by Matt Keating

When most people think about updating their homes, the first thing that comes to mind are the big projects. Remodeling the bathrooms, renovating the kitchen with new cabinets, counters, and appliances, or upgrading the flooring throughout the home. But these updates can be a major undertaking. Phil Hotle, a Realtor with RE/MAX At the Crossing, wants homeowners to know there are affordable updates they can do to their houses, that will also provide a profitable financial return in the future.

“Crown molding is a great idea,” Hotle says. “It makes rooms seem both bigger and taller. It’s an elegant addition to any home. People just need to be careful with their proportions. If your ceiling is nine feet or less, it’s better to go with simpler styles to avoid overwhelming the room.” Hotle also suggests placing a chair railing at one-third the distance of the ceiling height. “A chair railing placed incorrectly can make a room seem out of proportion. Also, don’t forget the trim around entryways, doors and windows.”

Hotle noted that getting new, high-quality fans and updating your paint color scheme also makes a home look better. “If your ceiling fans are old and outdated, new fans, along with a fresh paint job and crown molding, can give your rooms a refreshing update, while saving money,” he says.

Hotle also recommends upgrading your insulation and adding some storage. “Upgrading your insulation is not as sexy as a kitchen remodel, but it doesn’t cost as much either ($65,000 versus $3,000). Plus, you’ll save all year long on your utility bills. It’s a win-win.”

Another idea is to get creative with storage. Hotle added that you don’t have to sell anyone on the value of extra storage and built-in organization. According to Hotle, here are a few ways to think outside the toy box, “Open drywall to create storage cubbies between your wall’s studs; install platform storage that hangs from your garage ceiling; or you can even use your stairs for more storage. One clever person re-purposed an old chest of drawers and created storage within a basement staircase.”

Don’t forget about updating the exterior of you home. “Adding some trees doesn’t instantly pop into your head, when you think of adding value to your home, but trees are moneymakers that get better with age,” Hotle said.

Installing landscape lighting is also an option. “Exterior lighting makes your home shine in the evening, accents features you like most about your home, and keeps burglars away. Installing motion detecting lights can even lower some homeowners’ insurance premiums. Put the lights in a dusk to dawn timer, so you don’t waste energy running them during the day. Choose a warm, white light. It will make your home look and feel welcoming!”

With just a few updates, you can increase your home’s efficiency and your enjoyment of it. And when you are ready to sell, those changes can deliver a solid return. If you would like more information on preparing your home for market, reach out to Phil Hotle at 317-919-8504.