5 Improvements That Will Increase Your Home’s Value

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Summer is the perfect time for us to take a look at what we’re working with when it comes to our homes. We had a rough winter this year – followed by an equally rough spring, so if your house sustained any damage, now is the time to get it back in shape. After all, you don’t want to have to scramble as soon as the leaves start to turn.

Backyard

You’ll probably be spending a lot of time in your backyard this summer. Most people are feeling especially cooped up after those polar vortexes we had to deal with, so this is a great year to get your backyard in shape. If you had any semi-tropical plants that were frozen solid, you may find that you have some bare spots that need to be filled in. Local nurseries and garden centers are just as eager to start selling, so hit them up and practice your haggling skills instead of purchasing from big-box stores. For a little extra pop, adding a full fireplace (that is eco-friendly of course) with comfy outdoor chairs around, creates a great setting for gatherings. Having an outdoor “living room” is said to have a 78% return on investment.

Speaking of investments, there are other ways you can save money if you want to upgrade your backyard landscape. Synthetic grass might be an option for you if you want to save water and money. If synthetic grass isn’t your thing, you can always consider planting low-maintenance plants or try strategically placing a tree in your yard to save energy (by channeling summer breezes to your home).

Driveway/Walkway

You probably feel like you’ve shoveled and snow-blown way more than your share of snow this year. If, at some point, you took your frustration out on your walkway or driveway, I don’t think anyone could blame you. However, now that spring is here and winter snows are officially over, you might be looking at those gouges and considering some meditation classes.

Getting those miniature potholes filled is pretty important. However, if you had more self-control than some of us, it may still be time for a new paving job. Freezing and melting snow forms cracks, which will only get worse next year. Fixing them now means less work and less worry later. If you have a little more room in your budget, you can opt to upgrade your walkways and driveways with new brick pavers – this will emphasize the overall impression of your home and increase its value with a statement.

Heating Vents and Air Conditioning

Get your HV/AC units checked. Some of this you should be able to do on your own, such as changing out the air filter. Having a professional come out for a check-up means that they can catch problems before they become disasters. After all, you paid enough this winter. You don’t want to have to count your pennies for the summer as well. If you notice your energy bills are quite high, you could always look into a site like Simply Switch, who can help you find a provider to help save you money and find you the latest deals this summer.

Windows

You know how you just had your air conditioning checked? You don’t want to waste that money by letting all the cool air zip right out your drafty windows. Sure, you probably sealed them for the winter, but having new, energy-efficient windows installed for the summer means that you can enjoy your air conditioning, without fearing your bill. Plus, new windows can brighten up an entire room. The price range for energy-efficient windows can range from $100 to $800+ per window. The most efficient windows on the market are usually the most expensive, but it’s not necessary to buy the highest-end products to realize utility bill savings or improve comfort and aesthetics. Most window companies will provide you with online window quote system to make getting a quote, easy. Besides, window replacements are considered to be one of the best home remodeling projects in terms of investment return. They’ll look wonderful in addition to saving you roughly around $120-$500 per year in energy bills. It’s important to remember that savings will vary according to climate, local energy costs, and energy efficiency of the windows.

Remodel Your Bathroom

Alright, so you probably could do this during the winter, but who would want to? Now that friends are coming over to gasp in awe over your beautiful backyard and brand new windows, updating your bathroom might be another great idea. After all, it is the one place that everyone is sure to visit when they drop by. It’s small enough that you can complete the project quickly, and it won’t upset your routine nearly as much as a kitchen makeover, but it will make just as much difference. With a 168% average return on investment, simply updating your bathroom will significantly increase your home’s value.

No matter what you end goal is, or your budget, there are always things you can do that’ll get you in a summertime mood. Some of the options are more DIY-friendly than others, but they’re all good options. I would have mentioned adding solar panels to your roof as an eco-friendly way to save money on your bills, but it seems like they are not cost-effective for everyone yet. But feel free to check out what incentives are offered by your State before you dismiss them completely.

So choose your task and get started. You’ll love it even more once winter hits.

Anum Yoon is a personal finance writer who is dedicated to sharing her insights on money management with others. She believes that a greener, energy-efficient lifestyle is the key to living a more fulfilling life. When she's not typing away on her keyboard, you can find her poring over a new recipe she found on Pinterest or at the power rack in her gym.

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