Chances are, you’ve been contemplating some home improvements while you’ve spent more time cooped up indoors.
Whether you want to renovate for your own enjoyment or if you are making improvements in advance of putting your house on the market, read on to find out which spring projects will give you the most bang for your buck—and how to pay for them.
Enhance Your Curb Appeal
The outside of your home is the first thing you—and any prospective buyers—see. Make sure the exterior of your home is in tip-top shape this spring.
- Landscaping. Some parts of California have a challenging climate for gardening afficionados. Select low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants. Water-efficient plants not only look beautiful, but they also help conserve resources and support your area’s biodiversity as well as pollinators like bees and butterflies. Plus, you and any future owners will appreciate the lack of ongoing, time-consuming maintenance.
- Deck staining. A nice deck can transform your outdoor space and provide a gathering place for friends and family. If your deck is looking a little shabby, one easy improvement is to stain it. Stain may also include sealant to protect the wood. To keep your deck in good shape, aim to stain or seal it once a year. This task can easily be tackled in a weekend.
- Roof repair. Your roof is your home’s primary defense against the elements. Even a small problem on the top of your house can cause major damage indoors if water enters your house. Spring is the best time to investigate the source of any leaks. Take a look at your roof from the ground to see if any shingles have been blown out of place or become damaged. Although small repairs can be an easy DIY home improvement project, larger issues are best left to professionals.
Upgrade the Inside
Depending on your budget and goals, indoor upgrades can range from tiny improvements to major renovations. These are some of the most popular:
- Kitchen. The kitchen is usually the focal point of most people’s homes, and as such it deserves extra attention. Consider upgrading your cabinets, countertops, and appliances. Not only will you use them every day, but future buyers will focus on these items when they are house-hunting. Typically, kitchen remodels can boost your home’s value, but the amount of the price increase (and your return on investment) can vary based on your housing market and type of renovation. It’s important to balance function and safety along with aesthetics when making significant changes to your living space.
- Bathroom. Bathroom remodels have one of the highest returns on investment of all home improvement projects. Replacing the tub, tile, toilet, and vanity will transform the space and—even better—you’ll have the opportunity to recoup most of your costs if you eventually sell.
- Minor updates. For those on a smaller budget, don’t despair. A few well-chosen changes can really make a difference to the interior of your home—and your quality of life. For example, a new coat of paint is a cost-effective way to spruce up a room. Updating lighting fixtures and replacing hardware on kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities are also inexpensive ways to make your home look more modern.
Increase Energy Efficiency
If you want to lower your electric bill and decrease your carbon footprint, invest in the following improvements to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
- Siding. Replacing a warped or loose piece of existing siding can be completed in one spring afternoon. If the siding on your house is on the older side, it might be time to update it with a more energy-efficient product that is easy to maintain. Vinyl siding helps insulate your house and is easy to clean with a hose.
- Windows. Replacing old or damaged windows makes your home more attractive and energy-efficient. Make sure your windows are sealed and insulated to keep out wind and rain. New windows will also increase the value of your home.
- Appliances. Household appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, and refrigerators require a significant amount of energy to operate. If your major appliances are over 10 years old, consider upgrading them to an ENERGY STAR-rated model. You may even be able to receive a rebate from your local energy provider.
How to Pay for It
Knowing which upgrades increase home value can help you make better decisions about where to invest your money. When it comes to paying for the materials and any related labor costs, you have various options.
- For smaller projects, you could use cash to pay for purchases as you go, charge it on a credit card1 (make sure you pay it off each month!), or get a low-interest personal loan1 to finance your home improvement projects.
- Larger, more expensive projects can be financed with a home equity line of credit.1 A HELOC allows homeowners to tap into equity in their homes and access funds as needed. Plus, if you use a HELOC for home improvements, the interest payments may be tax-deductible.2
- It’s a good idea to get estimates from three different contractors before proceeding with any major renovations. Don’t just go for the lowest bidder; ask for references and read reviews before you hire anyone. Make sure you clearly define the scope of work and agree on expected timelines before you enter into a contract and start making payments.
Whether you’re dreaming of a new kitchen or an updated bathroom, USE Credit Union can help make your dreams a reality. Connect with us to learn more about our member-friendly financing options.