It can be difficult to think about pouring money into home improvements when you’re already underwater with your mortgage. And yet, if you want to get the most out of your home when it comes time to sell, you need to make sure that your house is in good shape. So at the very least you should perform regular maintenance and attend to small issues before they grow into major problems. Plus, you can enjoy any upgrades until such time as you’re ready to sell, and you could even end up making back more than you spent on upgrades, especially if you find ways to add value while spending very little. Here are just a few ideas that could help you to vastly improve your property value in a recession economy without breaking the bank.
- Curb appeal. The first thing any buyer will see is the front of your house. And if the paint is peeling, plants are overgrown, and the lawn is dead, you’re not going to garner much interest up front. So there are a few things you can do without too much expense to ensure that buyers find your home inviting before they ever set foot inside. You can start with landscaping. Consider drought-resistant plants that are easy to care for and require less water (this will help you to save on utilities). Then keep up with maintenance like weeding, seeding, and replanting for a yard that always looks great. And consider painting your house every few years as a summer project. If you can manage it yourself, the cost is minimal (for a big payoff).
- Energy-savers. Anything that makes your household less expensive to maintain (in terms of utilities) is going to be great for your family and provide a major draw for potential buyers. Certain things will cost you (alternative energy, insulated windows, and so on), but there’s a lot you can do for limited cost. When you’re ready to replace appliances, get energy-saving models that are comparably priced. And think about installing aerated faucets to save on water usage, a tankless water heater to cut back on gas bills, and a thermostat that allows for better controls (like timed usage).
- Extra storage. One thing that many home buyers are looking for is adequate storage. So if you’re handy with a carpenter’s tools, you may be able to beef up storage solutions with some truly spectacular built-ins. Buy lumber remnants to further reduce costs. And if you simply can’t tackle this project on your own, get bids from contractors. Like everyone else in a recession economy, they may be willing to reduce prices in order to get your business.
- Targeted overhaul. There are certain upgrades that are proven to show a better return. So if you only have a limited budget for renovations, put it into the kitchen or the master bath. These can be expensive rooms to overhaul, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
- Open floor plan. It seems like everyone wants an open floor plan that turns common areas like the kitchen, dining room, and living room into one big gathering place. Luckily, knocking down walls is pretty easy. You may want to consult with a contractor first to ensure that you’re not taking out load-bearing walls or swinging a mallet at an electrical junction, but you’ll likely find demo to be fun and relatively easy. Drywall is a bit messier, but still doable.