Home Improvements: K-I-S-S (Part 1)

By on 19 April, 2013 in Real Estate, Sandra Nickel with 0 Comments

As 10 p.m. approached last Saturday, I was putting the finishing touches on the fresh paint in our back offices. (Yes, I do our painting. That’s the subject for another post!) As I spotted “misses” and covered them, I found myself wondering how many others in Midtown might be similarly engaged. After all, ‘tis the season for fix-ups!

From that thought, I transitioned mentally to the many and various projects I’ve seen Midtown Montgomerians undertake, both for their own enjoyment and in anticipation of putting their homes on the market for sale. From simple paint jobs to massive additions and renovations, I’ve seen them all. And I’ve also seen the looks of horror on folks’ faces when they’ve learned that their $50,000 kitchen renovation won’t, despite what they might have seen on HGTV, add at least $50,000 to their home value! Sorry, y’all: That only happens with regularity on the “Love It Or List It” show!

So if you’re thinking about investing in home improvement, my advice for you is K-I-S-S: Keep It Simple, Southerners! The simpler the project in terms of time and money, the greater likelihood it will add value not just to your life but also to your bottom line!

Photo by LongitudeLatitude

Dollar for dollar, soap is your best fix-up friend. Yes, plain old ordinary soap. That exterior siding you thought needed a $7,500 paint job may be just fine after a light scrubbing with Dawn detergent and a long-handled brush. Those windows you’ve been thinking about upgrading (and perish the thought if you live in an historic district!) will probably amaze you after an indoor and outdoor washing with white vinegar and newspaper.

Your next best home improvement friend is your lawn equipment. You can add real dazzle to your home — and feel newly proud every day at least twice a day when you leave and return — after edging your walkways, driveway and curb and cutting your shrubbery down to a height that does not dwarf your home. Add some pinestraw and inexpensive annuals in your flower beds and your home will beckon warmly to all who pass by.

My third recommendation has to do with doorways: the front door which through you welcome guests (and prospective buyers if you’re planning to sell) and the doorway(s) that you and your family use daily. If the doorway through which you enter is ratty or dirty, you won’t feel good about the inside, either.

So give that doorway or doorways a fresh coat of paint and be sure to select a color that will add a pick-me-up and make you smile every time you see it. If you live in an historic district, also be sure to pick a pre-approved color or go through the ARB approval process. Finally, add a shiny new mailbox and perhaps a brass kickplate, and you’ll be absolutely amazed at your home’s transformation…as well as your attitude about it!

(Next time: paint and other projects)

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 29 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

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