Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty


When it comes to the time for a tax refund, you may have a lot of big plans for the extra money that you’ll receive back from Uncle Sam. Your mind may swirl with possibilities as to what you might do with the money. One of the best uses for the money is to reinvest it in your home. It can only increase the value of your property, giving you more equity to play with whether you plan to refinance or sell in the future. The money you get back may be enough to do things like buy new appliances or put in a new floor. Below, you’ll find some of the best ideas for how to spend your tax refund money on home improvements. 


Paint


Adding some new paint to your home can do wonders for both the interior or the exterior. See what needs to be done the most and do some cost estimates. You may even be able to hire a professional painter who can get a painting job done fairly quickly without making the huge mess that you might if left to painting on your own.


Add Some Rugs


Adding just a few rugs to the hardwood surfaces around your home may make your home a lot cozier. For one, the surfaces that you walk on with bare feet will be much softer and warmer to the touch. Rugs also add a certain style element to a room that not many other accents can. Be sure that the rug you choose blends well with the color scheme that you desire for your rooms. 


Work On The Outdoors


With your tax refund money, you’ll be able to make some significant improvements to the outdoor spaces of your home. It can never hurt to add a bit of curb appeal to your property by adding bushes, new grass, outdoor lighting, and the like. Even painting your front door can be a simple task that makes a huge difference to the outside of your home. 


Upgrade Your Appliances


Upgrading your appliances can be one of the biggest things that you do to add value to your home. You can start small with items like your range and dishwasher. If you have a bit more money to play with, you may end up servicing and replacing larger items like your hot water heater, HVAC systems, or even adding solar panels. The money that you’ll save on energy efficiency will pay for the appliances over time. Also, if you’re getting ready to sell your home, these upgrades will make a huge difference in the return value that you can get for your home.


When homes go ignored, issues start to develop and once easy to solve problems will become huge, expensive hassles. Every house will develop some item that you'll need to attend to, and there are steps you can take today to minimize or even avoid these problems. Heed the following do-it-yourself tips, and you will keep your house looking great and save money in the long run.

  1. Periodically Inspect Your Roof - Take note of areas where roofing shingles are damaged, loose or missing as well as shingles that are flapping in the blowing wind. These indicators tell you that your roof is in need of immediate repair so your home can maintain its protection from the elements.
  2. Choose roofing tiles that are fire-resistant and tough enough to hold up under the impact of hail. Polymer, slate and shake shingles are your best choices.
  3. Pressure Wash Your House Siding Annually - With time, algae and dirt build up on your house siding, making it appear old, cruddy looking and uncared-for. Wash any dirty areas of your siding with detergents and a pressure washer, taking care to thoroughly clean the areas where a lot of accumulation is present. Avoid using a pressure washer to clean your windows and trim, since the high pressure can easily damage these areas. While you are cleaning the siding, check for any warping, insect damage, buckling or paint cracking that may have developed over the past year. Quickly repair any damage you find.
  4. Check Your Gutters Often - Gutters are designed to direct rainfall away from your house, so keep them clean. Inspect your gutters regularly for any blockage (especially from leaves), cracks or even holes that may be hindering proper drainage. Your gutters should be appropriately sloped and firmly attached to your home as well. To prevent damage, ensure that the water that drains from your rain gutters directs away from your home and any landscaping you have around your house.

As any homeowner knows, when a home goes neglected for long, things will go awry. Don't wait until it's too late to deal with any small problems that develop in and around your home. Again, minor issues that are easy and cheap to fix will likely develop into big problems - ones that are difficult and expensive to fix - so give your home and your pocketbook a break and repair the small issues as soon as you find them.


The presence of a patio in your home can mean lots of convenience for you and your family. There are also many fantastic ways that having a terrace will make your life comfortable, and enhance your lifestyle. Having a patio is way more than having some pots of plants. Here are some ways to make sure that you get the best from this part of your home:

Extra home space

Attaching a patio to your home will make sure it is convenient to use. A patio extends your outdoor floor space without the added expenses of a home extension. Patios can be the perfect spot for outdoor living by adding some furniture like a sofa, table, heating, and lighting to spice things up.

Games, drinks and entertainment area

If you are into board games and cards, you can have a pool table on your patio. Pool tables take quite a lot of space when used indoors, and they fit nicely outdoor. To spice things up, place a bar for drinks and a dart wall carefully fixed on the wall. These pieces will come together to be the perfect setting for a fun evening with family and friends.

Play area for children

For a patio attached to a home, it will have a single wall. You can get creative and fill the other two side with a canopy to keep wind and weather out. If you have small kids that love to play with toys, this can be the perfect spot. Toys that use up a lot of space in the house will be perfect here. If you are thinking of throwing a kid party, a patio is also ideal. You keep the kids contained to limit the area that can be messed up.

Ideal for Outdoor Meals 

If you are a big fan of alfresco meals, your patio will be the perfect spot to enjoy your barbeque. Besides, if you are not are not a big fan of TV, your Patio will give you a nice comfortable place to keep in touch with nature. 

Your patio can be transformed into another dining room, a greenhouse or a spot for sleep out. If you love Jacuzzi, you can install it! If you have a patio, there are many uses for it. It depends on you and how far you want to go. Make the ultimate use of your patio by furnishing and decorating it to your taste. Once you have tweaked the patio to your liking, you can genuinely enjoy and have fun in there.


When it comes to real estate, then the value of your house is everything. While some things that affect its value that you can't influence, such as the location or even the spending power of that market, there are a couple of things that you can take on to significantly raise the value of your home. If you are looking to sell your house sometime in the future, these are not such expensive things that you can start doing now, so that you can get a better deal whenever you are ready to sell.

  1. Make It More Appealing: How does your home look from across the street? Are potential buyers going to want to take a second look? Invest in a fresh coat of paint to make it look appealing. Freshly painted homes have a way of looking attractive to the eye, and that's where the value comes in. You can also look at getting rid of old carpets and long-standing odors and allergens.
  2. Do Some Landscaping: Plant bushes and shade trees around your premises if you can—they help make a place look more desirable, plus you can reduce cooling costs too. If trees look like too much work, get low maintenance shrubs and colorful plants around—make sure you ask for drought resistant ones so that you spend less on water and maintenance. You should also clean up your lawn and any other overgrown bushes you have around your property. If you can't spare the time, hire a lawn service company to do it.
  3. Make It Bigger: It's pretty obvious, the bigger your house, the more valuable it is. You can add a room to it or build a top deck. Buyers always notice things like that. Square footage isn't all that matters, increase the visual footage too, so it looks bigger to the eye. Use blinds to allow light in, since a sunny room looks more substantial. Clear the clutter and all the old junk you don't need any longer too.
  4. Make It More Energy Efficient: An energy efficient home will not only save you money now, but it will also make it more attractive to buyers in the future. Consider using air sealing and insulation improvements, or LED lighting and double-paned windows as they can make it check all the boxes for energy-conscious buyers.

If you’re not sure what will make the most impact on the value of your home, check with your local real estate specialist.


When selling your home, you want to be able to get the largest return for your investment. And buyers are looking for their next place to call home. They are looking for a place that they can see themselves living and creating a future. And oftentimes, it’s very difficult for buyers to look beyond the cosmetics of a home, especially when viewing online. Therefore, if large investments are not in the cards for you or won’t bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!

Let’s take a look at some of the best small home improvements that will certainly provide you with a return.  

1. Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference in a home. It can instantly brighten up a space and make the home look and feel newer—an instant plus for any seller and buyer. But be sure to choose more neutral colors as not everyone will be a fan of bold colors.

2. Adding architectural touches: Architectural features like crown molding and a chair rail can add an elegant upgrade to any home. They can be fairly inexpensive and would only take a weekend to put up.

3. Update front door: Your front door is a large part of your curb appeal. And a home’s curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your home’s exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint won’t do the trick.

4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes don’t have to break the bank to catch a buyer’s eye. And there are so many options from subway tile to mosaic to antique tin.

5. New hardware: Updating the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom can make the world of a difference. Adding modern hardware to cabinet doors will add a refreshing, simple update.

6. Update fixtures: Replacing old, worn down bathroom and kitchen fixtures is a very simple home improvement. Although not the cheapest of these options, they will definitely make a big difference in those rooms.Think of a home built in the 90s that has brass fixtures. The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer. If you update these fixtures to pewter or brushed nickel, you are instantly bringing the spaces into the 21st century and catching the appeal of buyers.

The amount of time, effort, and money that you want to put back into your home is a decision that you alone can make. It may seem silly to put more money into the home you are trying to sell, but it’s quite the opposite. Be smart about your updates and improvements. Try to think like a buyer and make updates that the majority will like and want.