You are officially a home owner. Congratulations! Nothing beats the feeling of turning the key and entering your very own home for the first time. And there is nothing more exhilaratingly intoxicating than introducing changes and putting your personal stamp on your new abode.
With your first mortgage payment looming, property taxes due, and moving expenses piling up, you need to use your renovation funds wisely. According to the experts, the best next step is to prioritize home improvements according to your needs, how much time they will take, and whether or not they will yield a financial return.
Nothing beats an easy and expedient fix that produces noticeable results. If overhauling your kitchen or bathroom is beyond your budget, you can still drag them into the twenty-first century by making some small changes. Dan Moyle, the Creative Director of Marketing and Communications at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, tells an “Expert Interview Series on First Time Home Buyers” that changing cabinet hardware, replacing old light fixtures, re-grouting tile, and adding a new faucet, can make a dramatic change to a dated space. No major expenses or long hours of labor required.
Nothing revives a room faster than adding a splash of color. A fresh coat of paint not only enables you to change the personality of a space, but it will also conceal a myriad of imperfections like scratches and nicotine stains. If you have your heart set on wallpaper, but it is not in your budget, try doing just one focal wall. And, painting tired bathroom or kitchen cabinets is much cheaper than having to buy new ones.
While there are many projects that are best left to the pros–electrical zaps into mind–there are some DIY projects that can be tackled on your own. The trick is to know and admit your limitations. When in doubt, attend a workshop at your local building supply store, volunteer on a construction project, or read a stack of DIY books. Plus, as This Old House says, with millennials being less likely to hire a general contractor and more liable to be influenced by a family member than by a pro, you may have a friend that has completed a similar project themselves.
Start with Security
Today’s Homeowner recommends making safety and security your first priority, starting with ensuring that existing locks are re-keyed or changed, quality deadbolts are in place, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed and fully functioning, and that vent fans are correctly installed in the kitchen and bathroom to ensure good air quality. If there is anything in the home that makes you question its safety, have it seen to right away–preferably beforeyou move in.
If you are considering undergoing some renovations in the hopes of increasing the value or saleability of your home, it is important to ensure that you avoid a few money-wasters. If you want a swimming pool because your family loves to swim, great. Go for it. If, however, you are planning on selling your house anytime soon, this is an expense you will want to avoid as it can turn some homebuyers off. Families with small children and people who perceive a pool to be “a lot of work” may be tempted to look elsewhere for their dream home.
The Globe and Mail points out that extensive landscaping and new wall-to-wall carpeting are also bad investments unless they are purely for your own enjoyment. Landscaping increases curb appeal, but it does not increase your home’s price tag. And today’s buyers perceive carpeting–new or not–as something to be torn up and replaced with hardwood.
Before embarking on a campaign of major repairs and renovations, be sure to ask yourself what really needs to be done now and how much can be accomplished within budget. Pick your jobs carefully. And, remember, Rome–and your home–were not built in a day.
What renovations would be your top priority? Why?