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Home improvements that hike property values

January 21, 2015

How well you maintain your home has a direct impact on the value of your property. Whether you plan to grow old in your house or sell it six months from now, you’re best to invest wisely upfront. That way you have the best of both worlds: a home that’s admired by others and one you can be proud to call yours.

According to mortgage financing experts, homeowners should expect to spend between one and three per cent of the value of their house on overall maintenance and repairs each year. That’s $3,000 to $9,000 a year on a $300,000 home.

As you head outdoors this spring, here are a few more tips for homebuyers and homeowners to help increase your property value and stretch your maintenance and home improvement dollar:

Buy quality at the outset – Paying a little more upfront can pay significant dividends in resale value and reduced maintenance. Many new home buyers are looking for maintenance-free living and brick or stone exteriors are popular options thanks to their curb appeal and lower maintenance costs.
These exteriors never need painting or staining and the colours of the brick and stone look as good in 10 years as it does when it’s new.  Choosing a low maintenance exterior allows you to allocate those precious home-improvement fund dollars to other areas of your house.

Replace with quality – A new roof is a big expense and the quality and life-expectancy of that roof can be seen from the street. Choose the right shingle and the right contractor that can provide the right roofing system.  Ensure your eaves troughs, too, remain in good working order.  Leaking eaves can allow water to seep down against your house and lead to a wet basement.

Along with a new roof, replacement windows and a new driveway are the big expenses in exterior upgrading.  Getting quality windows helps both inside and out, improving the aesthetic quality of the outside of your home while improving energy efficiency and reducing your heating and air-conditioning costs, which will help you save for that new driveway.

Keep it clean and fresh – Are your windowsills and siding dirty? Annual cleaning can help prevent dirt from seeping into cracks and embedding itself.  Cleaning your walkways and driveway will help get rid of the grit and grime that accumulates after winter.

Paint your exterior siding every five to 10 years, say paint contractors. Be sure to touch up your window sills every few years so that they’ll continue to repel water. Painting costs can vary widely depending on the quality of the paint, the preparation required (scraping old paint, filling holes, re-caulking around doors and windows and the amount of trim versus wall space) and the expertise of the painter, so be sure to get a few quotes before you make your decision, or decide to do it yourself.  Many homeowners are going with lighter colours because they tend to reflect the sun and heat better.

Nature is a beautiful thing – Hire a landscape architect or get advice from your local gardening store to help you design and plant a beautiful low-maintenance garden. Slow-growing shrubs and trees, ornamental grasses, colourful perennials and drought-tolerant plants will let you enjoy your garden from your hammock. Make sure to use native plants which naturally require less maintenance. Or, simply try to enhance your yard’s best features. Got a big beautiful blue spruce? Dress it up by placing a bench nearby or changing the curve in your front walkway. Throw in some ambient lighting and you have instant curb appeal.

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