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5 simple ways to boost your home's value

By Sarah McCurdy, Contributing writer
Published On: Sep 04 2011 12:36:33 PM CDT
House with blue sky

Steve Woods/SXC

In this economy, any little thing you can do to save money, make money or improve value is a mark in the win column.

When most people move into a new home, they have big plans and a major wish list. Once they get settled in and get used to the home's quirks and lack of time, the list becomes smaller.

But not all home improvements require tons of free time. There are many small ways to improve your home's value and if you set aside just a few hours at a time, you'll have a major list of things done in no time.

So, roll up your sleeves and play in the dirt, brush off that old screwdriver your dad gave you and put it to good use. Brighten your home and update those vanities, and channel your inner Picasso. You'll be done before you know it.

Neighboring houses

No. 5: Improve your curb appeal

The first thing people see when they arrive at your home is the outside. So it stands to reason the quickest way to add value to your home is to improve your curb appeal.

Fill in the dead spots in your lawn with a special patching mix from your local hardware store, or regular grass seed. Throw it down, keep it watered and watch your lawn green up.

Add some landscaping around the front step. Plan out how far you want the landscape bed to come out from the house and clear the area, leaving just the dirt in which to add your plants. Talk to experts from your local garden center and find low-maintenance plants that thrive in your area. Adding mulch around your plants is a great way to hold in moisture and keep the weeds at bay.

Solar landscape lighting is a great accessory to your new landscape; it adds visual interest and doesn't involve wiring.

Homey, modern kitchen

No. 4: Updating deferred maintenance

You know that squeaky bathroom door? Or the doorknob that's about to fall off? Let's tackle those projects this weekend.

Pick up a bottle of WD-40 and take care of all of the creaky, squeaky hinges in your home. It will create a quieter environment and make you feel better about your home.

Pull out that old screwdriver and take care of all of the cabinet hardware and doorknobs that are loose. Missing some? Take an existing piece to your local hardware store and match it the best you can; take a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and update those missing pieces. You will create a more completed look in your home and in the process, you have increased your home's value.

Fill in cracks in your wallboard or plaster walls using spackle; let it dry and then lightly sand it using sandpaper, then paint over it using a matching paint color. Now your home is updated and looking good.

Empty bedroom with lamp

No. 3: Improve your home's lighting

One of the easiest ways to date your home is with old light fixtures. If someone walks in and immediately recognizes lights from the '70s or '80s, it might be time to update.

You can get inexpensive lighting updates at your local hardware or big box store. You can buy a matching collection of pendent lights, ceiling fixtures, sconces and more.

Replacing light fixtures is a little more advanced than some of the other home improvements you can make. Have a skilled friend with you or read up before you attempt this project. And as always, when dealing with electricity, turn the breaker off for the room in which you are working.

If you would prefer to hire an electrician, also consider adding recessed lighting. It can really open up the space, create better lighting and give you a more updated look.

Bright bathroom vanity

No. 2: Update your bathroom vanity

If you have a solid bathroom vanity, consider painting it.

Most vanities from the '70s and '80s are relatively solid and with a quick coat of paint, can be given a beautifully updated look.

Buy a quart of tinted primer and paint in the color you would like to make your vanity, maybe a crisp white, chocolate brown or a more expressive color. Remove the doors, prime all of the wood and once it dries, put two coats of paint over the primer.

A way to put the finishing touches on this look is to also update the hardware. There are hundreds of decorative pieces you can choose from and it will bring your whole bathroom together.

You won't believe how easily this will update the look in just a few hours.

blue prints paint

No. 1: Add a new coat of paint

The easiest way to improve your home's value is with an updated coat of paint. Paint will instantly brighten a room and it will seemingly wipe away the dirt and grime that has collected on the walls over the years.

Worried about picking a color? Think of what you want your room to look like, and create an inspiration file after flipping through magazines or surfing online. Experts at your local paint store can help you pick the right color.

Make sure you prep on the front end to save time and headaches on the back end. Tinted primer will save time on the number of coats it will take to put on the walls. Buy painter's tape to save on your trim and always paint over a drop cloth. If accidents do happen -- and they will -- have a wet rag ready and wipe up the paint right away.

Take before-and-after photos because even you will be amazed at what a huge transformations can happen by doing simple updates.