Even for die-hard do-it-yourselfers, the current economic climate can have a major impact on home renovation and improvement plans. With so many of us trying to do more with less, big expenses and dramatic design endeavors are often first to fall off of the priority list.
 
Still, there’s quite a bit you can do to snap up your home during a recovering housing market. Small-scale home renovations and smart repairs are easy to accomplish and will help you maintain your investment while adding comfort as you weather the coming seasons. Spend your time and money in the following categories for great returns.
 
Green Home Improvements
  • Easy Home Renovations that Deliver Big ValueRepair that running, leaking toilet. The parts you’ll need cost only a few dollars, and considering that a leaking toilet can waste as many as 78,000 gallons of water in a year, that investment becomes even tinier.
  • Even better, replace water-wasting bathroom fixtures with water-wise models. High-efficiency toilets (HETs) use up to 60 percent less water than older toilets, WaterSense listed faucets trim water use by over 30 percent without a change in your routine, and the new generation of efficient shower heads offer great performance on up to 40 percent less water than their predecessors.
  • Get more for your heating and cooling dollars by bulking up insulation, sealing leaky ductwork, and weatherstripping windows and doors.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to help maintain indoor comfort and save around $80 in annual energy costs.
  • Swap in compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) for your current incandescents (they’ll last 10 times longer and use about 75 percent less energy), and consider CFL-based light fixtures and dimmer systems if you’re due to make updates to your lighting scheme.
 Simple and easy home renovations
  • Extend a warmer welcome with a new front door and upgraded lockset, and add front porch plantings including beautifully hardy perennials.
  • Pick up a paintbrush to add color to a wall or an entire room with the affordable transformation that paint provides.
  • Enhance your kitchen by installing new countertops made from such green, budget-friendly materials as stainless steel, cast concrete, and solid surfacing and terrazzo composites made from recycled materials.
  • Improve conditions underfoot with a professional, end-of-season carpet cleaning, or rent cleaning equipment for a do-it-yourself solution.
 Tune up
  • Prepare for the coming months spent indoors by cleaning your garage and organizing with new shelving, storage and work surfaces.
  • Improve accessibility for all family members and visitors with such affordable additions as bathroom grab bars, lever handles on interior doors and clutter-free floor space for easy mobility.
  • Further ensure dependable HVAC performance by changing system filters and bringing in a pro for a pre-season check and tune-up of critical components.
  • Keep operations efficient and safe in the laundry room by cleaning out your dryer exhaust duct twice annually.
 In a slower economy, major home improvements may have to take a back seat. But there are plenty of easy home renovations and simple repairs that can maintain and improve the value of your home in the meantime.

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