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When home values are soaring, it’s easy to find home-improvement projects that will add value to your home’s bottom line.
But when home values aren’t moving all that much, you have to be much more thoughtful about which home-improvement projects will add the most value for the smallest cost.
The biggest savings is in labor: if you can tackle some of these projects yourself, you’ll be out only the cost of the materials.
Here are some DIY projects that will add value to your home:
DIY Project #1: Painting
Richard loves painting his house. When he first started painting, he wasn’t that good at it. But as time went on, he got better and better. His take: Paint and brushes are relatively cheap. You can afford to get better at painting simply because another gallon of paint is inexpensive.
Here’s a video that offers some great step-by-step tips on painting a room in your house. For tips on choosing the right color, check out the Sherwin-Williams videos.
DIY Project #2: Changing Light Fixtures
You can make your home look very modern by installing some new light fixtures in critical spots.
You can find terrific, but inexpensive, Italian pendant light fixtures at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other home-improvement stores. If you want to make a big splash in a dining room, consider spending money on something that’s a little more glittery.
As long as you turn off the circuit breaker to the fixture you’re rewiring, it should be simple to install a different light fixture and change the look of your room.
Here’s a video that shows you how easy it is to change a light fixture.
DIY Project #3: Changing Light Switches and Plates
If you’re going to change out a light fixture, you might want to install a dimmer switch to add mood lighting to your room.
Lutron makes dimmer switches that work with compact fluorescent lighting and are functional, attractive, and relatively inexpensive. When you install the new switch, consider replacing a scratched-up switch plate with one that is new and better matches the wall paint, wallpaper, or stone surface in the room.
DIY Project #4: Installing New Tile
Painting will give a room the biggest pop, but installing a new tile floor or backsplash can really make a room stand out.
Ceramic tile imprinted with photos of rocks, water, or grass can give a particularly cool effect when used in the right places. The good news is that ceramic tile isn’t that expensive and installing it isn’t all that difficult.
Like all good DIY projects, it just takes some planning. Here’s a video that shows you how to install tile and another one that focuses on grout. (If your tile is fine but your grout is filthy, consider hiring a company just to clean the grout, or use a mix of OxiClean and Stain Solver to lighten your grout.)
These projects are just a few of the hundreds of DIY projects you can do to increase the value of your house over time.
Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate atThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.
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