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Top 15 Home Improvements, Part 1

By Anessa V. Cohen

There are many lists and articles that give homeowners different ways of preparing a home for resale by doing various projects prior to putting it on the market. The following 15 I came across recently and liked so much, I decided to share them with you, my readers. Due to their length, I am dividing them into three parts, which will be printed over the next three issues of the Five Towns Jewish Times.

1. Landscaping. When done well, landscaping can add to the price you receive for your house as much as 100% of what you put into it. Sod costs about 30–35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000-square-foot yard could cost about $1,500 to sod. Splashes of color at the front of the house are very eye-catching. For maximum impact, choose one color and vary the height of the plants. If your doorway is overwhelmed by greenery, then get out the shears. Replace overgrown shrubbery with flowering foundation plants, mixing heights and colors for dramatic effect. A charming focal point, such as a walkway and fountain, adds major value to your property. Roll a sealant on flagstones for a permanent wet look that enhances the color.

2. Bathrooms. It costs an average of about $10,500 to replace an existing bathroom. You will recoup much more than that on resale, but make sure to pick neutral colors that all people can relate to. If you can pipe a child’s name on a birthday cake, you can recaulk a tub. Scrape out the old caulk or use a caulk softener to help you. Recaulk the tub and then fill the tub with water to stretch the caulk while it dries. If your old tub is the only thing in your bathroom throwing off its fresh look, reglaze it for a like-new finish. Cost: $300–$400. Remove dated wall coverings and apply a fresh coat of paint. Old shower doors can ruin any bathroom. Removing them or replacing them will add the illusion of space.

3. Kitchens. Some minor kitchen remodeling can spruce up even the most worn-looking kitchen, when a total kitchen remodel is out of the question. A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of refacing for cabinets and drawers; a new wall oven, cooktop, sinks, and fixtures; and laminate countertops. If this is not in your budget, consider replacing just the appliances with new stainless-steel replacements to spruce up the kitchen and change the countertops to give the room a newer look. If you have old wood cabinets, consider sanding them down and restaining them. Change the mini-blinds on your kitchen windows. This is inexpensive and looks great.

4. Exterior improvements. The average national cost to replace 1,250 square feet of vinyl siding is $7,250. Siding can make your entire exterior look like new, and its cost will be recouped in any sales price you receive. A gallon of paint covers 400 square feet of house. Paint color cards take the guesswork out of choosing the right color combinations for doors, trim, and siding. Give a bare, charmless porch a dramatic makeover by adding a pergola and columns.

5. Attic. Add insulation in your attic to lower your utility bills. Just make sure the soil vapor barrier is installed down toward the ceiling to prevent moisture from seeping in. A solar-powered attic fan is a superefficient way to save on cooling your house. The attic fan exhausts heat from the top of your home and is powered by a solar cell on the roof, so it doesn’t add a cent to your utility bill. If solar is not an option, installing a regular attic fan should still be considered, since it lowers the temperature by pulling the heat out of your attic and keeping your house cooler.

Please stay posted over the next two weeks for a continuation of our home improvement tips. v

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to

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Posted by on August 30, 2013. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.