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Part 1: 4 Tips for Choosing Home Improvement Projects

Posted by Sarah Steen on October 21, 2018
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Choosing Home Improvement Projects


In our 3 Part Home Improvement Series, we will cover the basics in choosing home improvement projects that benefit you while adding value to your home. We have great ideas and advice for any budget size. For Part 1, we’ll explore 4 steps to help you prioritize which home improvement projects will give you the most return on investment (ROI) by creating a blank slate.


1. Clean Up, De-clutter and Beautify


Simplify your life by sorting through your home. We moved every 2-4 years in the military, and before each move we had to sort through our household goods and trim it all down. It was hard to let go of some of my things, but looking back I know it was a blessing in disguise!  You don’t know what you have until you need to move it.


What if you’re not planning to move?  Reduce your stuff anyway. Start off with just one drawer or closet, or try the minimalist challenge. Everything is easier to organize, you’ll have more room, and maybe even make some extra cash selling your things in a yard sale or on eBay. It will simplify your life. If you haven’t worn, touched or looked at it in the past 2 years? Sell, donate, or trash it.


2. Time to Touch Up!


This isn’t just a regular home cleaning, but a deep clean with paint touch up and small repairs. Here’s a list to help you get started. As you dive into cleaning, you’ll find things beyond just a small touch up that need your attention. Keep a list of needed repairs, and then either hire a handyman or individual contractors to take care of it.

Picture of person mopping their kitchen floor

3. Home Maintenance First


Research tells us that many homeowners end up selling their home within two years after big remodel projects. Before tackling any home improvement, take a close look at your home and determine the condition of it. If you are like most homeowners, there will be projects that fall in the “someday this will be fixed” category.


Start by taking an inventory of needed repairs. If necessary, hire a home inspector and they will painfully point out every deficiency in your home. This will give you an opportunity to make these repairs at your leisure and as your budget allows. This is much better than waiting until you want to sell when repairs have to be done under time pressure (or drastically reduce your bottom line).


Replace what is worn out! Spring for new, neutral carpeting or flooring. Even if you are not thinking of selling, this is your most expensive investment so you’ll want to take care of it. You also deserve to live in a beautiful place!


Home maintenance and repair can eat into your remodel budget, so be sure to prioritize it even though it’s not quite as glamorous as a new kitchen.


4. Harmonize with your neighborhood


Do you have a home improvement project in mind because it will make your life easier, more comfortable or convenient?  Maybe you are you just thinking that updating your home would be a good thing to do?

Whatever the motivation for the project, research what is standard in your neighborhood:

  1. Find some open houses and attend them.
  2. Talk to a REALTOR® to provide you all sales and active listings in your neighborhood.
  3. Take a detailed look at all the features these homes have and how much they actually sold for. What are the common features that are selling at premium prices?  For example, do all homes have granite countertops in the kitchen? If so, plan on installing granite countertops if you’re remodeling your kitchen?

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