Maintaining Your Home In This Economy With These 5 Tips
5 ways to get the best bang for your home improvement buck in this economy.
We have experienced several economic recessions in the nearly thirty years that we have made our living as remodeling contractors. It never fails; when demand for new housing slows and home values flatten or decrease — and money becomes tight — home improvement goes through the roof!
Though the present economic turndown has not been dubbed a recession, it has – thanks in part to the sub prime mortgage debacle — had an equally devastating effect on housing. Decreased home values make moving less attractive or even impossible. Consequently, homeowners endeavor to do what they can to maintain their investment and perhaps make it a bit more livable until conditions improve and house-hunting is once again a consideration.
What follows are our suggestions for the five ways to get the best bang for your home improvement buck.
- Safety First. When it comes to home improvement, home safety is job one! There is no project or improvement that should take precedence over making your home safer. Start by making sure that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are installed throughout your home and that they are in good working order. Detectors and alarms ten years and older should be replaced with new equipment. Check the electrical system to prevent fires. Flashing lighting, blown fuses and popped breakers and telltale signs of bigger problems. Have an electrician check for little problems before they become major catastrophes. The same holds true with major appliances and heating and cooling equipment. Prevent falls by repairing damaged paths, patios and decks. Installing path and porch lighting can improve both safety and security. Fixing a little problem BEFORE it becomes a big one can save lots of money on repair bills and utility cost by improving operating performance.
- Clean equals Ka-Ching! Cleaning is probably the most underrated of all tasks. A little cleaning can go a long way in improving the appearance of your home and making it more livable in the short run. We find that many people needlessly yank out perfectly good counters, cabinets, appliances and plumbing fixtures that could otherwise be rejuvenated with a little cleaning. The right cleaning tools and materials along with a touch of elbow grease can make all the difference in the world. Cleaning grungy grout, replacing mildewed caulking, buffing out scale on a tub or shower (and door), cleaning grimy kitchen appliances and refreshing wood cabinets can do wonders for your home’s appearance and tide you over until your budget allows for that new gas range that you’ve been dreaming about.
- Preserve, protect and defend. While these are provocative words in an election year, they are particularly important when it comes to your home. Safety aside, your next priority should be to do whatever you can to protect your investment by maintaining existing finishes and major components such as roofing, siding, windows and exterior doors. You may not have the resources to install a new roof, but you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars (and lots of headaches) by repairing a leaking roof, patching damaged siding or repairing a broken window that can lead to costly damage.
- Paint isn’t just about color. Most people view painting as the opportunity to change the look and feel of their home. While it’s true that a fresh coat of paint can do wonders to improve the ‘curb appeal’ of one’s home, paint also protects siding, trim, exterior doors, windows and rain gutters from the elements, which prevents rot and damage due to structural pests such as termites.
- Less is more. The good news is that you don’t need to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ when it comes to remodeling. For example, just because your budget doesn’t allow you to have granite kitchen counters or hardwood flooring doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your kitchen. In the short term, consider installing more affordable, mainstream finishes such as laminate counters; paint or refinish cabinets; install new cabinet door and drawer pulls and knobs; paint appliances and install new door panels (stainless steel, colors or wood); and consider sheet vinyl or laminate flooring instead of more costly hardwood or ceramic tile. When economic times improve, something I’ve been monitoring through my recent Bitcoin Evolution app download, you can do your dream remodel without feeling guilty about yanking out your ‘temporary’ upgrades.
For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474.