Home Renovation Resolutions
Home Renovation Resolutions for the New Year
It’s the new year, and you probably have some resolutions started. Go to the gym more. Eat healthier. Manage your debt better. Be less stressed.
But what about taking care of one of the biggest investments you’ve ever made—your house? With a little time, energy and efficient planning, you can make your home a better place to live, increase its value and save money by the end of the year. Here’s where to start.
Fix the front door
A new front door is one of the easiest ways to boost your curbside appeal. It’s also the most cost-effective home renovation you can do.
If you don’t need to replace your front door, refinish or repaint it. Entry doors take a lot of abuse from the outside elements (including people), and even a new door can start looking weathered rather quick. If you choose to add a fresh coat of paint, use a high-quality paint and a warm, welcoming color that goes well with your home.
Resolve to weatherize
It’s winter, and whether or not temps have dipped to freezing every night where you live, you’ll still feel the cold seep through unprotected gaps when the sun sets. Walk around the inside of your home, feeling for any areas where insulation may be lacking, such as these common problem areas:
- Window perimeters
- Recessed lighting
- Electrical outlets
- Interior-to-exterior piping or vents
- Door perimeters
- Attic doors
- Basement rim joints (where the house frame meets the foundation)
Some of this work may require a contractor, and some of it may be a DIY project. Either way, money and time spent on insulating your house can reduce your heating and cooling bills—and you can use the extra money to hire a new personal trainer and buy superhealthy meals at Whole Foods.
If you’re really committed, you can get a professional energy audit on your house. Depending on where you live, it may even help sell it.
Pick a room and get to work
If you’re a homeowner, you have something about your house you want to change. Narrow down your list and increase the probability of completing the job by picking one room—any room—in the house that you’ve been wanting to update. It might be something as simple as adding new furniture for the bedroom or installing a Jacuzzi bath for the bathroom. Take a picture so you can compare how it looks before and after the job. Like losing weight, it’s a great way to measure results and gain a sense of accomplishment.
If you want to cut down on costs for big renovations, like a new kitchen, start comparison-shopping online for various items such as tile and cabinets and design the layout yourself. Sketch a visual plan and get quotes from contractors, then select the one with whom you feel most comfortable.
Finish the job
Whether you start a new project this year or still have a half-finished bathroom left over from 2014, your biggest renovation resolution of 2015 should be to finish the project.
Completing home improvement projects in a timely fashion can also save you money in the long run. A toilet you bought five years ago that is still in the basement can become outdated and retrospectively overpriced. A spare sink can get knocked over and crack. While there’s nothing wrong with buying items on clearance and saving them for a big overhaul, be realistic. Install everything you buy before the end of the year to avoid unnecessary annoyance.
If you have to finance a large update and need to leverage your mortgage, rates in 2015 are likely to be favorable for those needing to take out a home equity line of credit.