YOU Magazine - July 2008 - 5 Easy, Inexpensive Ways to Add Value and Comfort to Your Home Subscribe to YOU Magazine and other timely market alerts from Laurie Gardner.

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Laurie Gardner     Laurie Gardner
Senior Mortgage Loan Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage Company NMLS Unique ID #204060
Phone: (907)796-1202 / fax 907-929-6711
Fax: WA Consumer Loan Co. License #CL-157293
License: Mortgage License #AK157293
Alaska USA Mortgage Company NMLS Unique ID #204060
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5 Easy, Inexpensive Ways to Add Value and Comfort to Your Home

5 Easy, Inexpensive Ways to Add Value and Comfort to Your Home

When the housing market is hot, it seems like just about any project is a good investment for boosting your home's value and appeal. But when the market's tight, you want to be more selective about which projects you undertake and what you expect to gain in return. There's nothing worse than wasting time and money on a major project that barely raises the value of your house.

If you've been thinking about increasing your home's value or just making your living space more comfortable, these ideas can help you start off simple and prioritize your list. Before you start knocking out walls and renovating your roofline, consider these ways to make a difference...cost-effectively!

1. Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal

Buyers often decide whether to look at your house before they even get out of the car. So, before you spend a lot of time and money remodeling the inside, take a good look at the outside. Washing windows, repainting trim, planting flowers and small shrubs, trimming tree branches and overgrown bushes, fixing screens, resealing your driveway, and mowing the lawn can make a big difference. Start out by making a list of 4 to 7 simple projects and then set aside an hour or two each day. In just one week, you - and potential buyers - will be surprised how appealing and welcoming your house looks when driving up.

You may also want to consider larger projects, such as replacing the siding, adding a patio or deck, or even replacing a dilapidated driveway. But remember, although these bigger projects may help your house stand out, they probably won't yield as high of a qualitative return on investment in terms of your home's actual value. So, weigh your options and ask your Realtor® for advice before investing in any of these bigger projects.

2. Does Your Entryway Invite People In?

A cozy first impression is crucial. Now that you've boosted your curb appeal, it's time to turn your attention inside - starting just inside the front door. To make sure your entryway invites people to come in - rather than turnaround and run - try adding a wicker chair and table outside the door along with a fresh coat of paint to your foyer.

For even more impact, replace old light fixtures and update the floor in your entryway with a throw rug or easy-to-apply self-adhesive linoleum squares. These projects are inexpensive and easy enough to do yourself in just a few hours.

3. Spiff Up that Old Bathroom

Remodeling an old bathroom can make a big impact. You should start by simply de-cluttering the countertop. It's amazing how spacious even a small bathroom appears after the styling products, pictures and miscellaneous bathroom decorations are removed.

From there, you can freshen up the paint, replace that old shower curtain, add a new medicine cabinet on the wall, and even a upgrade your faucet and shower head for very little money. For a little more, you can also install a double sink or re-tile the floor.

4. Hot in the Kitchen

Renovating an outdated kitchen is practically a sure thing - as long as you don't splurge on extravagant items like hand-painted Italian tile or built-in espresso machines. Instead, focus on the basics: replacing the handles on your cabinets and drawers, freshening up the paint, installing new flooring, adding a backsplash, and painting or re-facing your existing cabinets. You can also make a dramatic impact by installing new countertops and even replacing your appliances. All of these projects will go a long way to making a new buyer feel at home.

5. Add a Second Bathroom

Perhaps no improvement makes a bigger impact on your family's comfort and your house's appeal than adding a second bathroom. The number of bathrooms is always a big sticking point for potential buyers, especially families with two or three children.

Although adding a bathroom costs more than simply fixing up your old one, it also increases the value of your house more. Plus, having that second bathroom may help you sell your house faster than if it only has one, which is an important point to consider in today's market. So, if you have a house with roughed-in plumbing just waiting for you to take the initiative, you may want to consider adding that second bathroom you've always wanted.

However, if your house doesn't have roughed-in plumbing or floor plans that called for a future bathroom, you'll definitely want to consult a professional Realtor® to discuss how much a second bathroom will add to your home's value. After all, if you have to start moving walls and re-plumbing your house just to add a bathroom, you may find that your time and money are better spent on a handful of smaller projects that will ultimately add more impact.

Plan Ahead and Avoid Headaches

Overall, the best advice about adding value to your home is to start small, work your way up, and always plan ahead. You don't want to get halfway into a renovation only to find that you have to update your entire electrical system or that your time and effort was wasted on a renovation that doesn't add as much value as you thought. With a little planning and prioritizing, you can make your house more comfortable and valuable with very little time and money. Happy renovating!

License AK# 157293 Washington Consumer Loan Company license# CL-157293 California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License# 4131067

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