For many homeowners, summer is a time to be away from home, whether that’s vacationing with family and friends or just maximizing the time you spend outdoors. But with so many more hours of daylight at your disposal, why not invest some time this summer to make your home everything it can be?
If you’re a first-time homeowner, you may not know where to begin. Never fear: We’ve got some ideas for you!
Since you’re more likely to be outside of your house in the summer months, now’s a great time to make it beautiful. Landscaping projects, outdoor structures like decks and porches, and windows can be a fantastic place to start.
Landscaping is the first outdoor project that comes to mind for many first-time homeowners. It can add value to your home by giving it a boost in curb appeal. It also just looks great to your guests!
According to the national average, landscaping projects can run around $3,000. Though that may sound a little pricey, you could boost your home value by more than 25%, which seems worth it from a fiscal standpoint alone.
If you’re worried about costs and planning, start small with a simple garden and plan for next season’s more major upgrades. If you’re planning to undertake a larger project, hiring a professional to think about the ecology of your yard, the sustainability of what you’d like to do, and how much earth-moving will be required can actually save you money in the long run.
Decks and Porches
Speaking of those guests, how does your decking or porch look? During the other three seasons, a lot of buildup (e.g., pollen, dirt) can occur on these structures. Summer is the perfect time for pressure washing not just those horizontal surfaces, but also any walls on which mold or fungus may be trying to get a foothold. You can rent a pressure washer or hire professionals to knock it out in a day. And if you don’t have a deck, this is certainly the season to consider building one!
New windows can be a huge bonus to homeowners in both hot and cold months. If you bought a house with single-pane windows (i.e., there aren’t two layers of glass to help insulate you from outside temps), you should really think about starting with those windows. This will help you save big on heating and cooling costs. Plus, they’ll just look nicer.
Often, window companies will offer cheap financing. In addition, if you’re only replacing a couple of windows, the costs generally aren’t extravagant. Consult with a pro to be certain, but you may find you don’t even need a permit to complete this task.
Summer is the perfect time to tackle some of those inside projects, too. The warmer weather gives you a ton of flexibility. Barbecue and dine outdoors while you’re renovating that kitchen. Tell your family members to get lost while you work on a DIY project.
Do-it-yourself kitchen renovation either strikes fear or joy into the hearts of homeowners. It needn’t be scary, however. There’s an entire industry supporting DIY kitchen renovation.
That said, if you expect to completely tear down and rebuild your kitchen in a weekend, forget about it. Before getting too ambitious, think of some smaller items to tackle first, like replacing an old stove or repainting the cabinets. Even adding a backsplash above the counters and behind the stove area can be done by thrifty homeowners willing to shop at salvage yards and learn how to apply tiles.
If you’re wanting to go big, like adding an island or ripping out cabinets entirely, it’s a good idea to consult a professional. While this sort of renovation can be one of the most expensive home renovation projects, it also adds tremendous value to your home.
Miscellaneous Household Upgrades
This may also be a good time to focus on repairing any interior elements in your home that have damage, like floors or doors. Are your doorknobs old and unreliable? Would you like to update your outside door locks to new “smart locks” that can be opened with your phone? Often, little problems that you may have missed when you first fell in love with your house become apparent once you move in. Now’s a great time to replace ceiling fans that make noise, or doors that are worn out.
Increasing energy efficiency in your home is a worthy task, so why not tackle it this summer? This can include installing “smart” appliances, like WiFi-enabled power outlets and lights. When you’re on vacation, you can easily set these up to make it look like you’re home. Gone are the days of manually programming a bunch of little plugs!
Perhaps the best tool to reduce energy bills is a new smart thermostat. Look for one that integrates with your smart speaker or preferred phone platform. These thermostats can analyze your behaviors — like when you go to work and come home — and adjust cooling and heating cycles accordingly. That’s good for your wallet and the environment.