As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps dragging on and many Americans are still stuck at home, more people are tackling those long-overdue home projects. According to a recent survey, nearly 50% of us have either started a DIY project at home or are planning to start one soon. Whether you’re looking to make your living area more pleasant or you’re about to put your home up for sale, there are many great ways to spruce up your space.
Here are six do-it-yourself projects on the easier end of the spectrum that’ll add real value to your home.
1. Use technology to make your home more efficient.
There’s a variety of ways to improve your home’s efficiency without spending a lot. A smart thermostat will help your HVAC system run more efficiently, and EnergyStar-certified appliances will trim your utility costs down to size.
Smart devices are taken into consideration during the home appraisal process, which means they’ll help raise your home’s value. It’ll come as no surprise, then, that nearly half of all real estate agents say that smart appliances help a home sell more quickly, according to a recent report.
2. Tackle those basic repairs.
If you’ve lived in the same place for more than a few years, you tend to overlook the minor scrapes, dents, and other damage that a prospective buyer will immediately spot. It pays to open your eyes.
Inspect your residence and look for things that need repair. These might include an old or leaking roof, dripping faucets, dented or broken doors, torn screens, outdated appliances, or even a malfunctioning or broken HVAC system.
All of these can be deal-breakers for potential buyers. It’s worth spending a few extra bucks and investing some effort to make sure that your home’s basics are covered.
If you’re budgeting to purchase big-ticket items, you can score some major savings by waiting until the right time of year. Large appliances often go on sale at the end of September. Refrigerators are an exception, as they’re heavily discounted in May after the new models hit the market.
3. Refresh your outdated ceiling.
Popcorn ceilings were once a popular and cost-effective finish, but nearly everyone now agrees these textured surfaces really date a house. Aesthetics aside, stippled ceilings also tend to collect dirt, dust, and cobwebs, and might even become a health concern if your ceiling is cracking and flaking.
You should test for asbestos before taking on on a ceiling-update project yourself. Once you know your ceiling is asbestos-free, scraping off the popcorn texture yourself will cost around $1,700 on average, while giving it a fresh coat of paint may cost up to $350.
For even a small home, redoing those old popcorn ceilings could add about $2,500 to the resale value. Not updating them may even keep your home from selling at all, if a buyer doesn’t want to tackle this messy project themselves.
4. Paint your home inside and out.
Painting will take some time and effort, but it’ll add as much as 3% to your home’s final sale price. Wallpapering or repainting your space will change up the feel of your home. Buyers are much more likely to see themselves living there, and it’ll make your home stick out to them, among other properties for sale.
DIY homeowners typically spend around $3,000 on painting the exterior and about $1,500 for the interior. Before you get started, using the right colors is key to getting a surprisingly good return-on-investment. Here are some examples of current trends observed in the real estate market:
• Painting your exterior doors deep gray or charcoal can raise your sale price by a whopping $6,000 or more.
• A creamy bright yellow or flax exterior can help you outsell other homes by over $3,400.
• Sandy-brown dining rooms sell for nearly $1,700 more than plain vanilla dining rooms.
• Periwinkle bathroom walls (light blue-violet) can boost your resale value by up to $2,800.
• Warm brown living room walls – like taupe or oatmeal – help homes sell for as much as $2,800 more than expected.
• Tuxedo-style cabinets – light-colored upper cabinets and dark navy or black lower cabinets – can raise your profits by as much as $1,500.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to paint every wall in your house to make an eye-catching improvement. Sometimes just painting an accent wall or redoing the ceilings makes a big difference.
5. Clean and declutter everything.
According to a recent report, cleaning and organizing your home can add as much as $4,500 to its resale value. It’ll also help you maximize your space and improve your own living experience while you’re still residing in the home.
This project won’t cost too much if anything other than time and effort – perhaps the price of cleaning supplies and some storage bins. Thoroughly review your home, making a list of what needs cleaned and straightened up, and estimate the time involved. And don’t forget about organizing your garage, attic, and basement!
Once you’re ready to dive in, go through your items, and categorize them in one of three areas: keep, sell, or donate. Neatly store the things you’re hanging onto, and give your entire home a good, thorough cleaning.
And don’t just stick to the inside! A simple pressure-washing can get that dirty vinyl siding, clogged gutters, blackened concrete, grayed wood, and dull brick back into showcase-worthy condition.
6. Do some low-cost landscaping.
Making some easy changes to your landscaping can improve your home’s curb appeal and its overall aesthetics. Experts estimate that simple tasks like keeping your lawn neatly trimmed, adding fresh mulch and colorful plants, and treating weeds can add over $1,000 to your home’s value.
Depending on your home’s size, you might create a space where children can play, or add a garden to grow your own food. You can also plant vegetation creatively to make your house more appealing, such as using plants to conceal your air conditioner or cover vents on your home’s exterior.
You’ll want to do some research beforehand and use plants that are native to your area. Watering and upkeep of landscaping can be expensive, so use plants that are more likely to thrive in your yard.
Another creative outdoor-improvement tip: if you want to cut down on your outdoor water usage, consider adding a rain barrel to nourish that newly-added foliage.
See? Increasing your home’s value – and its appeal to both your family and prospective buyers – isn’t so hard. It just takes a little preparation, a few small expenses, and some elbow grease. You’ll be delighted once you’ve beautified your living space, and, if you’re selling, your bank account will be larger, too!