As we age, so do our homes. And what may have been our dream homes of 30 or even 40 years ago, may now be in need of some updating and TLC. While homeownership comes with a seemingly endless “to-do” list, we all want to make home improvements, or at least small updates here and there. However, it’s no secret that home improvement projects and renovations are a large undertaking – and have the potential to come with a hefty price tag.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. Whether you’re making updates to sell your home or transform it into your retirement haven, there are plenty of simple fixes and budget-friendly updates to make your house look great. And all it takes to get started is a plan, some sweat equity, a DIY attitude, and some cash.
Consider some of these low-cost, high-improvement projects to implement around your house.
- Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
When it comes to giving your home a facelift, paint is magic. From hiding any imperfections to covering up any old marks on the walls, a fresh coat of paint can make your home look clean and updated – which spells value. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports study found that painting the interior of your home can yield a 1-3% increase in value, while painting the exterior can increase value by as much as 2-5%1. Better yet, painting your walls is easy and affordable, which is why it is the most often tackled DIY home improvement project. All you need to get started is a few gallons of paint, and some rollers, tapes, brushes and drop cloths. Within just a few hours, you’ll have completely transformed your space for the better – while adding serious value along the way!
- Replace Knobs and Door Handles
When it comes to home improvements, even the smallest elements can make a huge difference. This is especially true when it comes to replacing knobs and door handles. An inexpensive and easy fix, replacing old knobs and handles throughout your home can go a far way in making your home look new – while adding some flair in the process. Take into consideration the overall style of your home and then select hardware that compliments the look and feel. Updating handles on kitchen cabinets is a great way to start and give a breath of new life to your kitchen, without the mess and expense of a complete renovation.
- Update Lighting Fixtures
Let there be light! Proper lighting has the ability to create added depth to your rooms, which in turn, makes them look more spacious. Better yet, updating your lighting fixtures can not only make your home look brighter, but also more modern. Check out new lighting options such as smart lighting, recessed lights, or even traditional lighting fixtures like lamps or chandeliers to highlight your space. With more options than ever before, there are plenty of ways to use lighting to instantly accent the rooms in your house – many of them making for great, budget-friendly DIY upgrades!
- Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal
You only get one chance to make a first impression – so what is the impression your home is giving? Curb appeal matters, so it’s worthwhile to enhance your home’s exterior. As a matter of fact, a recent study found that curb appeal can account for as much as 7% of a home’s value2. What’s more, attractive landscaping has the potential to increase your home’s overall value by as much as 28%3. While you may be hesitant to spruce up your landscaping due to the associated costs, there are ways to improve your curb appeal without breaking the bank. Instead of hiring a landscaping company, consider taking on your front yard as your next DIY project. Head to your local home improvement center, greenhouse, or farmers’ market to purchase a few plants and watch your home exterior bloom – literally. To get the most bang for your buck, select perennial plants, which grow back year after year.
- Install Crown Molding
At the top of many remodeling lists (and walls!) is crown molding – and for good reason. By framing a room and adding detail, crown molding makes any room look taller and adds a wow-factor to your home. Plus, installing crown molding can be surprisingly simple, as many of these decorative strips even come already painted. Take a trip to your local home improvement store to see their selection of molding – many stores will cut the molding to your desired size for you. From there, all you need to do is bring it home and attach it to the top of your walls with a nail gun. Whether you’re accentuating your walls for the first time or replacing old trim, crown molding is a great way to transform any room in your house – and can be done in just a weekend!
- Invest in Smart Technology
Perhaps one of the smartest ways to improve your home is by investing in smart technology. From smart thermostats to smart home security systems and doorbell cameras, to smart safety detectors for smoke, carbon monoxide, and radon, and even smart light bulbs –technology can increase your home’s value without the expense and mess of a huge renovation. Better yet, many of the latest innovations in smart home technology were designed with senior homeowners in mind – to help you stay safe and healthy well into retirement years. Learn more on how this technology could help you ‘age in place,’ here.
- Add Circulation with Ceiling Fans
With the ability to help cut down electric costs, the popularity of ceiling fans continues to surge among homeowners. A functional, decorative ceiling fan serves a dual purpose – adding visual interest (and in some cases light) to your room, and creating a cooling breeze that reduces the need for costly air conditioning. Ceiling fans provide electric savings in the winter, too. With the ability to circulate warm air away from the ceiling, you’ll be able to cut back on heating costs.
- Check for Existing Hardwood Floors
One of the most sought-after features in today’s homes is hardwood floors. And while replacing your floors has the potential to quickly become very costly, you may not have to incur a large expense. Many older homes have existing hardwood floors underneath carpet. If this is the case in your home, you can easily restore and refinish the original wood floors to look as good as new. If you’re not sure what is beneath the carpet or flooring in your home, pull up a small corner in an inconspicuous area. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you find!
When it comes to making home upgrades, there are a variety of projects for all price ranges and skill levels. It’s all about making your home your retirement haven – and a place where you can continue to make countless memories with friends and family as you settle into your golden years.
But if you need help funding these improvements or want to make more extensive ‘aging in place’ modifications to your home, there is another solution – a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Also known as a reverse mortgage, a HECM is a loan designed for homeowners over the age of 62 to convert a portion of their home’s equity into cash to use for what matters most.
1Top 5 Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home – Consumer Reports
2The cost of curb appeal? Study says 7%. – News Center – The University of Texas at Arlington (uta.edu)
3How landscaping could add $15,000 or more to the value of your home – OpenAgent