9 Improvements That Will Sell Your Home

Many of us have seen the homes we purchased years ago decrease in value due to a flailing economy. For anyone who has considered or been in need of selling their home in recent years, it is helpful to have an arsenal of ideas of small home improvements that can increase a home’s value. This could help you retrieve some of the value of your home might be lost otherwise.

Here, we’ll cite nine of those home improvement ideas that can be implemented prior to the sale of your home.

New paint in neutral colors

. If your home was painted before 1978, the paint is likely to contain lead, which in a home inspection can spell trouble.

Regardless of when it was painted, you want prospective homebuyers to come into the home and not be distracted by abnormal or bright colors. Neutral tones are highly recommended by experts.

The ROI?

AOL reports: “According to HomeGain’s‘Prepare to Sell 2009’ national survey, the average price to paint interior walls is $500 to $750, but that increases a home price by an average of $1,500 to $2,000 — which can be a 250 percent return on investment.”

An appliance upgrade.

Many homebuyers now look for not only modern appliances, but also those which are environmentally friendly, which typically translates to cost savings on energy and water bills for the homeowner. Consider an appliance upgrade in both the kitchen and the laundry room, looking for appliances with the Energy Star label.

Staging furniture properly.

Eliminating excessive furniture and knick-knacks, and replacing (or moving to storage) highly personalized and eccentric furniture can really aid in the sale of a home. You want prospective homebuyers to get a sense for how their own furniture could be placed in the home, and to feel as though the home is spacious.

As HowStuffWorks reports, “According to some pros, a staged home can bring in 6 to 20 percent more than the same home without staging.”

Tend to the exterior.

You want the prospective homebuyers hooked from the minute they pull into your driveway. Make sure the outside of the home looks kempt and attractive. A new coat of paint on the outside of the house can go a long way, as can adding exterior window shutters to windows that don’t already have them.

Consider new exterior paint and landscaping to improve your home’s value


According to an article in SFGate, “landscaping can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your property…from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent. That translates into an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.” The article goes on to review the importance of the design. Throwing in some flowers is one thing, but having a sophisticated design in your landscaping is really where the value is added.

Add a bathroom.

RealEstate.com cites that adding “a half bath may add up to 10.5 percent to a home’s value, while a full bath can tack on an additional 20 percent.” Everyone likes their privacy when it comes to bathroom usage, so in most cases you cannot go wrong by putting in additional bathrooms.

Finish that basement.

A finished basement not only adds to the value of a home, but could be considered by homebuyers as a way to bring in additional income.

According to OurMidland.com, many finished basements rent for as much as 75% of the value of a home’s monthly mortgage, making them extremely appealing to homebuyers. Those who have in-laws who may be moving in soon can also appreciate this separate space.

New carpeting

No one wants to buy a home with old carpeting. Old carpeting can trap odors and dirt and give a home a dingy look and feel. Spruce up your home with new carpeting in neutral colors that would appeal to a majority.

Consider replacing older carpets, which can trap odor and dirt and lower a home’s perceived value.

Refinishing hardwood floors

A prospective homebuyer doesn’t want to see dull and scuffed hardwood floors, so try to get those floors refinished prior to putting your home on the market. This can really add to a home’s perceived value in the homebuyer’s eyes.

In short, there really are many small and relatively inexpensive things you can do to your home in order to increase its value. In these trying economic times, these small improvements can really be the difference between feeling as though you lost your shirt in a sale and feeling generally more satisfied with your home’s sale price.

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from digital marketing opportunities to online reputation management strategies for Reputation.com

How to build your dream home

By Scott Humphrey

You’ve been planning out your dream home in your mind for years. You can picture the recycled glass countertops, the window seat in the family room and the French doors that lead from the kitchen to the outdoor patio. You can’t believe it’s finally time to start constructing your dreams. The process of building a house is a long one, though, and there’s tons of planning that goes into it.

Finding an Architect

Unless you’re an architect yourself, you’ll need to hire one as your first step. Chances are, if you’re building your dream home, you won’t want to use a set of blueprints from someone else’s home. An architect will be able to design a one-of-a-kind home for you based on all the big – and little – ideas you have for your home. Your architect will also be able to give you a price quote and advise you on where you should buy your lot.

Choosing Affordable Materials

Have you always dreamed of having granite countertops or hardwood floors, but you’re reaching the limit of your budget? You can have everything you want, including those recycled glass countertops, without exceeding your cost ceiling. Affordable alternatives are made from many of the same materials but cost much less. For example, laminate flooring can look just like hardwood flooring without the high price tag.

Hiring a Project Manager

It’s tempting to save some money by skipping over hiring a project manager and planning everything yourself. However, a project manager will know the ins and outs of things like who you need to contact before you dig a trench for cabling. Not spending money on this integral part of building your dream home can actually cost you twice as much, if not more, down the line.

Use Computer Software to Make Floor Plans

If you need to lay out your dreams but don’t own a drafting table, computer software lets the novice designer create floor plans on their computer. Drag-and-drop tools make it easy to plan out every room in your new house. Plus, you’ll have a more comprehensive way to show your house building team exactly what it is you want.

Decorating Your New Home

The very first room you should start with when decorating your new dream home is the bedroom. Then, you can move outward and start decorating the rest of the rooms. The decoration process can start before those granite countertops are installed in the kitchen or the carpeting is down in the family room. Planning everything from wall paint colors to the types of furniture you want to search for will make it go faster once your home is constructed.

When it comes to planning and building your dream house, there’s a fine line between being patient and waiting too long. Having everything as well planned out as possible is one way to ensure everything goes speedily. Also, make sure to not wait too long to see results.


Scott is a freelance writer for many blogs on a variety of topics includinghome improvement. When he is not writing for GraniteTransformations.com he is hiking in Upstate New York.

18th-Century-Home-In-Sweden18th Century Home In Sweden- All images from here.

Decorating With Bird Prints

Classic bird prints add flair to any room. Use pages from a vintage book for an authentic look. Choose images that have at least one common hue to create the perfect display. Mat illustrations backed with solid-color scrapbook paper in clip-edge frames.- Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

380115361Gustavian Chair – Yellow Upholstery- stadsauktion.se

Swedish Interiors- Judith MillerGilt Wood Chair Judith Miller

Designer Suzanne Kasler Seen In The September/October issue of Veranda

19th century French sofa From Dixon Lane Antiques19th century French sofa From Dixon Lane Antiques

Swedish sbench from the Gustavian period 1790-1810 in its original paint- Old Is New BlogSwedish sbench from the Gustavian period 1790-1810 in its original paint- Old Is New Blog

Gustavian Sofa –Bukowskis

Wonderful-Antique-Upholstered-SetteeOriginal Photo Credit Unknown Dona Mocinhado Brasil Blog

Brick and Stone in Your Home

When you think of brick and stone you usually think about the exterior of your home. Brick used to be one of the most popular ways to build a home because of its sturdiness and insulation qualities. However, a lot of those older homes are now being torn down and replaced by newer models and materials. Reclaim the old brick and stone to use in a myriad of ways in your home. Here are some ideas:

1. Fireplace – A great place to use brick and stone is around a fireplace. You can create a beautiful mantle and more with reclaimed stone. Because it is non-flammable and heat resistant, these materials are perfect for the job.

2. Bathroom – In the bathroom you need material that will not get slippery when it is wet and will not grow bacteria and mold. Natural stone is a great material for the bathroom. From flooring to walls, stone and brick can be used to make a bathroom into a spa like resort.

3. Kitchen – The kitchen is another place where durable and heat resistant materials are needed. Stone and brick back splashes are very stylish, stone floors resist wear and tear, and putting bricks and stone around the stove or oven gives the kitchen a rustic touch.

4. Patio – Decks and patios can always use a weather resistant material. Brick and stone make for great outdoor flooring and mix well with other natural elements.

5. Pathway – A natural stone or brick pathway to your front or back door brings nature home. Not only is this cheaper than cement, it is also much more attractive and natural looking.

6. Exterior – Finally, adding a wall or just touches of brick or stone to your home’s exterior makes it look more expensive and luxurious. Try adding architectural elements like arched doorways in as well for additional aesthetic appeal.

If you can reclaim brick and stone from demolished buildings or other locations then you have an affordable and abundant building material that is well suited for a variety of applications. Just think about what you could create with these durable, natural materials!

Author Byline: Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.


Image: Magpie Vintage

House Beautiful always seems to pick some of the best accessories from month to month, and here are three of my favorites.  If you are needing a punch of color in your home, but having hot pink on the walls isn’t an option… borrow these general design elements for your next creative project.

1.  Combine Bright Colored Material With Natural – Burlap, linen, wool are all beautiful materials to decorate with.  Many of us who love the simple palette and beauty of these natural fabrics.  Why not dress them up with color?   Consider buying double fold edging, or simply iron your own edging for a blanket or a throw pillow.  Sewing pom poms on to your pillows really is an attractive design that adds a punch of color.

2. Remove The Glass From Your Frames, And Replace It With Wood For A Wall Display  We all come across inexpensive picture frames at second hand stores.  Sometimes the appearance of glass frame can be too much for a simple, country home.  Why not measure out plywood and insert it where the glass would normally go?  Line the wood with a colorful felt.  Get some ideas here  “Luxury Touches For Your Drawers- Line Them With Felt”   

You could create a small gallery of frames of family memories.  The 18th and 19th century were known for their pocket sized picture frames.  Collecting those frames can be expensive, so one idea you could consider is buying dollhouse frames. This link features about 40 frames from “Unique Miniatures”, a company that sells quality architectural castings.  Their doll frames would cost you $5 dollars.  Buy a variety, or consider just buying 1 or 2 styles, paint them silver or gold, and you have a unique collection that is both colorful and stylish.  Print of your families favorite memories in black and white and frame them in the doll house frames.

3. Paint Your Natural Baskets With A Splash Of Color– These natural baskets can function anywhere.  From your closet, to your bathroom, they can be used in a variety of settings.  With tape, or a stencil, these baskets can easily add a punch of color into your room.

There are three attractive ways of adding color into an ordinary room that won’t break the bank.