• Melanie Evans

DIY Home Improvement Projects to Maximize Your Waterloo Region Home Value

Updated: May 11, 2021

Whole-house renovations can increase the value of your home, but there are other options for improving your home without going into debt or depleting your savings. Painting, re-grouting tile, and power washing the outside of your home won’t break the bank, but these do-it-yourself home improvements can add significant value to your property.

If you’re ready to sell, a little sweat equity, a DIY attitude, and a few dollars can help you list your home for more money. Even if you aren’t ready to sell your home just yet, you can benefit from having a more attractive living space. Consider the following low-cost, high-value home improvement projects.


Seven Simple Interior Updates

  1. Freshen up the walls

A little elbow grease and a few cans of paint can make a dramatic difference if your walls have scratches and dirty paint, an outdated color, or fading wallpaper. Choose a neutral color scheme that unifies the entire house, makes available space appear more prominent, and appeals to a wide range of potential buyers to increase the value of your Waterloo Region home sale.

  1. Install crown molding

Crown molding is a surprisingly simple task that can give your rooms a unique look. Purchase the molding from a home improvement store, cut it to fit your room’s dimensions (or have the store cut it for you), and use a nail gun to attach it to the top of the wall. It’s possible that these decorative strips will arrive already painted. Crown molding requires some woodworking skills as well as the appropriate tools, but it is a relatively inexpensive DIY project.

  1. Update fixtures

Switch plates, outlet covers, curtain rods, light fixtures, and doorknobs are all items that can be made to look more interesting for a few dollars. Metal switch plates and outlet covers can be purchased for as little as $5 each, but they appear to be much more expensive. Light fixtures and decorative curtain rods can be pricey, but with a can of spray paint, you can make an inexpensive one look elegant. If you plan to sell your home, choose colors and finishes that will appeal to a wide range of people.

  1. Install ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are an attractive addition to any home because they allow you to save money on your electricity bills. Ceiling fans can help you save money on air conditioning by circulating warm air away from the ceiling, and they can also help you save money on heating by circulating warm air away from the ceiling. A basic fan will set you back about $50, and a nice one will set you back a couple of hundred dollars. If you don’t already have wiring from overhead lighting, you’ll likely need to hire a professional, which will drive up the cost of this project significantly.

  1. Improve window treatments

The low-cost vertical plastic blinds, paper shades, or horizontal aluminum blinds that may have come with your home do not add value. Plantation shutters, wooden blinds, or drapes could be used in their place. If you’re selling your home, choose neutral options that will help you get a better price.

  1. Reveal and restore hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are more likely to be hidden beneath carpet in older homes. Squeaky floors indicate the presence of wood flooring. Pull up your carpet in an inconspicuous corner if you’re not sure. If you have wood floors, you may need to refinish them to bring them back to their former glory, but this will be much less expensive than installing new flooring from the ground up.

  1. Clean fireplace brick

If you burn wood in a brick fireplace, some of the brick is likely to be stained with soot and creosote. Make your fireplace as appealing as possible because it can be a significant selling point in a home. Wipe away some of the soot with a damp rag, then clean with a creosote-removal fireplace cleaner. It’ll take some scrubbing with a stiff brush and possibly several applications, but once you’re done, that brick will look fantastic.


Basic Bathroom Upgrades

  1. Redo the bathroom floor

You can save a lot of money by installing it yourself. Look for a class at your local home improvement store if you don’t know how to install flooring. You’ll be able to choose more beautiful flooring than you could otherwise afford because you’ll save money on labor. To add the most value, choose a neutral-colored tile.

  1. Update fixtures

If your bathroom fixtures are generic, inexpensive, or outdated, replacing them with newer, more customized versions can make it sparkle and appear more high-end. You can replace a shabby bathroom vanity or ceiling light fixture with something elegant for about $40 to $100. A new sink faucet will set you back a similar amount of money. For around $80, a spa-style chrome shower head adds a touch of luxury. Towel bars are a relatively inexpensive and simple fix, costing between $20 and $30. An upgrade can sometimes be more energy efficient, improving not only the aesthetics of your home but also “greening” it.


Quick Fixes to Keep the Kitchen Current

  1. Paint or stain kitchen cabinets

You could buy all new cabinets and save money by buying prefabricated (rather than custom) cabinets and installing them yourself, but that will take more time and money than painting or staining your existing cabinets. White cabinets brighten a kitchen, don’t go out of style, and are simple to repaint if a future owner wants something different.

All the hardware from your cabinets, including the doors, must be removed. You should also clean the cabinets first to prevent dirt and greasy residues from ruining your work. Consider sprucing up the cabinets in your bathroom as well.

  1. Upgrade cabinet knobs and drawer handles

It’s amazing how a seemingly innocuous element like a cabinet doorknob can make your kitchen appear shabby or outdated. Whether you redo your cabinets or not, updating this hardware can give your kitchen a new look.


Seven Ways to Save When You Refresh the Exterior


When you spend most of your time inside, it’s easy to overlook your home’s exterior, but it’s the first and, in some cases, only impression that others have of your home. Here are a few easy ways to improve its appearance.

  1. Install a new front door

A basic steel front door costs around $100, but you can get a door with a lot more character and improve the curb appeal of your home for another $100 to $200. If you don’t want to install a new door, a fresh coat of paint in a pleasing hue might suffice.

  1. Replace the front doormat

It’s easy to overlook how worn out or dirty a doormat has become when you’ve had it for years. This is one area where $20 can make a big difference because it’s one of the first impressions people have of your home.

  1. Clean the gutters

This task is more about maintaining rather than increasing the value of your home, but it is necessary. Rain may seep inside or pool around the foundation if your gutters aren’t working properly. This can lead to mould and mildew problems. Water damage can eventually compromise the structural integrity of a home, resulting in costly repairs.

  1. Power wash the exterior of your home

A good pressure washing can make your home’s exterior look almost as good as a fresh coat of paint for less time and money.

  1. Repaint the exterior

Consider a new paint job if washing the exterior of your home didn’t brighten it up as much as you hoped. This may not be a DIY project for everyone due to the ladders and heights involved, but even if you have to hire someone to do it, it’s still a relatively inexpensive home improvement that can make your house look almost new from the outside.

  1. Power wash the driveway, walkways, and patio

You might as well clean your driveway, patio, and any walkways while you’re renting the power washer. You might be surprised at how new they look once they’ve been cleaned.

  1. Upgrade landscaping or clean up existing landscaping

Flowers and other plants are an excellent way to brighten up the exterior of your home. To draw attention to your home, plant greenery in front of it and/or along walkways. Choose perennial plants over annuals to get the most bang for your buck. Perennials come back year after year, whereas annuals only last a year or less. To complete the yard’s new look, fill in any bald spots with fresh sod (or plant grass seed if you have time) and trim existing trees and bushes.


The Bottom Line

Home improvements don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, and they don’t have to involve contractors. A wide range of projects, suitable for all budgets and levels of skill and enthusiasm, can increase the value of your home, whether for future buyers or, perhaps more importantly, for yourself. Whether you plan to stay or sell, implementing a few of these home improvement ideas will help you get the most value out of one of your most valuable assets.


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