During winter months, there are a surprising number of opportunities to improve our homes. Whether or not you plan to sell your house in the near future, there are projects and maintenance items which will increase your home’s market value. Doing them now puts you in a better position to sell when the time comes. And, you have the added benefit of enjoying the improvements too!
Memphis winters often consist of mild, temperate weather punctuated by a few ice or snow storms. So, let’s start with some outdoor projects you can do when the weather is nice. Then, we will consider indoor projects you can do during periods of harsher weather! Using our checklist below, you can improve the investment value of your home this winter.
Outdoor Home Improvement Projects
On milder winter days, you can complete some of these outdoor projects.
Tending Your Gardens
‘Tis the season’ for cleaning! Yes, this means cleaning out landscaped beds while they are free of weeds, cleaning up sticks and debris, and removing dead plants from your flower beds. And, it is a great time to add mulch which not only improves the appearance but also will protect your plants’ roots during the winter.
It is also time to think ahead. Now is the time to plant bulbs for the spring and summer and to plan any upgrades you want to make before spring. You may want to look at fencing, rigid edging for your beds, and an irrigation system that will impact your garden in the future. Maybe you want to add a vegetable bed or two for the spring. Even if you don’t do the projects now, it is a great time to begin planning for the months and year ahead.
Caring For Trees
Winter weather can damage trees, which can, in turn, damage your home and personal property. Trees do not take care of themselves. Have trees inspected every year by an arborist or other professional; and follow their recommendations for proper tree care. Properly maintaining trees not only minimizes the risk of branches damaging your property during snow and ice storms; it also enhances the appearance and property value.
Guarding Your Gutters And Roof
Proper maintenance of your gutters and roof is important to both the outside and inside of your home. They should be free of leaves and other debris whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. This protects your home from the foundation to the top of the roof. An accumulation of leaves in valleys or on low-pitch roofs enables a build-up of moisture, which may cause leaks. When you remove leaves and debris, you want to protect the surface of your roof. You do not want to dislodge the granular material or puncture the roofing material.
You should periodically have your roof inspected for damage and any needed repairs. When Memphis experiences heavy snow or ice, additional debris on roofs can weigh down and potentially harm a home. Also, a professional inspection can prevent internal damage during inclement weather. Visually inspecting the underside of your roof on a rainy day and noting any discoloration or leaking is also beneficial.
A great way to improve your home year-round, especially in long hours of darkness in the winter, is to install decorative landscape lighting. If you have landscape lighting, periodically check to make sure it is all working properly. The presence of exterior lighting can mean added safety too, especially when you arrive home in the dark. For best results, consult with an electrician who is experienced with landscape lighting about maintenance, repairs, and adding additional lights. An automated landscape lighting system is a sound investment for both curb appeal and security.
Maintaining The Exterior Of Your Home
The air quality in your home impacts your health and you want some fresh air added even in winter months. However, cold drafts are neither pleasant nor healthy. So, survey the exterior of your home or have a professional do so. Windows, doors, siding, and masonry should all be checked and repaired as necessary. In addition to good health, this promotes energy efficiency and fiscal responsibility. It saves you money!
Animals also like warm homes in winter and unprotected openings in the exterior components of your home welcome them in. So, seal openings that allow animals to come in, especially near the attic, crawl space, and basement. In the Mid-South, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, and more will enjoy living in your home if you let them. If your home is built on a conventional foundation with a crawl space and underfloor wall vents, you will want to close them for the winter. If you have gable vents in your attic, install barriers to minimize heat loss and intrusion by unwanted animals.
Check external pipes, both outside and in crawl spaces. Insulation should be securely in place. Pipes and faucets should be protected from freezing temperatures. You or your plumber can assess risks and any needed repairs. Outdoor water faucets can be protected with insulated covers during winter months to reduce the likelihood of frozen pipes.
Indoor Home Improvement Projects
Looking indoors, there is so much you can do! Because we spend more time inside during cold weather, now is the perfect time to do indoor projects. Below are a few practical indoor projects to do this winter.
If you have a fireplace, you may enjoy a fire on cold Memphis nights. Fireplaces provide warmth and charm during the winter months. For proper use and safety, the firebox and chimney should be properly cleaned periodically. A professional can inspect, clean, and make repairs from the hearth to the top of the chimney to prevent an out-of-control fire. This also assures you that ash and smoke will not enter your home. If your fireplace has a damper, the professional will make sure it is working properly. If you have fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors, this is a good time to check them for proper performance.
Storage and Organization
You’ve heard about spring cleaning, but what about winter cleaning? Use the time indoors to clean out items you no longer use or need. Sell or donate your things so you can better organize closets, cabinets, and storage spaces.
When you sell, potential buyers will want adequate storage and extra storage space is helpful. Consider installing built-in cabinetry in rooms where they are appropriate, extending cabinets and countertops in the kitchen or laundry, and creating extra storage in your master closet. These upgrades will increase both storage space and the market value of your home.
Heat And Hot Water
Don’t wait until you’re shivering! Having your HVAC inspected can avoid a chilly home later. Have a licensed HVAC contractor check the equipment, and, if appropriate, clean, service, and make any needed repairs. Now is a good time to have your water heater checked so that any issues or maintenance items can be addressed.
Need an indoor activity that the entire family can help with? 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 nearly any style. Grey, beige, and cream colors are good places to start.
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 other indoor projects that can add value to your home:
Adding a decorative backsplash in the kitchen for both durability and style
Adding or refreshing curtains, draperies, blinds, and shades
Replacing light fixtures and/or ceiling fans to more current styles
Reupholstering, refinishing, and replacing furniture
Restyling your interior decor by editing out old accessories and adding new ones
Deep cleaning rugs or carpeting
Repairing and cleaning grout in wall and floor tile
Updating door and cabinet hardware
Washing windows, inside and out for more sparkle and more light
Are there projects you have put off? Use the downtime in winter to prioritize and give your home the extra attention it needs! For many of us, our home is our single greatest investment, so proactively caring for it is good in every possible way.
Winter Maintenance Now = Big Returns Later
Our home is a reflection of our hearts, minds, and souls. Homes are complex and always changing with or without our efforts. Marx-Bensdorf, REALTORS® knows real estate is far more than buying and selling houses.
What homeowners do for their homes between buying and selling impacts both their use of the home while living there and in their future when they sell. We encourage our clients to care for their homes, properly maintaining them and thoughtfully upgrading them over time.
By doing projects incrementally, you can improve your interest in and enjoyment of your home. And, simultaneously, you will improve the overall market value when it is time to sell.
Part of home ownership is taking pride in your personal space, both indoor and outdoor. This shows to all that you have a home you love. So, we encourage you to spend time during the winter months making your home more inviting, safer, and prepared to function properly for the seasons ahead.
If you are unsure how to accomplish this and would like one of our agents to consult with you, please let us know. We will be happy to share our professional knowledge. Are you looking to sell your home soon, but you aren’t sure what projects to take on first? Again, give us a call. We will help guide you through the selling process and will suggest which projects will make the biggest difference in your home’s marketability.