The Most Valuable Home Improvement Projects for Cold Weather

After what always seems like an endless summer in the Mid-South, we have finally welcomed the cooler temperatures and beautiful weather that autumn brings. In these final weeks before the hectic holidays and hibernating for winter, there is plenty of opportunity to make smart choices for our homes.

Even if you are not looking to sell your house in the near future, there are still plenty of projects and general maintenance that you can do to improve your home’s overall worth. By keeping up with any issues that arise now, you are better able to sell your home when the time comes.

First, we will start with some outdoor projects that you can tackle while the weather is nice. Then, we will move into some indoor ideas that you can work on all winter long! Follow our checklist below, and you will make a great investment in your home this season.

Outdoor Home Improvement Projects

Before the weather gets too cold, there are some projects you can tackle ahead of time! Taking care of these items now makes you better prepared for the year ahead.

Gardens

‘Tis the season for fall cleaning. Yes, this means raking leaves! As the leaves are falling, it is important to stay ahead or they will pile up quickly. Clean out landscaped beds, clean up sticks and debris, and remove dead plants from your flower beds now. If mulch has become thin, add some to protect your plants’ roots during the winter.

However, when it comes to gardens, you aren’t just cleaning up; you’re also thinking ahead. Now is the time to plant bulbs for the spring and plan out any upgrades you want to take on before the springtime. Perhaps now is the time to look into new additions, such as fencing, rigid edging for your beds, and maybe an irrigation system, that will impact your garden in the future.

Gutters

As mentioned above, the leaves are falling and need to be collected – wherever they land. That means cleaning off your gutters and roof of leaves and other debris is important! Whether you carefully do this yourself or hire some help, keeping your gutters cleaned out before the winter will reduce issues when winter snow and spring rain come along.

You do not want leaves to build up in valleys or on roofs with very low pitches. You also want to protect the surface of your roof when removing leaves and debris. It is important that you do not dislodge the granular material or puncture the roofing material.

Lights

Longer hours of darkness in the winter makes outdoor lighting more important. Check to make sure all of your exterior lights are working properly. You may want to invest in additional outdoor lighting. You may need to consult with an electrician about any problems you are having and about adding additional lights.

To improve safety, curb appeal, and the market value of your home, having automated security and landscape lighting are a sound investment. By installing lighting fixtures outside now, you can enjoy them all winter long.

Cracks

Avoid cold drafts by fixing cracks and holes that appear throughout the home. First, start with windows and doors. Seal up any areas where cold air can get in, and where warm air can escape.

Identify additional cracks that appear outside the home, in brick, siding, or other materials. Especially near the attic or basement, seal up holes that could allow animals to come inside your home. Especially in the Mid-South, squirrels, possums, raccoons, and more can settle into warm areas, like your home, for the winter. If your home is built on a conventional foundation with a crawl space, you can close the under floor outside vents. And if you have gable vents in your attic, you may want to install barriers to minimize the heat loss.

Pipes

For external pipes, either outside or exposed in crawl spaces, have them checked. Insulation should be in place. Pipes and faucets should not be dripping. If in doubt, a plumber can help you assess risks and repairs. Also, outdoor faucets should be protected with insulated covers throughout the winter to reduce the likelihood of pipes bursting.

Roof

Similar to checking and cleaning your gutters, now is the time to have your roof inspected and cleared off. If we have heavy snow or ice this winter, additional debris on your roof can weigh down and harm your home. Also, having someone notice any leaks or holes in your roof now can eliminate further damage during inclement weather. You may benefit from visually inspecting the underside of your roof when rain is falling.

Trees

As mentioned above, winter weather conditions can present many hazards for your home and roof. Now is a good time to have your trees inspected and to determine whether or not worrisome branches or dead portions of trees should be removed. Keeping your trees trimmed prevents any branches landing on your home during winter snow or ice storms, and also keeps your home looking its best.

Indoor Home Improvement Projects

When looking indoors, there is so much you can do! Since most of us move inside during cold weather, the indoor projects tend to pile up. Here are some practical ways to start approaching indoor projects:

Fireplace

If you have a fireplace in your home, you are probably pretty eager to have the first fire of the season! While fireplaces can be cozy and nice, they are troublesome when not properly cleaned. Now is the time to have your fireplace inspected, making sure there is not anything in your chimney or any issues that could cause fire, ash, or smoke to come into your home. If your fireplace has a damper, make sure it is working properly. Additionally, this is a good reminder to check your fire and carbon monoxide detectors for fresh batteries!

Storage and Organization

Who said cleaning has to be limited to spring cleaning? Now that fall is here, you can begin to switch out your clothes, cleaning out items you no longer use or need. Sell or donate your things so you can better organize closets, cabinets, and other storage areas.

One of the most desirable things people seek when home hunting is adequate storage. Whether or not you plan to sell your home soon, we can all agree that extra space is helpful! Install cabinets, clear closets, or add built-in shelving that can increase storage space (and value) in your home.

Heat

Don’t wait until it is too late! Checking your heating system now can avoid a chilly home later. If you are unsure of where to start, have an HVAC technician come check your space and determine if your heating system needs cleaning, servicing, or repairs. Plus, now is a good time to have your water heater checked, and any issues or maintenance items can be addressed now while the weather is still relatively mild.

Paint

Need an indoor activity that the entire family can enjoy? Try some fresh coats of paint. Remember, if selling your home in the future, neutrals are a favorite; not only does neutral paint make a space seem larger, it also allows a potential buyer to picture living in your space more easily. Choose soothing, basic hues that can match anything. Grey, beige, and cream colors are good places to start.

Small Renovations

Are there small projects around the house you have always been meaning to get to, but haven’t taken the time? Let’s take inventory of relatively quick, indoor projects that can add value to your home:

  • Adding a backsplash in the kitchen
  • Changing bathroom tile
  • Painting rooms
  • Adding window treatments
  • Changing out light fixtures and/or fans to more modern, clean options
  • Updating furniture, pillows, or any other reupholstering projects
  • Deep cleaning rugs
  • Changing or cleaning grout in tile
  • Switching out hardware, such as door knobs and cabinet fixtures
  • Washing windows, inside and out, will help you home sparkle more on gray days and dark nights.

Are there other projects you have put off? Use the downtime in winter to prioritize and then complete the extra attention your home needs!

Winter Maintenance Now, Big Returns Later

Marx-Bensdorf, REALTORS knows that there is a lot more that goes into real estate than just buying and selling homes. What homeowners do between the buying and selling process makes a huge impact on their future. That’s why we encourage our clients to take care of their homes, taking time to maintain and upgrade their space over time.

By taking on small projects incrementally, you can improve the overall worth and interest of your home. Part of home ownership is taking pride in your space – both indoor and outdoor – to have a home you love. Spend time during the slower winter months to make your home inviting, safer, and prepared for the seasons ahead.

Are you looking to sell your home soon, but you aren’t sure what projects to take on first? Give us a call. We will help guide you through the selling process, and can point out which projects will make the biggest difference in your home’s ability to sell in today’s market.

Posted by David Tester at 4:14 PM

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