Staying Put: Your Small Fortune and Home Improvement

Staying Put: Your Small Fortune and Home Improvement
  • Opening Intro -

    So, you have decided not to sell your home after all?

    The market may not be right for you or you simply are too attached to your current home to sell it and look for a new one.

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No matter the reason, now is a good time to look at your current home with fresh eyes and decide which updates would benefit it the most. And that money you were planning to use for moving costs and/or a down payment on a new home can now be redirected to handling home improvement.

Here are some projects that can be tackled with the $5,000 to $15,000 you did not spend. Keep in mind that many of these improvements will also benefit you once you do decide to sell.

1. Update old windows. Window technology has improved over the past generation. If your home is outfitted with single-pane windows, new energy efficient double-pane windows are a wise investment. The immediate benefit are the great looking windows. The long term benefit will be seen in your energy bills with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noting that ENERGY STAR labeled windows can save you from 7 to 15 percent compared to your current windows.

2. Replace your kitchen appliances. Unless your kitchen appliances are less than five years old, both the style and the efficiency may be outdated. One of the more significant draws in any home is the kitchen. Your refrigerator, stove and dishwasher should be modern and efficient. An older look has buyers thinking “outdated” a point they’ll bring up when negotiating a purchase. Buying multiple appliances at one time can save you money too. Use what you save to update cabinet faces, if needed.

3. Give your bathroom an overhaul. Like the kitchen, bathrooms play a significant role in whether homes sell or not. Chances are you have two bathrooms, so look at the one that is older or needing some tender loving care and decide what should be done there. If that room is half a bath, you may be looking at replacing only a toilet and a vanity. Consider the mirror, lighting and flooring too. For larger bathrooms, an older sink can be a bummer to home shoppers. If you have room for a double sink then by all means go for it. Tiling, the shower or bath stall and windows may be other features needing an update.

4. Knock out a wall. Unless a wall is load bearing, you may be able to remove what separates two rooms to make into one larger room. This option is common in homes with adjoining living and dining rooms especially as Americans are more inclined to eat in the kitchen instead. Once the room is unified, look at what other changes can be made including replacing carpeting with wood flooring or tiling, installing built ins, opting for a fireplace you name it. Create the look that you like, always keeping in mind its impact on a possible sale down the road.

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If you decide to sell your home, use our home selling steps as a guide

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5. Tackle the outside. Ah, curb appeal. You think that your home has it, but it might need a refreshening. Start with the lawn — are there patchy spots present? If so, remedy this situation by thatching and filling in. How about the shrubbery? The plants may look fine, but they could be overgrown or simply not a match for your home. Homes that have not been power washed in a few years look grimy. Rent a power washer and then decide if a fresh coat of paint is needed. Perhaps you have old aluminum siding — should you update to vinyl siding? Repair driveway and sidewalk cracks, install new security lighting and add a fresh coat of paint to the mail box. If finances permit, add a deck or expand a patio. Your “livable” outside area can be enjoyed better by you and appeal to potential buyers too.

Renovation Considerations

Each of the five recommended renovations can give you a home that you enjoy more. These changes can also put you in a better position when it comes time to selling your home, enhancing its appeal to potential buyers.

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Categories: Home Interior

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".