10 Ways to Add Value to Homes

Increase value with budget-conscious projects that will bolster resale price.

Whether you're interested in starting a remodel project or just want to create more curb appeal with one you're already working on, industry experts agree there are a number of easy, budget-conscious ways you can add value to a home.

There are 10 home-improvement projects that can make life in a current home more enjoyable in the short term and pay big dividends for the homeowners when the time comes to sell the home.

Project 1. Create a designated home-office space. Whether it's just part of a room partitioned off with an obscure acrylic-block wall to create a private nook or an entire room, home offices are essential parts of today's living. The multifunctional space can be used for studying, paying bills, writing or running a home business.

Project 2. Treat ceilings as the fifth wall of a room. Accent and embellish them with beaded plywood, paints or decorative finishes. Consider adding a lightweight urethane ceiling medallion around ceiling lights and fans. Two-piece medallions snap into place in less than five minutes to add more ambiance to a room. Check out what's available at www.fypon.com, which also offers videos about installation.

Project 3. Invest in the lawn. Nothing makes a better first impression than a well-manicured lawn and continuously maintained shrubs and flower beds. Buyers immediately form opinions of how well the interior of a home is cared for by the look of the exterior.

Project 4. Replace old, leaky windows with energy-efficient vinyl windows. Not only will new windows make the whole house look better, but Energy Star-compliant windows help save on heating and cooling bills all year long. For added safety and security, consider impact-resistant windows. Much like a car windshield, these laminated windows won't shatter if they're broken, thus reducing damage inside the home from storms or break-in attempts. The clients may benefit from a discount in their insurance premiums, too.

Project 5. Expand living space by adding a deck or sunroom. Increasing the amount of usable space in a home always equates to adding more value. Whether it's placing an awning over a patio area, converting a screened-in porch to a sunroom or adding a deck, the creation of more living space makes life more enjoyable for homeowners now and adds an appealing selling feature for the future.

Project 6. Remove mildew from a home's exterior and prevent it from coming back. Start by killing any mildew by using a garden sprayer and a mildecide, which kills mildew without harming your siding, shrubs or grass. Once the mildew is dead, prevent it from coming back by using a mold- and mildew-proof paint.

Project 7. Trim out exterior windows and doors. If there is old, rotting wood around windows (or no trim at all), suggest low-maintenance, all-weather PVC millwork, which resists insects, rot and termites.

Project 8. Upgrade the master bathroom with a tub window. Durable acrylic-block windows provide privacy in the bathroom while allowing light into the room. A decorative bathroom window over the tub serves as a focal point in the room.

Project 9. Replace rotted columns and porch posts with fiberglass columns. Suggest to homeowners that when they start spending several weekends each year repairing and repainting exterior rail systems and columns, it's time to invest in low-maintenance fiberglass columns.

Project 10. Bump out to a bay or bow window. Along with adding extra living space, bay and bow windows add instant visual interior and exterior appeal to homes. People value the extended space that can add room for a window seat, highlight a Christmas tree or simply bring more light into the home.

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