By Scott Gray
Many of us watch TV shows and see the miraculous transformation
of homes and gardens by professionals and amateur do-it-yourselfers. Is it
really that easy, we ask ourselves. Could I do it? Where do I begin? What
improvement projects will generate the biggest increase in the value of my home?
like to have
Dreams can come true
When your list is complete, consider the amount of money you
have available or are prepared to borrow. Unless you have unlimited funds, make
a realistic estimate of what you can afford. Are you planning major renovations
that will require the services of an architect or a contractor? Will you need an
electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a painter, or all four? How much work can
you do yourself? All these factors must be taken into account as you pare down
your list into affordable home improvement projects.
How Do You Begin?
Every project starts with a plan. Itemize everything you want
and think you can afford, and include a design of rooms to be remodeled. If you
are going to require professional help, now is the time to talk to contractors,
plumbers, and other tradesmen, and to ask for estimates. Comparison-shopping is
a must. If you are an accomplished do-it-yourselfer, price materials and tools
needed. If you can't afford to do everything on your list, reassess your prime
needs and make a new plan.
What Projects Are Key?
The best projects for improving the value of your home are,
happily, the most affordable and the easiest to do yourself, even if you are a
super klutz. Ask any real estate agent for tips on how to prepare a home for
resale and you will be told that the house and yard should be cleaned and all
clutter removed. Creating suitable home storage facilities and cleaning and
painting the interior and exterior of your house, therefore, are the jobs that
top the list of desirable improvements. The premium projects that usually
require professional help are kitchen remodeling first and bathroom remodeling
second. These particular upgrades will provide the best return for your money,
and the real estate industry has statistics to prove it.
Clean Everything in Sight
Cleaning your home and yard is a great improvement project, and
if you are remodeling, it will be the final step after the dust has settled. You
will need something heavy-duty like tri-sodium phosphate or its equivalent to
wash most surfaces inside and outside the house. There are also special cleaners
for glass, tile, porcelain, stainless steel, and wood, and for getting rid of
unpleasant molds and mildew. Visit your friendly hardware store and read labels.
There are cleaners for almost every material and for solving almost every
cleaning problem. Make sure rooms are well ventilated whenever you are cleaning,
carefully follow directions, and wear gloves and a mask. Removing clutter is
another worthwhile project and requires adequate home storage with a combination
of cabinets, shelves and bins, and sufficient strength of mind to discard all
junk, no matter how much you love it. You can buy easy-to-assemble shelving and
cabinets in a great variety of sizes and materials at affordable prices. Small,
decorative containers can be used to organize and conceal the ongoing
accumulations of such items as incoming mail. In the yard, removing clutter
means getting rid of dead trees, dead branches, broken slabs and stones in
patios and walkways, and tidying up the garden and lawn. When faced with
clutter, ruthlessly throw it out, recycle it, hold a garage sale, donate it to
the charity of your choice - get rid of it. Interior painting and exterior
painting should be next on your list of preferred home improvement projects.
Fresh paint helps make your home look clean, bright, and spacious. When
selecting colors for the exterior, don't forget to do something about that bland
front door. Have fun! Fresh, harmonious colors add beauty and personality to
your home both inside and out.
Put Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling High on the List
Although remodeling a kitchen seems like a daunting task, a
complete overhaul pays great dividends if and when you sell your home.
Purchasing new cabinets and appliances are worthy goals, but you can also make
minor changes that will create impact. If you can't replace the kitchen
cabinets, replace the cabinet doors at least. If that is also beyond your means,
add molding to the cabinet doors, paint them, and replace the hardware. It's not
that difficult or expensive to replace an outdated sink, and if you can't afford
a new stove, fridge and dishwasher, don't hang on to those gold or avocado
monstrosities - buy attractive reconditioned replacements.
Other Projects to Consider
After you have decided on and planned for the most important
home improvement projects, new window covering and upgraded flooring should
receive your attention. You can choose from a large array of window dressings
and styles, or simply buy fabric, turn hems with iron-on tape, and dramatically
drape the material over attractive curtain rods. Shutters are another
possibility and lend themselves to many different decorating styles. Your choice
of flooring is limited only by your taste and budget. Rip up the old carpet and
replace it with contemporary hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. If you
already have hardwood, simply sanding and re-staining it or giving it a clear
finish may give your rooms the lift they need. Other flooring replacements that
can transform a room include tile, vinyl, linoleum, or textured rubber. Finally,
save a little energy and money to improve the appearance of your yard. Maybe all
you have to do to improve the landscape
is trim, mow, weed, and then plant a few flowers. Adding or upgrading an
existing patio, deck, or walkway can also be very worthwhile. Choosing the best
modeling and redecorating projects will not only increase the long-term value of
your home, they will also provide satisfaction and pleasure for you, the smart