Every year, Americans splash more than $400 billion on home renovations and repairs. Many of these upgrades are meant to make the home a more comfortable place to live in, especially with Americans recently spending more time at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But home improvement can also dramatically boost your home’s resale value.
Whether you’re simply looking to make your home comfier for you and your loved ones or want to take its value several notches higher, we’ve got a few actionable home improvement tips to guide you along the way.
Let’s get started.
1. Create a Plan
Few home upgrades go exactly according to plan. But that doesn’t mean you should fail to have one. Sure, you’ll probably need to make a few last-minute changes, but hammering the non-negotiable details out first is absolutely necessary.
So, what are these non-negotiables? At a minimum, you need to know exactly what results you want to achieve in your home improvement project. You also need to know the amount of money you’ll need to use to achieve these results, and in how much time.
You can find reliable modeling and design software that helps you plan during the planning phase. With such software, you can create multiple versions of your project and get an estimate of what you need to spend to achieve each. Add a 10 to 15 percent buffer to your final budget to cover any surprises.
2. Seek to Add Value
If you’re not exactly sure how to upgrade your space, you can look for projects that will enhance your home’s value. Updating your kitchen or bathroom is always a safe bet.
You can also prioritize home improvements that add square footage to your home. These include a finished basement and deck.
That said, it always helps to focus on projects that are valuable and popular in your neighborhood instead of broader national trends.
3. Start With Time-Sensitive Tasks
The next tip on how to improve your home is to identify which tasks are more urgent than others. Tasks that will save you on costs immediately or avert future damage should go to the top of your priority list.
Do the same for quick, simple fixes. These include such tasks as replacing air filters, sealing drafts, and so on.
4. Decide Where to DIY
Many homeowners are enthusiastic DIY-ers, but there are projects that simply aren’t suitable for DIY. These include electrical work and plumbing tasks.
But even for projects that you can handle yourself, gauge your level of interest before you start putting in the work. Are the time and effort really worth the cost you’ll save?
Where you have little or no knowledge of the task, avoid committing until you’ve spent enough time watching online tutorials. Price out the materials and equipment as well.
5. Scrimp and Splurge Responsibly
One of the best home improvement ideas you can have is to know how to spend responsibly on the project. Understand where you can afford to skimp on and where being stingy will only create more work later.
Generally, you should avoid skimping on items that are difficult to replace, such as electrical work or a hot water heater. For items that are easy to replace, such as light fixtures, showerheads, and drawer pulls, it’s okay to opt for cheap.
There are, of course, other ways to get what you want without necessarily having to spend a lot of money on it. For instance, you can choose appliances for leasing instead of spending more money on purchases.
6. Know Your Financing Options
Perhaps one of the main hurdles you’ll need to overcome when wondering how to make your home better is where the funds for the project will come from. This is especially if the home remodel is an extensive one.
For homeowners who can’t afford to pay for the remodel in full with cash, there are other financing options. The secret is to choose a financing option that doesn’t put your property at risk.
For smaller projects, credit cards and personal loans can prove useful. But where the renovation is major, you may want to think of a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Of course, these are just a few of the many suitable options out there.
7. Find a Reliable Contractor
Ultimately, the kind of contractor you use will have a huge impact on how successful your home improvement project is. With the stakes so incredibly high, you want to make sure you hire the right person for the job.
Vet potential contractors keenly. Rely on referrals and references to find a contractor with a reputation for delivering on their promise. Friends, relatives, and neighbors are good sources of this information.
During your interviews with prospective contractors, verify their credentials to ensure you’re talking to a fully licensed and insured professional. Be sure to get multiple quotes to avoid getting overcharged.
8. Keep Your Next Home Upgrade in Mind
The end of one project signifies the beginning of another. That’s simply how home improvement works.
Keep a detailed list of the lessons you’ve learned during this project, as they may be useful during your next one. You may also want to note down your upcoming projects, as well as the project goals. This way, you always know what’s next.
Use These Home Improvement Tips for Best Results
Undertaking a home upgrade from start to finish can seem like a challenging project. There are a million details to take care of, and one mistake can prove incredibly costly. But with the home improvement tips we’ve shared above, your next project should be a smooth undertaking.
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