Vol 6 No. 42 - July 12, 2006

Cheap fixes to enhance your home

By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER

Welcome back to cheap fixes. Since everything is relative, "cheap" may not be the most accurate way to describe a few of these tips. Some of them cost real money, some of them cost real time, but all of them are inexpensive relative to a major renovation. The best way to approach it is to pick and choose what’s best for you, and which cheap fix will enhance your home the most.

Here’s one of those not so cheap improvements that can add a lot of money to the value of your home. There were a lot of homes and condos built during the past ten to fifteen years with a den. A den is great space for an office or a child’s playroom or a TV room, but not such good space for another bedroom or even guest room. Why? – no closet. If your den is a true den without a closet, carving out closet space will qualify your two bedroom home as a three bedroom. Building a closet out into the room with framing and sheetrock will give you extensive floor to ceiling storage and closet space.

This may not be a weekend job and you may need professional help, but it’s well worth it.

If you’re planning on selling, it’s a really good idea to have a licensed electrician check out your system for non-working outlets, minor code violations and loose wires. Same thing for the plumbing system, have a professional plumber check for leaks, loose valves and marginal hot water heaters. Minor items that are in good working order will give the perception of a well taken care of home.

There is nothing worse than dirty and worn carpeting, especially if you have pets. If the carpeting is in fairly good condition, don’t replace it since whoever buys your home may want something different Have it professionally cleaned and deodorized by a good contractor. If there are obvious worn spots, strategically placed area rugs will do wonders.

Staging your home to be shown is very important, and one of the most important parts is lighting. Harsh ceiling fixtures, especially florescent, convey a cold hard feel. Warm up the room with new softer lighting with either a an updated chandelier, ceiling

fixture or recessed lighting. Have dimmers installed for better control. Also, if your ceiling fans look like they belong in a John Wayne Western, replacing them will not break the bank. Replacing just the paddles is a real quick fix for even less cost.

Curb appeal is probably the most overused phrase in real estate, but there’s a good reason for that, it’s important. Nice green and mowed lawns, colorful flowers, removing dead shrubs and putting the bikes away goes a long way to giving a good impression.

First impressions count, and your front door and front porch is where that first impression is made. Naturally, peeling paint and soiled furniture and decks have to go. Touch up trim and power wash everything else.

Don’t forget the front door. A new hand and lock set and whimsical door knocker on a freshly painted door could close the deal. And if you believe in the power of Feng Shui and want prosperity to enter your home, paint the front door a red lacquer.

That’s it for cheap fixes, some will work for you some won’t. Enjoy the summer, but don’t put off those home improvement projects too long, I think I saw some Halloween decorations already in the stores.

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