Susan Revis - William Raveis R.E. & Home Services


Many times the house that people initially buy isn’t the property that will be their forever home. The house could be too big, too small, or not in an ideal location. When you sell your first home, you want to get the most out of your investment. There are so many easy ways that you can upgrade your home for a small amount of money. Any of these upgrades will add value to your home. Read on to find some of the most affordable improvements you can make to your home that will add character and value for you.


Do Something With The Kitchen


While “something” is a bold statement, it’s true. Just about any improvement, you make in your kitchen will give you a great return. Some ideas include:


Change the countertops

Replace the cabinets

Replace the stove

Get a new dishwasher

Install a new floor


There are so many different things that you can do to make a kitchen better. The possibilities are almost endless! The key to any renovation that you do is that you don’t want it to be too styled. Try to aim for improvements that will be timeless. Check out the current trends and see what seems to be a staple in modern homes. Keep in mind that you also have to like whatever it is you’re doing to your home.



Give Your Fireplace A Facelift


Upgrading the fireplaces in your home can be a great project and an excellent way to enhance your home. You can do anything from merely repairing your fireplace relieving it from any cracks. If you’re feeling zealous, you can change the type or face of fireplace you have. Look into switching from a wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace. Change the front of your fireplace from brick to tone. Fireplaces are attractive features in homes that make any space cozy. 


Upgrade The Outdoor Space


An outdoor living space adds a lot to a home. The nice thing about adding outdoor is you can go as big as you want to. If you live in a warm region, an outdoor kitchen is an awesome feature to add on. Put a deck on your house. Construct a patio. Put up a gazebo or permanent screen house. There are so many ways to make outdoor living a possibility.   


Clean Up Your Outdoor Space


Giving the outside of your a once over can be an easy way to upgrade your property. You can power wash your siding. Trim your bushes. Add some more plants and foliage to the landscape. These are all simple, yet practical upgrades to your home that add value and appeal.      


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Those considering the sale of their home will often consider the return on investment (ROI) of any such improvement. You don't, after all, want to spend $20,000 on a major improvement that will likely only see a $5,000 payback after the sale. But improvements also have other benefits. For one, they can help sell a home more quickly, and in real estate, time is money. There's another benefit as well. Certain upgrades can help widen the appeal of a home. This makes your home more appealing to wider audience, or even a target audience. 

Here are some improvements to consider for those who want to broaden the appeal of their home.

Home Security

Home security has become an increasingly significant factor for homebuyers. Security ranges from heavier entrance doors to deadbolts and security window glass. It can also include a security or camera system. Improving security can also save you and any future owner on home insurance premiums and that appeals to everyone. 

Making a Home More Accessible

Accessibility doesn't just appeal to those who are handicapped. It is appealing to seniors, senior caregivers and to those who simply want a home that is safer and more easily navigable. This can include use of handrails in bathrooms, taller toilets, rocker electrical switches, wider doorways where practical and other conveniences. 

"Smart" Features

Smart features in a home have become more commonplace and now appeal to a wider audience than just young buyers. Everyone is beginning to see the value and convenience of smart thermostats, lighting and security features. Even small conveniences like adding USB capable outlets can broaden the appeal of a home. 

Make It Turn-Key

Unless a buyer is purchasing a home to "flip", the majority are in search of a home that is ready to move in. Take care of the small stuff like dripping faucets, stuck windows and creaky steps. First time homebuyers, for example, have waited longer to buy a house because many didn't want the "burden" of home ownership repairs. You can ease these fears and broaden your home's appeal by making it "move-in" ready. 

Ask Yourself This Question:

Odds are you have created a living space that appeals to you. The question to now ask is "What can I do to broaden the appeal of this house?" What would make it attractive to those who may be younger or older than you? How can you improve upon its strengths and minimize its weaknesses? Look at your home with the "fresh eyes" of a potential buyer. Even a wall phone in the kitchen can make a home look outdated. 

Broadening the appeal of your home can help you sell it faster at a more appealing price. Avoid stereotyping your home and its potential audience. 


Image by B. Forenius from Shutterstock

There are some overlooked places in your home that need proper lighting. A good example is a closet. Whether a closet is small or large, proper lighting is essential for safety and good illumination. When building a new space or upgrading an existing one, these tips will help you choose the ideal lighting. 

Safety first

Closet lighting fixtures should be installed at least 12 inches away from where your clothes will be stored. Light and heat from bulbs can be harmful to your clothes especially if exposed for extended periods. Avoid heat issues by choosing LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) over incandescent lights. Using LEDs or CFLs in your closet provides the right amount of light, gives off less heat and saves energy. 

Halogen lights generate a significant amount of heat. They are not suitable for enclosed spaces like closets so avoid halogen fixtures in this application. 

Color temperature

Consider the color temperature of the lightbulbs you select. A color temperature within the range of 3000k-3500k provides bright, white light that is perfect for a closet. Selecting the right color temperature allows you to see the color of your clothes more accurately: no more guessing if your pants are black or dark blue.

Illuminate dark areas

Many closets include shelves and cabinets. Natural light or wall-mounted fixtures may not reach the far corners of these spaces. Consider installing under cabinet lighting to brighten the darker corners. Under-cabinet lighting comes in assorted sizes that can be customized for your closet. LED tape lights offer endless possibilities because of their thin profile and flexibility.

Choosing the perfect light for your closet can make big impact on your space. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your updates. If you do not have existing fixtures, consult with an experienced electrician to help with installation and placement.


If you intend to list your house in the weeks to come, you may want to complete a wide range of home improvements. That way, you can transform your ordinary house into an awe-inspiring residence, increasing the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Although you may have lofty expectations for your home improvement projects, it is important to note that performing myriad home repairs can be costly. And if you're not careful, you risk overspending to upgrade your residence.

Fortunately, it can be easy to establish a home improvement budget – here are three tips to help you develop an effective home improvement budget.

1. Determine Which Areas of Your House That You Want to Improve

When it comes to crafting a home improvement budget, it is important to differentiate between major and minor home repairs. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than ever before to budget for assorted home maintenance projects.

A kitchen overhaul or bathroom renovation may be considered a major home improvement. Conversely, updating the color of your bedroom may be a minor home improvement. If you assess the major and minor home improvements that you want to perform, you can put together an appropriate budget.

Of course, you should take an objective look at you house to decide which areas that you want to improve. With an objective view, you can identify various home issues, determine how much money will be required to fix these problems and budget accordingly.

2. Examine the Home Improvement Funds at Your Disposal

In all likelihood, you only have a finite amount of money at your disposal. Luckily, regardless of how much money you have, you should be able to establish an effective home improvement budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to get multiple quotes from home improvement professionals. If you receive a variety of quotes, you may find that you can save money on home repairs, as well as stick to a tight home improvement budget.

It also may be cost-effective to complete simple home improvement projects on your own. If you possess the skills and know-how to perform quick, easy home repairs, you may be able to enhance your house without putting a dent in your home improvement budget.

3. Set Home Improvement Priorities

Priorities are important, particularly if you need to put together a home improvement budget. It generally is a good idea to set priorities for different home improvement projects. Then, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to complete home improvement tasks in order of priority.

If you plan to list your house soon, home improvements may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Home upgrades can help you differentiate your residence from the competition and enable you to achieve the optimal home selling results.

Lastly, if you need extra help prior to listing your residence, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top-notch home improvement professionals, offer home improvement tips and insights and much more.



 Photo by kalcommodore via Pixabay

Beautiful railings, including the railing that surrounds your deck, plays a major role in your home's curb appeal. Even when it's not visible from the street, a strong, sturdy deck and the railing that surrounds it can still raise your home's resale value. That's extra living space, after all. Even if it is outdoors. But even more important, your deck and its railing need to be structurally sound for safety purposes. You don't want to take a fall off your backyard deck, and you certainly don't want your family, friends or guests to have a mishap. For these reasons, it's vital to keep railings in top condition. Here's how:

Choose the Right Material for Deck Railings

Today's homeowners have multiple options for creating a railing around a wooden deck. More popular ones include:

  • Pressure-Treated Wood -- A popular choice for deck railing, wood is the most high-maintenance railing material on the market. Even pressure-treated lumber will need to be re-stained or re-sealed intermittently. This type of railing may also warp or twist over time, but for an upscale appearance, it's difficult to beat. 
  • Vinyl --Vinyl is lightweight and requires little-to-no maintenance other than an occasional cleaning with the garden hose. Vinyl won't rust or rot, but the color may fade over time. 
  • Aluminum -- Aluminum is a lightweight, durable material that can withstand corrosion, rust and rot. It can be painted any color and is typically cheaper to install than heavier options such as pressure-treated lumber. 
  • Composite -- Composite deck railing is made from PVC and recycled wood. It combines the best of both worlds because it's impervious to warp, rot and rust. It doesn't need staining or sealing, it's available in many colors and can easily be painted. 

Once you've decided on a material, professional installation is best. Unless you're confident in your construction abilities, weight-bearing structures, such as deck railings, should be built to code. You'll likely need a permit, as well. Adding a well-built, professionally installed railing to your deck will impress future homebuyers. It will also delight your friends and family when the weather turns friendly. 

Maintaining Deck Railing

The best advice for maintaining your deck railing over time is simply to inspect it regularly. Take a good, long look every spring, and if you see issues -- nails that are popping up, boards that are weakening -- have them repaired right away. Clean your deck and railings annually, regardless of their composition, and make sure to stain and seal wooden railings at least every other year. 

The condition of the trim around your home, including railings, affects your home's value. Take the time to keep them in top condition to maintain their value and their safety. 

 




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