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Improve The Value of Your Older Home for Less

Aug 26, 2008
Older homes that have not been consistently taken care of or upgraded are apt to show more wear and tear. But, with an eye for detail and some good old fashioned elbow grease an older home can be vastly improved upon- in terms of appearance and efficiency. There are some key points to focus on with your homes' exterior, interior and of course with the utilities.

In terms of enhancing an older home's curb appeal you can begin with the philosophy of "out with the old". Go on a weed eating binge and remove all nasty weeds, prune back over growing plants and trees and be rid of anything that is dead or on its last legs. This goes for hardscape elements as well. Rusty swing sets, ragged looking fences and old awnings need to be turfed. Once you have arrived at a blank slate, you can then add some newness, and lushness back into your home's landscape.

You don't want empty garden plots- so plot out the easiest and most cost efficient way to fill these. Self-propagating ground cover, like ivy is a good option, so long as you avoid the invasive climbing ivy. Another easy option is to just go with grass or sod. If you're feeling ambitious experiment with a few well placed plants and rock combined with mulch ground cover.

Next you'll want to focus on cleaning the exterior of your home. If the siding on your home is dirty then opt for a good power washing. You can rent a power washer from a local home improvement store. And, while you have this useful tool, go ahead and wash down those patios, porches, and decks. You'll also want to clean out gutters, repair downspouts and ensure that storm windows and screens are clean and in good nick.

Cleaning, maintenance and some updating are necessary to keep your older home in good livable condition. What can really drag down the appearance and general condition of a home is old, un-washed carpets. The good news is that a carpet cleaning company can do wonders to bring an old, musty, stained carpet up to snuff. The other thing to always look for beneath the carpet in older homes is the hidden gem of a hardwood floor. If there is hardwood and it looks in decent condition this may be a better option than trying to salvage the carpeting. There is also the possibility of re-surfacing the wood floor yourself, if you're up for a little project.

In many older homes the window frames, baseboards and doorframes are painted- and the paint is in less than desirable condition. You can add value to your home and improve its appearance greatly by stripping these down to reveal their original glowing, golden wood. This is certainly a DIY job that'll improve your home's aesthetic immensely. This is not a costly project and all that is required is your manpower and dedication alongside some stripping agent, and appropriate safety wear.

Replacing old windows in older homes is sometimes necessary, and is always a smart upgrade. But if this cost is too high, remember it's still important for the well-being of your home to keep them clean and properly sealed. Strip old paint and sand down windows so that they glide smoothly in their frames. You'll also want to caulk around windows to minimize drafts and help keep your home as air tight as possible. All latches and locks should be repaired so that they are in good working order.

The initial expense of an alternate heat/cooling system such as a heat pump, may seem great, but in the long-run you'll save so much in monthly utilities and be doing good for the environment as well.

But, there are other ways to improve the overall efficiency of your home. Have your plumbing snaked yearly to clear debris from pipes. Make sure to clean out dryer vents and replace furnace filters.

Another consideration if you live with hard water is to use a water softener. The buildup from hard water can ruin pipes, washing machines, faucets, dishwashers and sinks in the long run.
About the Author
For the tools and information needed to succeed in the Saint Paul real estate market, look no further. Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com offers valuable information on St.Paul neighborhoods and surrounding communities including info on Highland Park MN homes.
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