Selfless Evaluation of Your Home Improvement List

As a Residential Consultant and Remodeling Contractor, I have had the opportunity to visit with homeowners both before the purchase of a new home and after the sale. Setting aside the obvious and immediate repairs that need tended to, many self-educated homeowners have are very selfless when it comes to making Improvements and Renovations to their home. Instead of tackling projects that would make their home more functional for themselves, overwhelming number of clients are more concerned about how others view their investment. With this knowledge, I associated these improvements as areas that can be tackled to further increase appeal for like-minded homeowners.

I would like to begin with the areas that receive the most traffic for visiting family and friends:

1) The Most Traveled area of your home is your front yard, so add some “Curb Appeal”. Anyone frequenting your household will pull up to your home and make the walk toward your entry door. This first impression is a crucial one and could be relatively easy to make a great impact. Start with walkway to the entry door. If you have a traditional sidewalk, add some pavers on either side to create some contrast; If already have set pavers, consider a gentle power wash and scrub to brighten and rejuvenate the stone.

Once the walkway is up to par, Focus on the organics of your yard. Start by removing decaying plants, trimming shrubs and trees to highlight and frame windows and walkways. Next add some new color to match your taste. Big items right now are wild grasses, which may not necessarily add large amounts of color but appeals to most palates. Other simple tasks are removing weeds from the yard and expansion joints on the driveway and sidewalks.

2) Number Two on our list for the selfless homeowner is the Living Room. Whether your guests come over for Thanksgiving Dinner or a casual football game, your living area should be warm, inviting and comfortable. The first improvements I hear from homeowners are Paint Color, Wood Trim Molding and Flooring. Since space is almost never negotiable, Aesthetics is really the option for this area. Paint should be warm, easy on the eyes and one color for both the walls and ceiling. Wood Trim should blend or contrast the color of the walls and compliment any furniture in the room. Crown Molding is almost a must. Flooring is open to personal taste, with a nice heavy carpet or Warm Wood floors with a quality area rug. Colors of carpet or rugs should be a step up/down from the color on the walls.

3) Third on our list is your Kitchen. Although it’s third on our list of the most trafficked room, it is the most common renovation is homes. The most important rules in renovating your kitchen is; Storage, Space and Storage. I rarely speak with a homeowner that has a single un-used drawer or a cabinet not crammed with pots and gadgets. A thorough look at the current layout and design of you space can wield new designs that can create a efficient flow and use of space.

Once the layout is determined next is the cabinet design, hardware and finish. Look at manufactures websites and ask your contractor to provide several options. With my clients, I carry an inventory and catalogs from several manufactures designs to get an idea of their taste. Even if custom cabinets are desired this gives a great reference on where to start. Last, I always recommend under-cabinet lighting for every updated kitchen. It’s easy to install and helps remove dark shadows in the corners of the room.

This brings us to the Countertop choices. This again has almost limitless possibilities of Materials and Finishes. Here are a few options; Granite, Tile, Concrete, Very Hardwoods, Glass and several other Natural Stones. Let your choices reflect your taste and individuality. There are pros and cons to each option, so discuss these with your contractor.

Flooring is the next important choice to make. You can’t go wrong with traditional wood floors but tile can create be just as beautiful and is a very low maintenance option. Options for either of these flooring types are endless, so again have your contractor give you some examples. If it helps a homeowner, I will frequently take them to flooring showrooms to view all the different options.

Appliances are the last update for your kitchen remodel. With manufactures constantly updating technology and efficiency, new appliances can not only compliment your new room but also reduce energy costs. Black, White, Stainless and Wood Faced options are available for Dishwashers, Fridges and Hoods. Obviously these items should all match and reflect the overall theme.

4) Our Forth area that should be on the “selfless” homeowner list is typically the first project on their list. But this isn’t their list, it’s mine. It is first on my “best investment and efficient use of space” list. If your basement is not already finished, you could have an equity boost literally right under you feet. Turn you 3 Bedroom, 1 ½ Bath home into 4 Bedroom, 2 ½ Bath and still have room for an entertainment room, Washroom or whatever suits your lifestyle. With some good planning and a good contractor you can potentially double the livable square footage of your home. There are regulations and codes for transforming this area into living space, so be sure you contractor is familiar with them.

Aside for financial aspects, by partitioning you basement into livable space, relatives from out of town could have their own private living quarters to call home for the weekend. Better yet, create an entertainment room for friends to come over and watch the big game, play pool or have some drinks. Several homeowners go as far as building a second kitchen in the basement to help accommodate large gatherings. Whatever uses you decide for this space, careful planning and design is absolutely paramount.

Most Homeowners submit they desire at least one fireplace in their home but it has become increasing popular to addition a fireplace in there basement. This is a great idea where available, as it can help create function and beautiful aesthetics but it can also help with resale when that time comes. There is tight regulation on the styles and ventilation for fireplaces below the first floor, so be sure to thoroughly discuss this with your contractor.

Well this concludes my list of what projects a homeowner who is concerned about the eyes of others should approach. Please forgive my Grammar and occasional misspellings, as I am not a writer by trade. It has taken me about two hours to write this and it’s another beautiful but cold January morning in Kansas City, Missouri. I just felt I could share the opinions and suggestions I have gathered over the years from experience with several homeowners and homebuyers.