With spring around the corner and tax refunds in the mail, many homeowners are anxious to get to work on tackling their home improvement projects. But with so many choices for upkeep, remodeling and repair, it can be difficult to decide where to best channel your time and money.
To help you invest wisely and get the most bang for your home improvement buck, let's check out seven of the most high-impact updates you can make to your property this spring.
Crank up Your Curb Appeal
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that won't stop people from judging your house from the curb. Landscaping can be a great way to beautify your property, but many projects are only temporary. Consider making a more permanent change by planting a few long-lasting flowering shrubs, or skip the green altogether and spring for some hardscaping. A tasteful paver walkway or a rustic stone-bordered flower bed can really transform the look of your property, and it won't need the wasteful watering or constant maintenance required by many landscaping additions.
Update Your Front Door
Your front door is kind of a big deal. It's one of the first things people see when they arrive at your property, and it's also an integral part of your home security plan. A solid, secure steel entry door is a worthwhile home improvement upgrade that typically offers an exceptional return on your investment. Similarly, a new garage door is a great way to boost both your security and your home's resale value. If you're looking for a more low-cost option, simply applying a fresh coat of paint to a front door that's seen better days provides a great deal of aesthetic value.
Tackle Routine Repairs
If you enjoy working with your hands, there are plenty of simple repair projects you can tackle on your own. At the top of the list are your home's siding and shingles. Begin by conducting a thorough inspection of both, looking carefully for signs of damage or wear. Minor damage can often be fixed even if your DIY skills are a bit lacking, though you shouldn't be afraid to call a professional if the work seems a bit beyond your capability. Either way, staying ahead of these small issues is a surefire way to keep your home looking great and avoid the potential for far more costly repairs in the future.
Give Your HVAC Some TLC
An ounce of prevention, as the saying goes, is worth a pound of cure. That's certainly true when it comes to your home's HVAC system. Since it falls squarely between the peak heating and cooling seasons, spring is the perfect time to have your HVAC system inspected, cleaned and repaired. While this may seem like an unnecessary cost if your system has been working well, there's no better way to catch minor issues before they can become massive repair bills. A professionally cleaned and well-maintained HVAC system will also operate more efficiently, potentially saving you some cash each month on your utility bills.
Spring for New Appliances
Speaking of efficiency, does your home have appliances that have been around the block a time or two? If so, you may be surprised to learn how much they've been costing you. Whether it's an aging water heater, an outdated refrigerator or anything in between, swapping your old appliances out with more efficient models can add up to some real savings on your monthly energy bill. Spring is also a great time to consider upgrading to a programmable smart thermostat, which can be controlled remotely and even reduce heating and cooling costs as it “learns” and adjusts to your preferences and behavior.
Paint for a Profit
Whether your walls are showing their age or you're simply itching for a change of scenery, you may be tempted to reach for the paintbrush come spring. Painting is a good way to inject some fresh style into a stale room, but bear in mind that not everyone will share your taste in colors. If you’re thinking of selling your home, consider opting for neutral and broadly appealing colors like light grays, yellows, blues or rich, earthy tones. You'll still get an invigorating new look, but you'll also ensure that you don't turn future buyers away with a color choice that's a little too bold.
Power-Wash Your Porch and Patio
Spring cleaning isn't just for inside the home. If you have a porch, patio or deck, consider using a power washer to clean up the dirt and grime that often accumulates over the course of the winter. Renting a power washer is often the most cost-effective option, though it doesn't hurt to ask around and see if a friend or family member has one you can borrow. It's a quick and easy way to improve the look of your home, and it may even help to prolong the life of your deck or patio.
Many homeowners believe that increasing their home's value requires major renovations and a major budget, but that simply isn't the case. While a renovated kitchen or a new bathroom can certainly add value and appeal, sometimes it's the smaller details that really add up. Tackle a few of these affordable home improvement ideas and you can see for yourself why they rank among the best bang-for-the-buck updates.