One Project Each Year

Guilty of home neglect? It’ll bite you big time when you want to list your home.

“I see it over and over where families let life get in the way,” says Linda Trevor, Realtor at RE/MAX United. “When it comes time to sell, they are under added stress to bring the house up to speed for today’s market. Commit to doing at least one project a year; there will be less to do at the time of sale and then there is the added benefit…you get to enjoy the changes.”

But if you don’t have time or it’s too expensive, we’ve uncovered the top three things you can do to update your home now. And they don’t have to empty your wallet.

The Basics

Make sure you’re keeping up with regular maintenance so projects don’t pile up. Clean the gutters, fix squeaky hinges and repair weather stripping. Push up your sleeves and knock out a project every weekend for a while.

Got $35? Add a fresh coat of soft white or dove-gray paint and update fixtures with on-trend metallics and natural materials.

Improve efficiency; if you’re replacing a light fixture, go for the LED version. If you

need a new water heater, consider a tankless. These improvements drive down utility bills, keep you comfortable and pay off when it’s time to sell.

“They aren’t the most glamorous upgrades, but they will give you a big bang for your buck,” says Layne Taylor, Realtor with Century 21 Triangle Group.

The Biggest

According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers appreciate kitchen renovations over other home improvement projects. Even a minor kitchen remodel can recoup 87 percent of what you invest, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report.

“The best investment in a home is also typically the largest: the kitchen,” says Peggy Mackowski of Quality Design and Construction. She recommends starting with the cabinets, ensuring they’re strong, in good working order, and make the best use of space before adding new countertops.

Increase storage, add soft lighting and bring appliances into the 21st century.

“Updated appliances make a big difference in the kitchen,” says Trevor.

The newest trend in appliances? Black stainless steel. KitchenAid, LG, Samsung and GE have all recently debuted lines finished in a matte slate-gray that promise to hide smudges and resist fingerprints.

Backyard hardscape, RaleighThe Best (Impression)

Don’t forget about the outside of your home—first impressions count.

“Hardscape improvements such as a patio, porch, outdoor kitchen and fireplace will add to value and appeal as we create an extension of the indoor living space into the outdoors,” says Ben Case of Down to Earth, a local landscape design company. He suggests adding irrigation and drainage systems if needed, privacy plantings and outdoor lighting systems. Mulch, plant flowers, and don’t neglect your mailbox.

You’ll enjoy more time outside and increase the value of your home through curb appeal.

“First impressions are so important,” says Taylor. “You don’t want a buyer to pull up to your home and be turned off before they even walk through the front door.”

Market Watch:

Updated appliances and hardscape improvements can make a huge difference in the value of your home.

“We have seen an explosion of bold brushed golds in home furnishings and accessories that add a pop to a room or an outfit! Gone are the creamy, buttery yellows. It’s all about the pop of gold in fabrics, metals and even metallic wood finishes. Gambol Gold is a go-to paint color for this look. This color is most exciting as the secondary color when paired with bold navy blues or deep shades of gray and, of course, fresh shades of whites.”

— Carole Hollowell, Designer/Owner Carole Hollowell Interiors

Cameron Walker

Cameron Walker is a writer, mother and Raleigh native. She earned her B.A. in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her M.A. in the same from the University of Southern Indiana. She loves research, rainy days and sharing her favorite recipes on her blog, HoneysuckleAfternoons.com. Cameron is a writer with the College of Textiles at NC State.
Cameron Walker

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About Cameron Walker 43 Articles
Cameron Walker is a writer, mother and Raleigh native. She earned her B.A. in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her M.A. in the same from the University of Southern Indiana. She loves research, rainy days and sharing her favorite recipes on her blog, HoneysuckleAfternoons.com. Cameron is a writer with the College of Textiles at NC State.