5 Affordable Home Upgrades for Your Starter House

Affordable Home Upgrades

Cosmetic changes are your best bet.
Say you’re living in a starter home. You don’t plan on being there forever, but you also aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You’d like to make some home improvements, but you’re worried you won’t get much return on your investment when you’re ready to sell.

While this thinking could be accurate if you’re planning to fully gut and renovate your kitchen, there are plenty of projects that will add enjoyment to your day-to-day living without over-improving your abode. “Think cosmetic changes, not huge overhauls,” says Audrey Loder, showroom director at Wilkinson Supply, a luxury kitchen and bath retailer in Raleigh, NC. These five projects are inexpensive (around $5,000 or less) to implement and will provide you with enjoyment for years to come — or at least until you hang that “for sale” sign in the front yard.

1. Swap out your kitchen countertops

But don’t assume granite is always the best choice. “Granite isn’t as special as it once was because every kitchen has it now,” advises Loder. If the countertops are the only upgrade you’re planning, splurge on recycled glass (around $85 per square foot) for a true wow factor, or for a less expensive but equally stunning option, try quartz (around $60 to $75 per square foot). Stick with neutral colors like white, gray, or “greige,” which will appear clean and bright and won’t turn off potential buyers. If your budget allows, Loder recommends upgrading your backsplash with wide, light-colored subway tiles (think 4-inch-by-16-inch tile) arranged in a unique pattern, such as herringbone.

2. Invest in a free-standing bio-ethanol fireplace

“They add a ton of character without breaking the bank,” says Erin Davis, lead designer at Mosaik Design and Remodeling in Portland, OR. “Free-standing units use piping to vent the smoke out of the home, so it makes for an easier, more cost-effective installation.” Things to keep in mind: Since the heat radiates from all sides, you’ll need at least 36 inches of clearance around the unit. Opt for one that comes with a stand (most do), which will alleviate the need to add noncombustible flooring.

3. Increase your living space with decking

“It’s an affordable extension of your home and a perfect place to entertain guests or relax with your family,” says Thomas O’Rourke of DeckingHero.com, a resource guide to buying and installing decking. And we’re not just talking raised decks either. Decking materials can be used to create patios, outdoor living rooms, and even outdoor kitchens.

4. Add low-voltage outdoor lighting

Think lights along your driveway, walkways, and patio, and uplights on trees. “Doing so creates ambiance in the evening, especially when entertaining, and it will increase the quality of any photos you post of your home when it comes time to sell,” says John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada, a digital home management site. Once you have a lighting system in place, make sure to install timers, which can also deter burglars.

5. Give your exterior a makeover

Have your house exterior and front porch professionally power-washed, upgrade light fixtures (this can be as simple as replacing the bulbs with Edison-style ones, which instantly ups the cool quotient of your current fixture, says Loder), swap out the hardware on your front door, upgrade your mailbox, replace worn-out or broken shutters, and freshen up your landscaping. These simple changes outside will pack a punch without crushing your budget.

NOTE: Content posted above was originally published on www.SouthernLiving.com. You can read original article there.

6. Repair stucco exterior wall

In our efforts to always over deliver to our customers we decided to include another great way update your home and to increase it’s home value.

Stucco plays a huge part in your home’s curb appeal and overall value of the home. So repairing your exterior stucco will do wonders to your home appeal and value.

Stucco is known to be one of the longer lasting exterior siding options. Even though it is true, our Florida climate, temperature changes, ground settling, etc. play huge role in longevity of exterior stucco wall. Like with everything else stucco repair is part of our lives as homeowners or commercial building owners. Exterior stucco repair is necessary to prolong the life of your biggest investment, your home.

Some small stucco repair situations permit for homeowner to get some DIY stucco repair on by watching a stucco repair video or two. Minor stucco repairs like hairline stucco crack repair could be done using stucco repair products that can be purchased in home improvement stores.

We always recommend that advanced stucco repair is done by licensed stucco repair contractors who have experience with stucco repair service.

If your home looks old-fashioned and you need to freshen it up a little, check out our article that tells you how to improve old fashion home exterior.

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