by Kimberly Blackford
With today's housing market experiencing a "cool down," owners may harbor some very genuine concerns regarding the value of their home.
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Homeowners, whether or not they are in the market to sell, do not wish to see their home's value decline. So what is a homeowner to do? Unless your home is in need of major reconstruction, a few basic renovations may be your ticket to creating a "hot" home in a "cool" market.
Not Sure Where to Start?
Start with basic maintenance. Ensuring the plumbing, electric, and gas are in good condition can save you much hassle later. Hire a home inspector in your area to walk with you through your home pointing out areas which may be problematic. Not addressing the problems your home may have can cost you down the road. Completing small maintenance projects will also ensure your home's value. Repair doors that may not close properly or replace light switch plates that are cracked. Strive to complete a few small maintenance projects annually so the task will not be overwhelming when it comes time to move.
Energy efficient upgrades hold their value in a "cool" market. Bigger projects may include installing Energy Star windows or replacing an old water heater with a more efficient tankless model. These changes will not only save energy and cut bills but are appealing in our country's effort to "go green."
Out With the Old
Modernizing out-dated or scruffy hardware will give an impressive, up-to-date look to your home. Begin with your front door and other exterior doors since these are the welcoming areas of your home. Next, move to your kitchen and bathrooms. Is the hardware out-of-date or worn out? By simply replacing old, existing hardware with new knobs, handles, or faucets, you will improve the look of your home while also increasing its value. Keep in mind that modernizing does not always mean trendy. Create a look that is consistent with the current home decor.
A little paint will add much life and freshness to your home. A new coat of paint to the walls and woodwork cover up dirt, scuffs, and chips that scream wear and tear in your home. Be sure to fill in any chips or cracks with a coat of putty and then sand to smoothness before applying paint. Don't forget doors and ceilings, too. If you are considering selling your home, keep in mind that neutral colors allow buyers to envision their own decorating ideas. Freshen up by removing clutter, not rearranging it. Wash windows and clean your carpets.
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While interior changes and upgrades are important to the value of your home, do not neglect the outside by allowing it to be an eyesore. Unless your exterior is maintenance free, apply a new coat of paint and touch up the trim. This not only improves the look of your home but also provides an important layer of protection against the weather. Or give your house, porch, and railings a good scrubbing. Tidy up your yard by removing debris, cutting the grass, weeding, and trimming shrubs and bushes. Place flowerpots neatly around your porch or patio to add blooming color to your landscape. Sweep the porch, deck, and walkways. Tuck garbage containers out of view. Keep in mind that you never get a second chance to make a first impression and the exterior is the first impression one has of your home. Give it as much curb appeal as you possibly can so it stands out in the neighborhood.
Where Does It End?
Maintaining your home does take time and effort, but the rewards are fruitful. Undertaking the right projects is the key. Walk through your home taking notes of areas that are well-kept and areas that need improvements. Congratulate yourself on the well-kept areas and then prioritize the improvements needed. List first the ones that will protect your home from deterioration and damage. Set an improvement budget that compliments your priorities and finances and then get busy. Your reward will be a valuable, impressive, "hot" home that withstands the challenge of a "cool" market.
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