Easy Projects to Improve Your Home’s Value

Avolore (sxc.hu)

Save $3,000 and Improve Your Home’s Value

by Doing These Easy Projects Yourself

If you’re a homeowner who likes working outside, consider doing these home-improvement projects yourself. You’ll save at least 50% of what hiring a professional would cost.* These projects require more grunt work than talent and only a small investment in materials and tools. Each of them will improve the value of your property.
Power washing: To keep your house looking its best, consider an annual cleanup with a power washer. You can hire a building cleaning service for $377 to power wash a typical 1,200-square-foot house. Or you can rent a gas-powered washer rated at least at 1,200 psi (which means that it delivers 1,200 pounds per square inch of water) with detergent for $160 and pocket a nice 58% savings. Figure that you’ll spend a solid two days on the job.

Savings: $217.

Gutter cleaning: An important seasonal maintenance chore for every home owner is cleaning and repairing gutters. A handyman will charge $102 to clean and make minor repairs to 200 linear feet of gutters on a one-story house. If you have a sturdy ladder, garden hose, bucket and rubber gloves, you can do the job in two hours for $40 (the cost of some caulk and roofing cement) and save 61%.

Warning: If you have a very high home or uneven terrain, it may be safer to hire a pro.

Savings: $62.

Painting the garage: You’ll pay a painting contractor $307 to spray paint the exterior of a typical one story, two-car garage. You can do the job in a weekend for $100, for the cost of the paint and renting an airless sprayer for a day. That’s a 67% savings. Figure that you’ll spend the better part of the first day prepping the area before you paint.

Savings: $207.

Pruning: A landscape service will prune and groom a small tree and some bushes for $80, but for an investment of $36 (for pruning shears and a lopper), you can do it and save 55% in three hours. You’ll save the full $80 the next time you prune.

Initial savings: $44.

Mulching: You can pay a yard service $324 to lay a four-inch-deep spread of organic mulch in a 300-foot area or buy mulch (30 to 35 bags) yourself for $75. In a day, you can complete the job and save 77%. If you have a vehicle that can haul it, you won’t have to pay extra to have the mulch delivered.

Savings: $249.

Lawn seeding: You can seed a lawn and create a luscious green landscape, but whether or not to do it yourself depends on the condition of your soil. Assuming it is level and free of grass, weeds and rocks, a landscaper will charge $201 to prepare the soil and seed 2,000 square feet. You can buy seed for $50, do it yourself and save 75%. But if rocks, weeds and grass need to be removed, leave it to the pros. In most areas, the best time to seed is late August or early September.

Savings: $151.

Laying a gravel path: Consider laying a gravel path as a walkway or winding path through your garden. The work involves digging and hauling material, but you’ll save 57% by doing it yourself. For a three-foot-wide, 100-foot-long gravel path, a landscape contractor will charge $349 including gravel. It’ll cost you a long day’s work and $150 for the material.

Savings: $199.

Building a patio: This is strenuous labor and time-consuming — it takes about a week to do — but every time you use your new patio, you’ll appreciate your sweat equity. A contractor will charge $2,275 to build a 15-foot-by-20-foot brick patio. You can do it for about half that ($1,100 for the material).

Savings: $1,175.

Building a split-rail fence: A split-rail fence is one of the most attractive ways to enhance your yard and define your property. The most difficult thing is digging the post holes. You can rent a post hole digger for about $80/day, buy a manual digger for $30 to $100 or use a shovel. A fence contractor will charge $1,091 to build a 100-foot-long rail fence. You can do it for $500 (the cost of the material) and save 54%. But fence building is not for the faint of heart — it’s a good three-day project and hard work.

Savings: $591.

*In this article, the costs to hire a professional are based on several of the estimating publications that contractors use to bid on their jobs. The material costs are based on information from major national retailers and manufacturers.

Source:  Katie and Gene Hamilton, creators of www.DIYorNot.com, which was featured in the March 2010 issue of Money as one of “The 20 Best Money Web Sites.” Based in St. Michaels, Maryland, they are authors of 20 home-improvement books, including Home Improvement for Dummies and Fix It and Flip It.
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