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Small Investment, Big Improvement

Don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on home improvement projects this year? That doesn’t mean you can’t still make a big change in your home this year. These quick tips and fixes are great ideas whether you’re putting your house up for sale, putting it on the rental market or just looking for a way to spruce up your living space:

  • Add a new entry door. Spruce up your curb appeal and save energy by upgrading your exterior door. Steel doors, which can mimic many types of wood, typically run for $400 at big-box stores and offer the strongest barrier against intruders.
  • Get organized. Decluttering and maximizing storage space are inexpensive ways to transform a home. Add space to kids’ rooms by installing platform or bunk beds ($400-$600); neaten piles of shoes with shoe organizers ($20), which can do double duty as catch-all organizers in family room closets and kitchen pantries; extend bookshelves to the ceiling, creating storage in otherwise dead space. Especially if you’re considering selling or renting, extra storage space is a huge plus with buyers and renters. Also, by stashing your stuff, you’re making it easier for your potential buyers or tenants to imagine themselves living there.
  • Save with a programmable thermostat. Switching from a manual to a programmable thermostat (less than $500) can save you up to $180 a year in energy costs.  Programmable thermostats allow you a variety of options, including changing the temperature automatically while you’re out of the house or while you’re sleeping. The latest models offer remote programming via the Internet.
  • Replace cabinet hardware. If you’ve got traditional knobs and pulls, try contemporary; change from staid to whimsical. Big-box retailers often have huge selections for budget prices. (10-pack for $20).
  • Update bathroom flooring. Give bathrooms a quick facelift by replacing old tile with vinyl flooring or ceramic tile, which can cost as little as $3 per square foot for material and installation.

Take on little renovation projects to give your home a whole new look, whether for you or for potential buyers and tenants.

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