Cost Savers and Budgeting Tips

Turning Your Tax Return Into a Home Upgrade

You want to use your tax return money for something that will improve your home. But you're not sure what you can do or what you can afford. Here is a list of some common home improvements that you can use your tax return on and  increase your home's value instantly. 

New kitchen sink

Tax season is here again, and for many of us, it brings a windfall. If you’re expecting to get a chunk of change back from Uncle Sam this year, you probably want to spend it on something that will boost your home’s value and make it more comfortable to live in.

Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive home improvements that can instantly add value to your home. Use this year’s tax return to pay for some of these home improvement ideas and watch your home’s value grow before your eyes.

Tear Out Carpet

More and more homebuyers these days are turned off by wall-to-wall carpeting. Many people feel that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to keep clean, and it can decrease indoor air quality. 

Removing carpeting is one of the easiest DIY projects for the home. All you need to pull up carpeting is a pair of gloves, a face mask for dust and a pair of pliers. Use a claw hammer or pry bar to remove carpet tack strips and nails, and a pair of needle-nosed pliers to pull up padding staples. If you’re lucky, you’ll have beautiful hardwood floors underneath that you can refinish yourself.

Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Like carpeting, popcorn ceilings look dated. You may need to hire a contractor to remove textured ceilings if they contain asbestos, but the use of asbestos in ceiling materials was banned in 1977, so if your ceiling is newer than that, you can DIY this project. Add some architectural interest to your new ceiling with crown moulding, ceiling millwork or box beams.

Landscape

Landscaping can boost your home’s curb appeal, increase your home’s value and even lower your energy bills. Fast-growing or mature trees and shrubs add the most value. Choose native, drought-tolerant plants that don’t require a lot of specialized care and feeding. Buyers will flock to homes with low-maintenance landscaping.

Install Smart Technology

Adding some smart technology to your home will boost its value quickly and relatively painlessly. A smart thermostat can help your family save money on heating and cooling costs, while smart cameras and smoke detectors can keep you all safe. Smart keypad door locks can make forgetting your house keys a thing of the past, and they’re a breeze for house and pet sitters, too. Smart lighting will give your home a more comfortable ambiance and appeal to buyers when it’s time to sell.

Update Bathrooms

Even if you can’t afford to completely renovate your bathroom, small updates can significantly boost your home’s value. Replace an outdated vanity or aging fixtures. Have the floor or walls retiled. Peel off that ancient wallpaper and replace it with a fresh coat of paint instead. Even small changes in the bathroom can make a big difference in your home’s value.

Spruce Up Your Kitchen

The same goes for the kitchen. Most lists of home improvement tips counsel homeowners to focus on updating the kitchen in order to boost home value and appeal to buyers. But you don’t need to tear out your whole kitchen. Grab an instant increase in your home’s resale value by swapping out a stained old sink, refinishing old cabinets, installing a water filtration system or repainting.

Put in Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans make your home more energy efficient. The breeze they create is cooling in the summer, so you can turn the thermostat up a little. Reverse the direction of your fans to push warm air down from the ceiling in the winter and lower heating costs. Ceiling fans can be easy to install, and they are covered under your American Home Shield® Home Warranty.

Add a Tankless Water Heater

Who doesn’t want unlimited hot water? Not only will you never run out of hot water again, but you’ll also save money in the long term because you won’t be paying to keep a 50-gallon tank of water hot 24 hours a day. This eco-friendly update could make your home stand out above the competition when it’s time to sell. 

Upgrade Appliances

New kitchen or laundry appliances can boost your home’s value, and even if you don’t plan to sell anytime soon, it’s worth it to upgrade your ancient refrigerator or microwave for your own comfort. Newer appliances are more energy-efficient, too, which will save you money — and if you decide to stick your old refrigerator out in the garage to store drinks, you can still get it repaired under your American Home Shield Home Warranty. Use our Appliance Discount Program to get more for your money.

Revamp Your Entryway

Your home’s entryway has a huge impact on its curb appeal, so if your front door, porch and entryway fixtures are looking run-down, your house will, too. Spend that tax money on a new front door that complements your home’s architectural design. Pick up a stylish new sconce for your porchlight, a new mailbox and some new house numbers.

When it comes to upgrading your home, you’d be surprised how much a simple, relatively cheap update can boost your home’s comfort and value. Make your tax return money count and invest it in a home improvement project. Your new home upgrade may even be covered for repair or replacement under your American Home Shield Home Warranty. 

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DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Learn more.