Whether you’re prepping your house to go on the market or looking for ways to maximize its long-term appreciation, these nine home improvement projects are great ways to add function, beauty, and real value to your home.

 

The best part is, once you’ve secured the materials, most of these renovations can be completed over the course of a weekend. And they don’t require a lot of specialized skills or experience. So grab your toolbox, then get ready to boost your home’s appeal AND investment potential!


1. Spruce Up Your Landscaping


It's estimated that landscaping improvements can increase a home’s value by 10-12%.1 But which outdoor features do buyers care about most? According to a survey of Realtors, a healthy lawn is at the top of their list. If your lawn is lacking, overseeding or laying new sod can be a worthwhile investment—with an expected return that can easily exceed the investment itself. 

 

Planting flowers is another great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. And if you choose a perennial variety, your blooms should return year after year. For an even longer-term impact, consider planting a tree. A well placed mature tree can increase curb appeal which in turn adds to desirability and the value of your home.


2. Clean the Exterior


When it comes to making your house shine, a sparkling facade can be just as important as a clean interior. We at Home and Property routinely see situations where washing the outside of a house can have a significant impact on value, adding as much as $15,000 to its sales price.

 

A rented pressure washer from your local home improvement store can help you remove built-up dirt and grime from your home’s exterior, walkway, and driveway. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully—and only use it on surfaces that can withstand the intensity. When in doubt, a scrub brush and bucket of soapy water will often do the trick.


3. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint


New paint can have a big impact on both the appearance and value of a property. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to revitalize a home’s exterior, or update its interior. The colours you choose will, of course, play an important role; so make sure to consult with a reputable designer or Realtor prior to finalizing your decision. The best part? Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive!

 

To get the maximum return at resale, stick with a modern but neutral color palette that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. Cool neutrals are a safe bet when it comes to interior paint; though some designers are now suggesting that warmer tones are making a come-back. Again, there are many factors to consider, so avail yourself of the opportunity to consult with a professional. When it comes to exterior paint colours you need to consider the remaining colour palette of the home, paying particular attention to brick and roofing colour. It's also important to consider a property’s architecture, existing fixtures, and your neighbourhood design preferences. 


4. Install Smart Home Technology


When working with buyer clients we see that there is a noticeable attraction to homes with smart technology features. The most common smart devices? Thermostats, smoke detectors, home security cameras, and locks. 

 

The good news is, many of these gadgets are fairly easy to install. And some of them, including smart thermostats and light bulbs, will pay for themselves over time by making your home more energy efficient. For example, its suggested by various utility providers that smart thermostats alone can cut back on heating and cooling costs by as much as 10-20%.

 

If you already own a smart speaker, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, make sure to choose devices that will pair with your existing technology. This will enable you to create a truly integrated (and in many cases voice-activated) smart home experience.


5, Modernize Your Window Treatments


Smart—or motorized—blinds are also growing in popularity, and several manufacturers make models you can order and install on your own. But they’re not the only way to modernize your window treatments.

 

If you have old aluminum blinds, consider replacing them with plantation shutters, which are energy efficient, durable, and have strong buyer appeal.  Roman and roller shades are another stylish alternative, and they come in a variety of colors and fabrics, which you can personalize to meet your design and privacy preferences.

 

Fortunately, upgrading your blinds has gotten easier and less expensive in recent years. There are a number of retailers that specialize in affordable window coverings that are simple to measure and hang yourself. If you would like some recommendations, reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with then names and contact information for local independent businesses that offer great service and selection, along with a range of affordable pricing. 


6. Replace Outdated Fixtures


Drastically transform the look and feel of your home by swapping out dingy and dated fixtures for contemporary alternatives. Start by assessing your current light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, door knobs, and even switch plates. Then prioritize replacing those that are particularly outdated or in highly-visible areas, such as your entryway or kitchen.

 

Even if your home is fairly new, consider trading your builder-grade fixtures for higher-end options to give it a more upscale appearance. And forget the old rule about sticking to one metal tone throughout your property. According to our own designer contacts, mixing metal finishes can add interest and character to a space.

 

For more designer insights and decor trends, contact us for a free copy of our recent report: “Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade.”


7. Upgrade Your Bathroom Mirror


A minor bathroom remodel offers an excellent return on investment.  We’ve already explored several improvements you can make to your bathroom: new paint, fixtures, and hardware. So now lets complete the look by upgrading your vanity’s mirror.

 

Before you purchase a new mirror however, examine your existing one to see how it is attached to the wall. Some vanity mirrors are glued to the wall and are thus difficult to remove without shattering the glass or damaging the drywall behind it.

 

If you prefer to keep your existing mirror, you can paint the frame—or add one to it, if it’s currently frameless. There are several retailers that will provide you with frame components cut to your specifications, which you can then assemble and mount yourself. Much like a work of art, your vanity mirror serves as a focal point for your bathroom, so let your creativity shine through. 


8. Shampoo Your Carpet


Carpet is notorious for trapping dust, dirt, and allergens. It’s one of the reasons why most buyers prefer hard surface flooring. But if you love your carpet, or if you’re not ready to invest in an alternative, make sure to keep it clean and odor-free.

 

To properly maintain your carpet, you should vacuum it regularly; weekly at the very least. We also recommend a deep shampoo at least once a year. Fortunately, this is a cheap and easy DIY project that you can do in about 20 minutes per room. You can buy a machine, or rent one if you prefer. If you rent a machine and purchase cleaning fluid and supplies, the cost (depending on the size of your home and amount of carpet) will likely come in under $100. This is an easy cost effective way to keep your carpet looking its best, and smelling clean.  


9. Customize Your Closet


Closet remodelling is an improvement that more and more home owners are doing. And with good reason. It's a feature that is attractive to buyers (not to mention homeowners), and one that we as a Real estate professionals estimate to a positive return on the investment. And with many high-quality DIY closet systems to choose from, it is one that you can quite readily customize and install yourself.

 

If you're planning a closet remodel, make sure to take a thorough inventory of your wardrobe and accessories before you get started. You'll want to plan in a way that ensures your frequently-worn pieces are easy to reach, and your seasonal and seldom-used items are stored on less accessible shelving. Another tip is to place shoe racks near the closet entrance.  A little planning can go a long way toward building a closet that you (and your future buyers) will love.


GET A COMPLIMENTARY ANALYSIS OF YOUR DIY PROJECT


We’ve been talking generalities in this article. But the truth is, the actual impact of a home improvement project will vary depending on your particular home and neighborhood. Before you get started, feel free contact us to schedule a free virtual consultation. Without obligation, we would be happy to help you determine which upgrades will offer the greatest return on your effort and investment.

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