Around the House

Check out 7 im­prove­ments that will add value to your home,

The Progress-Index Weekend - - LIFE STYLES - By Laura Firszt Net­worx

Many home­own­ers are cur­rently liv­ing in a house they like well enough, but don’t expect to stay in long term. So just how much ef­fort (not to men­tion cash) should you in­vest in home im­prove­ment? There are plenty of projects you can do that of­fer the best of both worlds – in­creas­ing en­joy­ment of your home right now, while pay­ing off in terms of curb ap­peal when the time even­tu­ally comes to sell and move on. Here are seven of them, geared to­ward the ex­te­rior of your home.

1. Clean, clean, clean.

Clean­ing is a sim­ple yet re­mark­ably ef­fec­tive up­grade, so clean your home’s ex­te­rior un­til it shines. Clear away all the cob­webs, fallen leaves, dead bugs, and any­thing else that screams “Ne­glect.” You may want to power wash the outer walls, porch, walk­way, steps and drive­way.

2. Redo your out­side walls.

Paint your house ex­te­rior for the fastest and cheap­est en­hance­ment. Al­ter­na­tively, in­stall sid­ing to cre­ate a whole new look. Fiber ce­ment sid­ing and man­u­fac­tured stone ve­neer in­stal­la­tion gen­er­ally pro­vide the op­ti­mum re­turn on your in­vest­ment. In­su­lated sid­ing will in­crease your home’s en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, too.

3. Re­place or re­fresh the front door.

Ac­cord­ing to Re­mod­el­ing Mag­a­zine’s Cost vs Value re­port, a new en­try door will not only make a gor­geous house look even bet­ter, but also give a great re­turn on in­vest­ment when you put your home on the mar­ket. If your door is in ba­si­cally good shape, save money by re­fin­ish­ing it in­stead. Real­tors rec­om­mend choos­ing col­ors that draw at­ten­tion in a sub­tle way – wood stain, black, blue, or red, rather than char­treuse or laven­der. While you’re at it, pol­ish up your hard­ware — the door knocker and han­dle — as well.

4. Put your porch in or­der.

Scrub the porch floor, screens, win­dowsills, and out­door fur­ni­ture. Make sure that the rail­ings are in good re­pair and free of rust or peel­ing paint. Con­sider in­stalling new house numbers, in a sim­ple, easy-to-read font that will be clearly vis­i­ble from the street.

5. Up­grade your garage and drive­way.

De­cide whether it’s time for a garage door opener re­place­ment – typ­i­cal life­span for this handy de­vice is 10-12 years, and the new­est mod­els of­fer great new safety and se­cu­rity fea­tures. You might choose to re­place the en­tire garage door at this time, chang­ing it for an en­ergy-sav­ing in­su­lated model with a clean mod­ern look. Re­move any grease stains from your drive­way. Re­pair or resur­face the drive­way and side­walk if nec­es­sary.

6. Spruce up your land­scap­ing.

Get rid of any haz­ards such as dead trees and branches. Prune your shrubs neatly. Rake the yard and fill in bald spots with grass seed or sod. If your yard is a tes­ti­mony to your black thumb — or just has a few prob­lem ar­eas (like the spot where a large tree was just re­moved, per­haps?), fill in with mulch. Re­duce your heat­ing and cool­ing bills by plant­ing a hedge around your house to buffer sum­mer sun and win­ter wind.

7. Add a deck.

Decks are highly in de­mand among home­buy­ers and add that special wel­com­ing touch to your prop­erty. A plat­form deck, which doesn’t re­quire steps or rail­ings, tends to be the eas­i­est and least ex­pen­sive kind you can in­stall. Be­cause it’s only a few inches off the ground, you prob­a­bly won’t need a build­ing per­mit.

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