It doesn’t matter if you’re getting ready to sell your house or getting ready to put it on the rental market; if it’s a lived-in structure that hasn’t been touched up in years, you’re going to want to give it a little bit of attention before showing it off, and that doesn’t just mean slapping a new coat of paint on it. Still, when you’re selling or renting property, it can only be for one reason – to make money – so you have to be careful with how much you spend on remodeling.
If you’ve been a property owner for some time, you probably already know that home improvement projects can very quickly add up. Solving one problem often introduces two more, and before you know it, you’ve spent thousands of dollars and countless hours on what was originally supposed to be a new showerhead. So when you’re trying to boost your property’s appeal, it’s best to pick a few small improvements and stick to them, saving yourself money and stress. These 7 straightforward remodeling ideas should give you some inspiration.
1. Kitchen Backsplash
A backsplash is more or less necessary for a functional kitchen, but many home kitchens lack one. That’s not a huge surprise, since so many people survive entirely on takeout and fast food, but cooking is coming back into fashion among younger people. Millennials, who now make up a sizable portion of home buyers and renters alike, are more interested in cooking than their parents’ generation. And we shouldn’t forget the pandemic, which closed restaurants and forced people to stay indoors, leading many of them to develop a fondness and talent for cooking.
The classic backsplash is made of tile – porcelain, glass, or stone – which is easy to clean and maintain compared to painted drywall, and while tile is probably the ideal backsplash material, it can sometimes be expensive and is usually pretty time-consuming. If tile isn’t for you, there are alternatives, like beadboard, stainless steel, and even wallpaper, which benefit from the ease of installation.
2. New Bathroom Caulk
Some things get better with age, like wine and cheese. Other things get worse. Much, much worse. Caulk is one of those things. Aging caulk looks awful, with a cracking, crumbling, yellowed appearance. More importantly, it becomes less effective with age. As the caulk in your shower or bathtub deteriorates, it allows water to seep into the framing or wallboard, which is never something to celebrate.
Many homes being shown for sale or rent have old, decaying caulk, but laying down some fresh caulk is one of the easiest ways to improve a property and make it more attractive. You can buy caulk at most hardware stores, and you probably already have the tools needed to get the job done, so what are you waiting for? Get caulking!
3. New Front Door
The front door of a house is much more important than many people realize. It’s the first part of a house you interact with, whether you’re a guest or just opening and closing it as you come home from work every day. Front doors either complete the facade of a house, or hinder it. If you’ve done work on your house’s facade, there’s a good chance you haven’t done much about the door.
Installing a new door slab is one of the simplest DIY home improvement procedures you can do. Once you’ve measured your old slab, do some shopping at a reputable, reliable, and ecologically conscious vendor. A new door should be stylistically compatible with its surroundings, so if the outside of your property is modern and sleek, choose something similar for your door. If your property features more classic architecture, stay away from excessively minimalist, future-proof slabs. And, as always, try to find something that features a nice wood grain.
4. Water Filter
After years of trusting and relying on bottled beverage companies for clean drinking water, Americans are catching on: bottled water is a total ripoff and carries horrific consequences for the environment to boot. Younger homeowners and renters are eager to ditch bottled water, having embraced water filtering devices like the Brita pitcher in their day-to-day lives. With that in mind, you can add some serious appeal to your property by installing a permanent water filtration system.
Under-the-sink water filter systems are all the rage, with many considering them a basic necessity for the modern home, with trust in municipal water infrastructure falling in recent years following the Flint, Michigan disaster. A water filtration system won’t cost more than a few hundred dollars, and you can install it yourself with some patience and the instructions close by.
5. Crown Molding
For the right home, crown molding is the missing piece of the puzzle that pulls everything together. Crown molding, along with related trim like baseboards, is a feature typical of the classically styled house. For a contemporary, modern styled pad, it’s probably not a good idea.
Crown molding can be expensive and time-consuming if you’re not a little experienced in carpentry, but it goes a long way toward completing the look and feel of a home’s interior. For those who lack the expertise, patience, or budget for hiring professionals, there are alternatives. Many have turned to polystyrene foam crown molds, which are easier to cut and more forgiving than wood, as well as being cheaper.
6. Garage Organization
The garage is no longer where cars are stored, and hasn’t been for some time. For decades now, the American garage has stood as the de facto workspace, gym, block party home base, model train palace, and whatever else you can think of. A garage, with its concrete floor and lack of domestic pomp, is the perfect place for activities of all kinds. That’s why buyers appreciate a garage that’s outfitted for exactly this purpose.
Shelves, racks, and organizational cabinets for storing tools and equipment will elevate your property’s garage from bare-bones functionality to do-anything capability, letting potential buyers know they won’t have to do the legwork themselves – the garage is ready to go.
7. Solar Panels
Alright, you’re probably thinking, “aren’t solar panels the opposite of budget-friendly and stress-free?” You’re not totally wrong. Installing solar panels, especially roof-mounted solar panels, is quite the task, requiring technical expertise – most often in the form of hired help – and quite a bit of cash. But don’t just assume you’re locked out of the solar world.
It turns out many state governments offer incentives for installing solar, as part of a general push away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. Check with your local and state governments to see if there are incentive programs that can help you get solar installed at your property. And don’t forget about the federal tax credit for solar panels!