Sprucing up the front door can do wonders for curb appeal.

Annie Schwemmer, Renovation Design Group



Ultimately, a home’s true value is determined by the price someone is willing to pay for it. When deciding whether to remodel a home and how to do it, a big part of that decision rests with what the market wants and what the neighborhood will bear. It is equally as foolish to invest a substantial amount in a remodel that does not boost the home into a better multiple listing services category as it is to over-improve a property to the extent that it no longer has properties of comparable value in the immediate area.

If your house is no longer meeting a family’s needs, it is time to remodel or move. Another possibility is that your house is basically OK but it has been neglected for a while. If you rule out the remodeling option, whether you are staying or going, this is a good time of the year to objectively evaluate your home and the impression it is giving. If you need to step up your game a bit (and most of us do after the long, dark winter months), then there are smaller home improvement projects that will make your house more appealing for potential buyers or more livable and comfortable for you and your family.

Here are four weekend projects that require minimal financial investment but can have a big impact on the impression your home is making.

Landscaping maintenance

Yard work can go a long way in beautifying any house. Even if the inside is gorgeous, a yard that is a jungle of overgrown weeds and out of control shrubs will lower the home’s appeal and value. When potential buyers and neighbors see the outside as neglected, they automatically judge the whole house by that first impression.

In addition, overgrown bushes and shrubs block out natural light and can cause problems with mold, mildew, bugs and rodents. Trees and bushes growing too big and too close to the foundation can actually lead to foundation cracks and settling. Taking control of the yard by pruning the hedges and shrubs, removing trees and bushes that have seen better days, and planting something new this spring can really impact the curb appeal — and therefore the value — of the home.

Front porch

Generally speaking, your front porch is the first contact your home has with visitors. A little elbow grease, deep cleaning, repainting and maintenance goes a long way to ensuring the first impression is a good one. Make sure the front door is clean or freshly painted and the a doorbell is working. It is time to put away the snow shovel and ice melt. Add some flower pots or a cheerful wreath to celebrate spring. Remember, your porch should be a welcoming place for guests and occupants, as well as a hint as to what is to be found inside.

If there isn’t a covered, protected area for your guests, consider adding one. A sheltered, comfortable refuge from foul weather is integral in the welcome factor. Look at your railings, columns, porch light, mail box and welcome mat to see if they are in need of replacing or repainting. Sprucing up the front porch is a fairly easy weekend project for the spring and one with a big visual impact.


Bathrooms are hard-working rooms that need sprucing up now and again. Deep cleaning along with regular maintenance will make the bathroom a better experience for guests and family members alike. Remove rust stains, fix or replace drippy faucets, buy a new toilet, and recaulk the bathtub to give this room new life. Upgrading the light fixtures and adding a new shower curtain and towels can also make a difference.

Regular house maintenance

There is no getting around it: Houses need constant attention just to keep them up to par. If a homeowner neglects regular home maintenance chores, those projects don’t go away; they just get worse and bigger and can in the long run cause serious damage. Fixing the gate and cleaning the gutters aren’t huge jobs, but they will make a difference in how a house functions and looks. Remember that maintenance is always cheaper than replacement. Some jobs are do-it-yourself and some may require the help of a specialist. Attention to the sprinklers and the air conditioner or swamp cooler at this point will assure you of a summer without crises and unexpected bills

Let’s take advantage of the surge of energy that spring brings and focus some effort on our homes to improve them for ourselves, our families, our neighbors or our prospective buyers. It is a win-win whether we stay or go.

Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs. To learn more, visit RenovationDesignGroup.com or contact as*@Re*******************.com.

Weekend projects that can boost home value