Whether you're looking to improve your own quality of living or hoping to increase your home value in time to sell, these DIY improvement projects pay off in the long run, according to real estate professionals.
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Invest in Flooring
Ninety-four percent of real estate professionals recommend spending some money on flooring, but with the amount of flooring types available, you don't have to break the bank. This Old House reports that an estimated average investment of $600 to $900 can yield a return up to $2,000.
To determine what flooring will work best with your lifestyle and budget, visit this flooring guide.
Create Open Space
Nix the niche rooms and embrace the idea of open floor plans. Open living has proven to be a trend that's here to stay, because it:
- Adds space
- Increase natural lighting
- Improves traffic
- Helps you enjoy more of your square footage on a regular basis
Knocking out a non-structural wall or even removing a kitchen island, if cabinet storage is sufficient, are great ways to create a sense of flow in your home.
Landscape Properly and Efficiently
Proper landscaping can increase your property value by up to 12.7 percent, according to a study by Virginia Tech horticulturalist Alex Niemara. It can also cut a listed home's time on the market by 10 to 15 percent by increasing your home's curb appeal, adding functionality to your yard, and creating an outdoor living space.
According to a 2007 HomeGain survey of 2,000 real estate brokers, an investment of $400-$500 in landscaping budget can yield a return of up to four times that amount. Start by:
- Investing in larger perennials and shrubs to give the appearance of a matured landscape
- Beginning regular fertilizer treatments for a green, lush lawn
- Creating well-defined, sharp edges between grass and much, dire or rock for a professionally landscaped appearance
- Adding outdoor lighting to highlight landscape focal points
Click here for more ideas on creating a landscaping plan.
Lighting topped the list of HomeGain's survey as the home improvement that drastically enhances a home's appeal. There are three layers of light: ambient, task and accent. The type of lighting required for a room will vary based on room type and size, but you generally want at least two types.
- Ambient lighting is necessary in every room to provide an overall level of light. Ambient light sources are typically overhead and the best place to start when lighting a room. Ambient sources include ceiling fans, chandeliers, flush-mount fixtures, recessed lighting, wall sconces, track lighting, etc.
- Task lighting is self explanatory and is best for areas that will require detailed work, like food prep, applying make-up, reading, etc. You'll want this lighting for kitchens, bathrooms and home offices. Task sources include desk lamps, pendants, under-cabinet lighting, vanity lighting and work lamps.
- Accent lighting allows you to enhance your favorite parts of your home or decor, like artwork or a mantel. It can also augment ambient lighting as it helps fill in the rest of the room that ambient lighting can't reach. Accent sources include recessed lighting, track lighting and wall sconces.
You can boost home value simply by addressing basic areas and fixtures in your home that get run down after continual use. Add these items to your maintenance to-do list:
- Replace or add attic insulation
- Have your furnace and A/C unit inspected
- Weatherproof windows and door frames
- Weed flower beds and edge the lawn around your driveway, curbs and sidewalks
- Clean gutters and re-attach or replace and loose or damaged sections
- Power wash and re-seal your deck
Upgrade Your Entry
Curb appeal is essential in making a good impression with potential homebuyers and your neighbors, for that matter. Make your doorway an entrance by creating a focal point:
- Paint your front door a color that will complement, yet stand out against your home's exterior palette
- Replace old house numbers, hardware and light fixtures
- Create symmetry by flanking your doorway with light fixtures, potted flowers, and even furniture for porches
Quick Fixes for Your Bathroom
It's a no-brainer that kitchens and bathrooms always top lists of best improvements for home value. Luckily, bathroom fixes don't have to require a large investment of time or money. Consider these budget-friendly, fast and easy bathroom improvements:
- Clean or replace grout
- Apply fresh caulk
- Update cabinet and drawer pulls
- Replace dated faucets
- Install a low-flush toilet
- Replace the toilet seat
Neutralize Your Walls
A fresh coat of wall and ceiling pant can go a long way in freshening up your home. If your paint needs more than a touch-up, neutral colors are the way to go, especially if you're looking to sell in the near future. Real estate pros suggest getting out of your personal taste by toning down wall colors to allow buyers to project their own ideas into a home.
Enlist a Second Opinion
If you're unsure of where to start in home improvements, get the impartial advice of a friend or real estate agent. Places of a home needing attention may go unnoticed to homeowners who have grown accustomed to their appearance.
If you're looking to finance more extensive home improvement projects, download our free Rehab & Construction Guide.