Home Insight - Property Value and Home Price Check
8 Low-Cost Projects that Add Value to Your Home
Written by: Lankarge/Nahorney for Top Producer

Driving around town you will see home additions under construction, along with various lawn signs for roofers, replacement windows, or kitchen remodeling. While these larger projects may increase home value; there are low-cost projects that can also add to the value of your home.

1. Paint the interior. If you haven't painted in 10 years or more, your ceiling is probably looking dull and the colors on your walls are out of style.

New home owners have a tendency to use the same color throughout most of their house. That color is usually white, or another neutral color. You can increase the value of your home by choosing more contemporary colors, oftentimes selecting more vibrant colors for at least a few rooms in your home. Freshly painted ceilings will brighten your home.

2. Refinish the front door. First impressions do mean a lot, and a front door in need of work sets the wrong tone.

Refinishing your front door doesn't usually take much effort. If it is painted, be sure to rough up the surface prior to putting on a new coat of paint. If it is stained, use a very fine grade of sandpaper to ensure the sealer will adhere to the surface.

While you are preparing the door for the finish coat, be sure to check the weather stripping for damage. With soaring energy costs, adding some new weather stripping can quickly pay you back in utility savings.

And regardless whether you are painting or staining, start the job early in the morning so the surface dries before you have to close the door for the evening.

3. Replace your bathroom fan with one that is rated for a bathroom twice the size. Bathrooms are the second most expensive room in the house to remodel. Other than leaking pipes, nothing will cause more damage to your bathroom than too much steam from the shower.

Replacing your bathroom fan with one rated for a bathroom twice your size will quickly remove moisture and protect your bathroom from the ravages of mold.

4. Replace kitchen cabinet hardware. While the kitchen is the most expensive room in the home to remodel, you can spend a little money to make it look fresher. Replacing the kitchen cabinet hardware with self-closing hinges and new knobs or pulls can put a few face on your kitchen - quickly and inexpensively.

5. Replace laminate kitchen countertops. This is the most expensive project on this list, but it can dramatically improve the look of your kitchen - for less than 15 percent of the cost of gutting your kitchen and starting over. Laminates formerly came in just a variety of shades of white, but now are available in all kinds colors and patterns, some of which resemble much more expensive solid surface materials, such as stone or tile.

Another benefit - replacing your laminate kitchen counters can be a one-day job, rather than the 8-12 weeks of disruption you can expect with a complete kitchen remodel.

6. Landscape the front yard. If the bushes are overgrown, the birds are dining on grubs in your lawn, and dandelions are the only flowers in the front yard, perhaps it's time to get out the work gloves and wheel barrel.

Landscaping today doesn't mean the three evergreen bushes on the right and three evergreen bushes on the left - there are dozens of choices of plant materials that can add color and style to your front yard. Stop by your local landscaping center - they'll have dozens of ideas for you.

7. Attack the list of maintenance jobs you have been meaning to get to. Properly maintaining your home means keeping minor jobs minor, rather than letting them get larger, and more costly. Read about some of these maintenance jobs in Home Maintenance - Ignore it at Your Peril.

8. Refinish your hardwood floors. Scratched and worn hardwood floors detract from your home's value, and if left unprotected, you may need to replace them, at a huge cost. Paying a professional to refinish them is a good idea - going a little too far with the sander can leave permanent indentations on your floors. See a list of contractors in your neighborhood. And while you are refinishing your floors, consider staining them for a dramatic, new look.