Top 10 Home Improvements to Increase Home Value

Planning to Sell or Refinance? Improve Your Home First!

Some people will do home improvements because they want to live in a nicer home. Others will complete them so that they can sell their home for a more. Still others want to refinance, and need to increase the value to get rid of that pesky PMI. And there are even those that are seeking a reverse mortgage soon, and they want to make sure their monthly checks are large enough.

No matter your reason, you don’t want to dump a bunch of time and money into little improvements that won’t affect the value of your house very much. You want to focus on the top improvements to increase your home’s value. Here are a few things that you can do.

1. Paint the Walls

via Gacek Design Group

Paint is still the easiest, and cheapest, way to take your home from drab to wow. Getting rid of the boring “off-white” is a sure way to make things look fresh.

Touching up that paint that has been marred, chipped, scraped, and scuffed over the years makes the home feel new. Just don’t get too crazy, an orange, yellow, and green living room is probably too much for potential buyers. 😉

Cost: $3.00 to $6.00 per sq. ft. on average, depending on the paint quality, amount of prep work required, and overall size of the project. A typical interior remodeling painting project for the whole house may cost between $3,000 and $6,000 on average.

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Top 10 Winter Home Maintenance & Weatherization Costs

Maintaining your home’s weather protection is very affordable compared with the high costs of repairing the damage caused by water leaks, insect infestation, and the effects of allowing moss and debris to remain on roofs and in the gutters over winter.

Getting your home ready for winter
via ChenArch.com

Home weatherization is also great way to improve your home’s durability and lower you heating and home energy consumption costs.

Let’s explore these essential home weatherization and maintenance updates and their costs:

  • Roof Inspection and Repair
  • Moss Removal and Roof Cleaning
  • Gutter Cleaning, Repair and Replacement
  • Exterior Caulking of Windows and Doors
  • Adding Weather Stripping to Windows and Doors
  • Adding Insulation to the Attic
  • Exposed Pipes Insulation
  • Chimney Cleaning
  • Furnace and Water Heaters Maintenance Check
  • Lawn and Garden Winter Prep

Note: handyman services and contractors often have minimum fees of up to $150 per visit to your home. For that reason, whenever possible, you will want to group these home maintenance and repair items when contacting service professionals for estimates.

Roof Inspection and Repair

Your roof is your home’s most important defense against the elements. When it is compromised, your home is susceptible to water damage, structural rot and weakening, mold and mildew problems and infestation from insects. That list of horrors is good motivation to keep our roofs in good health.

Your options include roof inspection from the ground using binoculars (good), on a ladder with friends holding it steady (better), or hiring a home inspector or roofing contractor (best).

If you have an attic, it the underside of the roof and attic walls should be checked for water stains. Roofs should be inspected twice a year and after major storms and wind events. Look for missing roofing material, cupped shingles, cracked shingles and shakes, loose flashing – any sign of damage.

  • Roof inspection cost: $125-$275
  • Roof repair: $7-$15 per square foot

Repairing a roof costs more on a per square foot basis than installing a new roof, and that’s why roof replacement rather than repair starts to make sense when 25% or more of the roof is damaged. This is especially true when the roof is 12-15 years old or older.

Most minor roof repairs will cost in the range $350 to $1,500, and most roofing contractors will have a minimum repair outcall fee of $250 or more.

Moss Removal and Roof Cleaning

Algae stained roof

Moss, algae and debris on roofing material, collecting in roof valleys and against dormers and upper stories is more than just an eyesore. They hold water against your roof and are acidic, a combination that can cause asphalt shingles to cup and fail, wood shingles and shakes to rot and metal roofing to corrode.

Living plant material must be gently removed from the roof with a stiff broom, starting at the top, to prevent roof damage. Stubborn moss and algae can be loosened with cleaners like Wet & Forget and Spray & Forget before brooming the roof.

If you’re not a DIY enthusiast, hiring an experienced professional for the job is the best way to ensure a clean roof that isn’t damaged. Hiring a pro will also keep you safely on the ground.

Home improvement professionals estimate costs based on the size of your home, whether it is a single-story or multistory home, the roof’s pitch and related factors.

  • $32-$45 per gallon | Roof cleaners for DIY cleaning, 1,000-1,250 square feet per concentrated gallon
  • $300-$800 | Professional roof cleaning cost

Gutter Cleaning, Repair and Replacement

clogged gutters

Gutters easily clog with leaves, pine needles and debris. When they do, water will overflow them or cascade over them and fall next to your home causing problems such as a flooded foundation, stained or rotted siding and garage door damage.

  • Clean gutters as needed: Gutters need cleaning frequently, perhaps twice in the fall and once in the spring, where large trees tower above them. They might never need cleaning in treeless landscapes.
  • Inspect gutters: It’s wise to check gutters twice a year and after heavy hail and wind storms. Look for missing, loose and separated sections or downspouts coming loose from gutters.
  • Replace gutters as needed: If you’ve already made significant repairs to your gutters, it might be worth replacing them before the next winter or rainy season hits your area.

    It only takes one big storm for a gutter to come loose and dump hundreds of gallons of water next to your basement.

  • Gutter cleaning cost: $0.75-$1.50 per linear foot
  • Gutter repair cost: $8.00-$12.00 per linear foot of damaged gutter
  • Gutter replacement cost: $6.50-$9.00 per linear foot

Exterior Caulking Repair and Replacement

Loose and missing caulk allows moisture and insects to get into your home’s framing and possibly into your living space. The situation also allows warm air to escape in winter and penetrate in summer.

Your HVAC system will work harder, and your energy company will be happy to bill you for it. Inspect for loose caulk visually and by brushing it with a stiff brush.

Remove any loose caulking when it is found. If the caulk is more than 15 years old and some of it is loose, consider re-caulking the area. All loose caulk, dirt and debris should be removed before new caulking is installed.

  • DIY caulk repair and replacement: $2-$5 per window or door for materials, more for garage doors
  • Professional caulk repair and replacement: $6-$15 per window or door, up to $40 per garage door

Adding Weather Stripping to Windows and Doors

Effects of air leaks

Loose-fitting windows and doors are like loose caulk – a waste of energy and a potential entrance for moisture and bugs. Weather stripping is affordable and has excellent ROI in the form of lower energy bills and home protection too.

  • DIY weather stripping: $0.25-$0.55 (25-55 cents) per linear foot for the various types of material
  • Pro weather stripping: $4-$10 per window or door, up to $35 for a garage door

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20 Benefits and Advantages of Strip LED Lights for Homes

When deciding to make the switch from conventional incandescent lighting to an Eco-friendly alternative, don’t limit yourself to CFLs or LED bulbs. Instead, consider using LED strip lights. They are an excellent choice for functionality, as well as for a variety of decorative uses.

And thanks to their overall durability and longevity, range of colors, and LED strip lights can be used almost anywhere. Here are more reasons why you should consider them:

1. Easy Installation

Most LED light strips come with adhesive on the back that allows you to “peel and stick” them wherever you like to place the strips.

led-tape-under-cabinet-lighting-installation

2. Energy Efficient

LED lights use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights and up to 50 percent less than CFLs, making them a superior lighting source for energy efficiency.

3. Flexibility

The central feature of LED strip lights is their flexibility. Unlike bulbs, they can be attached to curved surfaces, corners or molded into almost any shape.

4. Non-Toxic

Unlike fluorescents, LED lights do not contain mercury or other harsh chemicals. Therefore, they don’t require special disposal or pose a health risk if dropped.

5. Durable

LED lights are built with durable components that are made to withstand harsh conditions. They are designed to hold up to heavy vibrations, outside elements and external impacts.

6. Cost Effective

Although the initial cost of LED lights is more than their counterparts, their long-life, durability and energy-efficiency make them more cost effective.

If the sticker shock is still holding you back, LED light strips may be the best way to begin. Most will be less expensive than LED bulbs and a great way to see the value before making a complete switch. You will also save money on maintenance, tools and lighting fixtures.

7. Environmentally-friendly

LED lights can be recycled since they have no harsh chemicals. Plus, their longevity and low energy use make them the ideal solution to Eco-friendly lighting.

8. Low Temperature

Conventional bulbs use 90 percent of their energy as heat and CFL’s use 80 percent, whereas LED’s stay completely cool. This makes LED’s excellent to use in children, pet and heat sensitive areas.

9. Waterproof

Strip LED lights are available in waterproof tubes or ribbons. They are excellent to use in fish tanks, on vehicles and in outdoor areas.

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