you’re away or asleep. This can save almost $200 on your energy bill annually. Potential buyers will likely look for this small but significant device.
Before the big work weekend, scout around your house. Check its roof, gutters, insulation, doors, paint and general appearance. Choose which project will make the biggest impact and start there. Purchase any materials you’ll need ahead of time.
That way, when Saturday morning rolls around, you’ll be ready to go — and by Sunday night, you can relax and enjoy, feet up and conscience clear.