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411 on Home Improvements: Spending $$ On The Right Things!

February has many home owners dreaming of the ways to spend their tax refund. Home improvement projects are usually high up on that list. And if they aren't, they should be! Home owners should be spending 1-2% of their home's purchase price on home improvement projects each year. But before you take that trip to Home Depot, let's discuss the best improvements that will give you the highest rate of return on your investment. Not all home improvement projects yield the same monetary return. This is especially true if you don't plan on being in your home more than a few years. In the case of short term home ownership, make sure you are making design choices that would appeal to the biggest audience, and are not super personal or ultra trendy (ie, shiplap).

Here are the top 10 home improvement projects that will bring you the most bang for your buck! Some are quick weekend projects, some are more time consuming, but they are all smart choices!

  1. Build a home office space! The pandemic has truly changed the way Americans work, with many jobs permanently WFH or with a hybrid schedule. A designated work space (not in the Primary bedroom) is a top "need" for today's home buyer.

  2. Landscaping! While it's still a little too chilly to start yard maintenance right now in the PNW, this should be on every home owners list when the weather heats up. Basic landscaping & maintenance can go a long way! Mow, trim & fertilize that lawn. Pick those pesky weeds, trim the bushes & any trees on the property. Lay fresh mulch or river rock. Bonus points for planting colorful flowers in pots by the front door.

  3. Update exterior features! Give your home a fresh new look by updating some exterior design Items, such as the house numbers, mailbox, exterior lights & door knocker. Watch your curb appeal go from "eh" to "wow"!

  4. Put in a firepit & create a outdoor vibe! Another popular item on a home buyers list is "outdoor living space". This can be accomplished by purchasing some comfortable outdoor furniture & putting in a fire pit or fireplace. Added bonus- how much fun are summer nights going to be roasting marshmallows in your new outdoor space?!

  5. Update kitchen & bathroom fixtures! Putting in new drawer knobs, faucets, light covers & light fixtures will give your kitchen & bathroom a facelift that's easy on the wallet. However, make sure to take into account the overall style of your home before making any changes. You want to go for a cohesive look. Pintrest is a great resource for looking at style ideas.

  6. Replace that flooring! While this is a more expensive project, it will bring a greater rate of return on your investment. This can include refinishing hardwood flooring, swapping out carpet for hardwood, or changing that laminate for a higher end option.

  7. Paint! Painting the interior or exterior of your home is another great way to keep your home looking fresh & beautiful. If you are going to be in your home long term, it's ok to choose more personalized colors. However if you are looking for a higher investment return, or are planning on selling soon, go with a bright neutral color.

  8. 2nd Floor Laundry Room! This is another higher cost project, but it will be well worth your time & money. Having a laundry room on the 2nd floor is a top "want" for home buyers. And who can blame them? Imagine not lugging that heavy laundry basket up & down the stairs?! Amazing.

  9. Air Conditioning! In the PNW many homes historically weren't built with air conditionings. However any current PNW resident will tell you that this trend needs to change. Summer weather is heating up, and with it comes a demand for AC. Tip: contact your local HVAC company for a quote in the winter before the demand increases in the summer months.

  10. Make your home smart! Turning your home into a smart house not only increasing your quality of living, but offers a high rate of return on your investment as well! Win-Win! So start working on replacing that thermostat for a smart one, & add wireless home security (don't forget the wireless cameras)! When you are through you will be able to control your lights, home temperature, & security system all from your phone. If you really want to go all out, consider switching out your fridge and washer/dryer for smart ones!

Happy home improvements!

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