In today’s housing market, it can often seem like your home is not worth as much as you would like it to be and many home improvement projects you would like to do are simply out of reach financially. Still, you want to add value to your home and make it more marketable in the future. Here are some low cost home improvement projects that add value to your home to get you started.
Low Cost Home Improvements That Add Value to your Home
Update the hardware for your cabinetry. Take a look at your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Is the hardware in-line with the rest of your décor? If not, a quick trip to the hardware store or an online search will lead you to lots of possible replacements.
Something to consider before purchasing, however, would be the number of screw holes that your current handles or pulls have and, in the event of multiple holes, the space between them. Keeping those dimensions in mind when purchasing your new hardware will make for a quick and easy switch.
Add and update closets. If you have a playroom, den, or office, adding a closet makes it another bedroom! If your closets are small and don’t have a ton of storage space, you can expand them for a very small investment and this can add a lot of value to your home. Remember that a small closet is better than no closet at all. If you don’t have a lot of space to invest (often the case with smaller bonus rooms), a small closet will serve as a bit of storage while boosting your home’s value.
Update fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom. You can do this with just a little bit of money and no professional needed. If money is extra tight for you, try checking out home resource places. These are non-profits and for profits that sell used home building materials and fixtures at discounted rates. You could even do this once every couple of months and by the end of a year, have your place fully upgraded in the fixture department.
Fresh paint fixes any room. One of the cheapest ways to upgrade any room in your home (as well as the exterior) is to paint it. Make sure before you start your project, however, that holes are repaired. Not fixing those first will lead to a sloppy appearance. Try to stay away from bright or crazy colors as those can actually lower your home’s value, since it won’t be something that may appeal to everyone. Look for light tans, whites, and beiges. On the other hand, an accent wall can add value as long as it isn’t too extreme.
Do some low cost landscaping. If you wait until fall, you can often get shrubs, small trees, and bushes on sale at nurseries and adding them might give your home a great new look outdoors. Take a good look at your curb appeal and see where it can be tidied up a bit to add to its complete look. Are you concerned about a lack of vision for your outdoor space? Head to a home and garden show or buy a few magazines to serve as inspiration. If you still find yourself at a loss, you may want to consider hiring someone to guide you.
When looking at counter tops, know your stuff! Think about what you want out of your counters, whether you want stone or a synthetic material and what color scheme you want. Then do some searching for local low-cost options. Again, well-established stores may not always provide the best value. Looking at smaller stone yards or private companies may give you a better price and a more personal experience.
It’s also a good idea to steer clear of wall paper or any other additions to your walls that may not be to everyone’s liking. If you have wall paper already in your home, you can easily remove it with a wallpaper steamer. It will heat up the wallpaper, making it easier to remove. I’ve done this a few times and it’s produced great results. Here’s the link to the machine I’ve used on Amazon. You want something with a fairly big steamer head, so that the job goes quicker.
When painting, know your limits. If you have high ceilings or odd angles that are difficult to reach, you may want to think about asking someone with the right equipment to help you. A new paint job can be beautiful…but paint drips running down your walls (or on the ceiling) aren’t as appealing.
Replace doors in your home, including the front door. Doors aren’t as expensive as you may think. You can even get them used or salvaged and with a fresh coat of paint on them, they will look new again. Start by replacing the front door as it is the first thing most people see. When replacing your doors, pay attention to the materials that were used to make them. Are you considering a metal-based front door? If your door gets direct sunlight, it can make for a very warm (hot) first impression for someone visiting your house. Interior doors range from hollow to solid wood (with lots of materials in between). The materials used cause there to be a large range in costs for replacing your doors.
Get rid of outdated décor. Popcorn ceilings and wood paneling were popular at one point, but they really make your home look old and out of date. Wood paneling can be painted for a more updated look, or taken down. Often removing paneling requires you to replace the drywall (and then to sand and repaint). Regardless of the approach that you choose to take, you will have a nice update to your formerly paneled room.
Years ago, when I was flipping houses, there was old wood paneling in the master bedroom on one of the houses. I puttied the seams in between the panels and then painted it, so it looked like a real wall and didn’t have the grooves. It was a lot more work than just painting over the paneling, but when we sold the house, the realtor told us the reason the buyers fell in love with it was because of the master bedroom!
Popcorn ceilings are another project that may take awhile to complete, but are relatively easy and low cost to remove. Another thing you may want to consider is replacing the linoleum. You can buy the squares fairly inexpensively, doing it yourself, and it comes out looking like a brand new floor!
Are you thinking of putting your home on the market? You may want to change out old family pictures and personal décor for more neutral choices. Decorating with well-placed mirrors will cause your rooms to look bigger, while creating clean lines. Adding house plants and candles will bring an outdoor, fresh look to your home, while adding a warm and inviting tone. Despite how much you love your family pictures, removing them while your home is being marketed will help potential homeowners to visualize themselves living in the home you’ve created.
No one likes the downsides to home-ownership: the broken hot water heater (with water all over the floor), the washing machine that dies in the middle of the rinse cycle or the sump pump that decides to retire in the middle of a huge rainstorm. Despite the inconveniences that situations like these present, you can take advantage of each of them to increase your property value (you have to replace these essentials anyway, right?)
As your appliances need to be replaced, keeping energy efficiency in mind is another great way to increase your property value (while decreasing your utility costs). Water efficient dishwashers and washing machines, gas efficient furnaces, and hot water heaters all lead to less money spent in bills and are enticing to potential home buyers, if you are ever looking to sell your home.
Another great way to cut down on utility costs, while increasing the value of your property, is to add insulation between your walls and in your ceilings or attic. Adding insulation will help keep heating and cooling costs down for your family, while causing your house to become more valuable.
Add energy efficient upgrades like windows and thermostats. Not only will these save you money while you live in your home, but they are highly desired to prospective home buyers in the future should you decide to sell. Most can be installed in just a couple of hours and cost less than $1000, even if you hire a professional, depending on how large of a scale your project is.
Energy efficiency should also be considered when needing to put a new roof on your home. The expenses involved in a new roof can be overwhelming, yet thinking about how much money can be saved in the long run from going with the right materials and professionals who know how to get the job done may help you to save more money in future years.
While a new roof can be a scary expense, it is one of the top home purchases that will add value to your property. Is your home (fingers crossed) not ready for a new roof? You may want to consider saving a bit each month for when that day arrives. It will make it a lot less unnerving when it does.
Are you considering a major home renovation?
Is your kitchen a blast from the past?
Do your bathrooms need to be gutted?
The key to saving money in projects like these is to know how much you are willing to spend and sticking to it. Create a vision of what you want from your project and then spend time looking online and at local contractors advertisements to find what options are going to give you the best value. Once you know what vision you have, you can decide if you’re going to DIY it, hire a professional, or go with some combination of the two.
Is the expected cost of your renovation more than you’re able to handle? Make it a financial goal and work to save a little bit each month to put toward the project. When you’re feeling more comfortable with the anticipated expenses, then start moving forward on your project.
Before beginning any project that involves altering your property (indoor or outdoor) check your city’s building policies. You may find that you need to apply for a permit before getting started. In some cases work without the necessary permits will lead to hefty fines if you try to sell your home. Visiting your city hall will help you to know exactly what (if anything), you need to do before beginning your project.
If you need new cabinets, really look carefully at what you already have. How efficient is your current set-up. Do you like the organization, but not the style? Then you may not need to replace them (…a huge bonus, budget-wise!) Simply re-staining or painting them may be sufficient for the upgrade you want. If you don’t love the style of the doors, re-facing them may work well. If you do find that you need to replace cabinetry, looking at Amish cabinets or at a wholesaler may help you find better deals than going to a big box hardware and home improvement store.
Do you need new flooring? Before you head to the floor store, think about what kind of floor you are looking for. If you want to put in carpet, going to a home improvement store and purchasing the supplies (then going with one of their networked installers) may help you to save more money than calling a company whose sale prices you’ve heard advertised.
If you want to go with wood, think about hardwood, laminate, or bamboo. Each material has its own benefits, and its own price range. It’s up to you to look into them and get to know what’s right for you. Once you’ve decided on the route you want to take, start looking for low-cost wood floor retailers. Depending on the flooring materials that you purchase, you may find that you are able to install them fairly easily (and without having to pay a professional).
Outdoor space can really impact the value of your home. Do you have a backyard or side-yard just begging for a place to lounge in the summer months? Then consider putting in a patio, deck, or pergola. Depending upon the kinds of materials that you choose to use and the size of the space, the price range for a patio/deck/pergola project can be significant. Choosing to build it entirely on your own or doing some of the work to prepare your backyard before beginning the project will help to reduce the cost of adding a place for outdoor living. This is one project that you’re sure to appreciate for years to come.
Work that you do on your home, if done with your property’s value in mind, will increase the amount your home is worth. Whether it is updating hardware or gutting your kitchen and starting from scratch, no investment in your home is a bad one. Simply working to make your home a comfortable place to return to at the end of a long day will help to make it a great place for you and your family…and will help it to reach its full potential.
Do you have other ideas about low cost home improvement projects that add value to your home? Have you done a project on your own that you found to be a huge success? Please share some of your ideas!