Our many thanks to Suzie Wilson, the author of all the articles below for providing valuable information for our readers. Suzie is in the midst of writing a book "The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House". Suzie has been an interior designer for over 20 years and has many more helpful articles on her website, Happier Home. We encourage you to visit.
Prepping Your House For Sale
Home Projects That Will Add Value to Your Home
Are you ready to post that “For Sale” sign in your yard? Making some upgrades before you put your home on the market may significantly increase its selling price.
Before you start on home projects that will add value to your home, you have to calculate how much your home is worth in its current state. Then, determine how much value these home projects will add. To help figure out what price your home is valued at, you can work with a residential appraiser, before and after completing your renovations.
The following are some upgrades you can make that will add value to your home.
Did you know that installing new windows will, on average, add up to $12,000 to your home’s asking price? Vinyl windows are the most desired types of windows because they are weather resistant and look modern. Energy Star windows come in a close second for home buyers because the increase in energy efficiency saves money on power in the long run. These windows will be attractive for home buyers who don’t want to have to make renovations after buying. When you’re considering replacing windows in your home, remember to keep in mind your home’s style. For example, you wouldn’t want to install modern vinyl windows on a traditional colonial home.
Although your bathrooms don’t take up a lot of space in your home, they can make a big impact on home buyers. If you can afford it, adding an additional bathroom in your home can never hurt, and it can significantly increase your home’s value. If you’re working with a smaller budget, you can work on small areas of your bathrooms that aren’t quite as labor intensive and costly. Improvements like adding high-quality towel bars and upgraded hardware for big-box vanities can go a long way with buyers. Another small thing you can do to make your bathrooms more appealing include regrouting your tile or using a grout paint pen that will add a sense of freshness to your tiles.
According to The Flooring Girl, 80 percent of home buyers would choose hardwood on the main-level floor of a home over carpet. If you have carpet in the majority of your home, we recommend removing it and restoring hardwood in your home. It will be a lot more profitable for you rather than keeping your carpeting. Hardwood floors are not only more attractive, but they are easier to manage and clean than carpet. And they are more forgiving when it comes to drink stains or pet hair.
Your kitchen is the main focal point of your home, and home buyers will pay a lot of attention to this area. While a nice kitchen is appealing for individuals who love to cook, it’s also an area of the home that is great for family bonding. When it comes to upgrading your kitchen, you don’t have to go all out; you can do minor renovations and still sell your home at a higher price. This can include installing new marble or granite countertops or splurging on a new dishwasher or sink.
Figure out what homes in your area are for sale and get an idea of what their kitchens look like. Once you know how your home is standing up against the competition, you’ll have a better understanding of the projects you need to complete.
Selling your home is not an easy task, and you don’t want to lose money on your investment. With the right home projects, you’ll be able to add value to your home and walk away with a surplus in your bank account.
Home Improvement Advice for Fixing Up an Old House
Older homes are chock-full of charm, but they also tend to need more work than their younger counterparts. When you’re faced with a slew of repairs you have to make, things can get overwhelming fast. However, if you have a plan of attack, you can make your older house feel as comfortable as a new property—without breaking the bank or your back.
A lot of people invest in older homes that come with antiques or original furnishings. When it’s time to take on a home improvement project, protect these items by moving them to a rented storage unit where they are out of harm’s way. The cost of a storage unit is minimal compared to repairing or reupholstering antiques. For instance, in Virginia Beach, the overall average price of a self-storage unit over the past 180 days was as little as $92.86.
Keep reading for more tips on how to improve an older home.
Make Your Kitchen Energy Efficient
A kitchen remodel is one of the best home improvement projects that add value to your property. This type of remodel can cost homeowners between $12,594 to $33,118. You’ll want to tackle this project early because replacing old and inefficient appliances is one of the easiest ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint while also reducing power bills. When looking for energy-efficient kitchen appliances, stick with models that are Energy Star certified. Energy Star is is a government-backed label for efficiency, and any appliance with this certification is 10 to 50 percent more efficient than regular products. If you don’t have the cash to replace all of your appliances at once, start with the refrigerator. Your fridge is one of the biggest energy vampires in your house, using between 1000 and 1500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. An out-of-date refrigerator costs homeowners upward of $250 per year in power bills.
Add Insulation in the Attic
If you own an older house, chances are the insulation could use some buffing up—especially in the attic. Adding insulation makes your home’s heating and cooling more efficient, so your family feels comfortable and you’re not wasting money on lost energy. It’s also one of the more affordable home improvement projects to take on; you can expect to pay around $500 to do it yourself, versus an average of $1,500 to $2,000 to have a professional do it. The simplest and cheapest way to insulate an attic is by adding material to the floor. If your attic is stuffed to the brim with items, clear them out and move them to your self-storage unit.
Remove any existing insulation materials that are compressed, water stained, or moldy. If you see insulation that is lightweight, grainy, and loose-looking, or if you spot shiny flecks, it could be vermiculite that contains asbestos. Halt your project and have the material tested. If it indeed contains asbestos, you’ll have to call in a professional to remove it safely. Many professionals charge a minimum of $1,500 - $3,000 to complete the job.
Rehabilitate Wood Floors
Older homes often come with sturdy hardwood floors that stand the test of time. However, wear and tear can leave wood floors looking less than lovely. Fortunately, refinishing your floors can return them to their former glory. The costs of doing this vary based on a number of factors, but according to The Spruce, on average, you can expect to pay between $1.50 and $5.00 per square foot. Here are some tips on getting started:
Inspect your floors and find any trouble areas that need extra attention. Look for signs like thin/cracked edges of floorboards or discoloration due to water damage. If your floors are severely damaged, it may make more sense to have them completely replaced.
If you only have a handful of boards that are damaged, chisel them out and replace. Flatten cupped boards by sanding diagonally with a drum sander. You can also bleach out discoloration after sanding off the finish from the wood with an orbital flooring sander.
Use a penetrating oil finish to restore shine and protect wood from the inside out. You can use a rag to spread the oil over floors.
An old house can be just as comfortable as a newer property; it just needs some TLC. Replace energy-sucking appliances in the kitchen with efficient models to save money on power bills and give the room a modern update. Clean out the attic and add insulation to make heating and cooling more efficient in an older house. Finally, breathe new life into hardwood floors by repairing broken boards and removing stains before using an oil finish to restore their shine and protect.
These Projects Will Make Your New House Feel Like Home Without Busting Your Budget
You’ve done the hard work of packing up and moving. Next comes the fun part: settling into your new house and making it feel like home. You’re ready to put a personal touch on your new place, but you can’t do everything at once. Not to mention, all those maintenance supplies and new home decor can really add up. The secret to staying on budget is to prioritize tasks and shop smart. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Maintenance to Tackle First
Before you start decorating, start with some basic maintenance projects. These projects are best done right away, and most are simple enough to do yourself. Now is also the time to stock your toolbox so you have everything you need for everyday home maintenance. Shopping with coupons is a great way to save money on DIY necessities, but you can also find other money-saving opportunities, such as cashback offers for home improvement stores like Lowe’s and other retailers like Target. Making smart use of Walmart coupons is also a great way to save money that you can invest in future home improvement projects.
Safety essentials - Replace all exterior locks now so you don’t have to worry about who may have keys to your home. You should also find your home’s circuit breaker and main water valve. This way you’ll be ready in case of an emergency.
Start with a clean slate - Give your home a good cleaning before settling in. Besides cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces, you may also want to deep clean carpets. Instead of hiring a pro, rent a steam cleaner to save money.
Along with the move-in basics, this is also a good time to make some home improvements that will save you money long-term. The Simple Dollar recommends 18 easy and affordable steps you can take to reduce energy use (and utility bills), such as installing additional insulation, replacing air filters, and adding ceiling fans.
Low-Cost Easy Upgrades
Instead of jumping right into big home improvement projects, pick just a few small fixes to do right away. These smaller projects are quicker and less expensive than major remodeling, and they go a long way toward making your new house feel like it’s truly yours. Pick one room to paint now, or to save money, start with an accent wall. The kitchen is another place where you can make inexpensive, high-impact updates. Good Housekeeping suggests swapping out hardware and painting outdated cabinets.
Unpack With a Plan
The best way to feel at home in your new space is to be surrounded by the things you’re familiar with. As soon as possible, move boxes into the rooms where they belong. Then start unpacking the most essential rooms (the bathroom and kitchen) before moving on to bedrooms. This way, you can start making meals (or at least coffee) and get a good night’s rest. Another quick way to help you feel settled is to arrange the furniture. Not sure where to start? Use one of these free online templates to arrange furniture like a seasoned pro.
Make Your Mark with Decor
When you move into a new home, you may find that some of your decor doesn’t exactly fit. To save money on decorating, think about how you can use a combination of old and new. When it comes to buying new items, shop around online for deals, or do as MoneyWise recommends and shop your local stores early in the day to take advantage of clearance markdowns. Another budget decorating trick is to use fewer items that make a big statement. Fabric, accent lamps, and framed art or photos are all examples of decorating staples that add major style.
Even when you’re excited about the change, it can be emotional leaving your old home behind. Tackling these easy maintenance and decor projects is the quickest way to get that feeling of home in your new place. Look for savings on everything you need to make it happen so you can stay under budget — and with money to spare for future projects.
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