Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2001

Put your tax refund to work around the house

April 19, 2001

Courtesy of ARA Content

Spring is finally here, and if you're one of the lucky ones, so is your tax refund. With the extra money in your pocket and sun on your back, it's the perfect time to consider giving your home a makeover.

Each year, every home needs some maintenance, and most folks do at least one major home improvement project per year. In fact, it is estimated that homeowners spent more than $180 billion on home improvements alone in 1998, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Investing in your home is no longer a trend, but a way of life. For most of us, homes are not only where we live, but also our single largest investment.

As an investment, its value in the marketplace is something we seek to preserve and enhance. When considering repair and improvement projects, it's best to consider both.

David Bowen, president of Western Pacific Construction, believes that people should approach their home as an investment and, more importantly, it should be something they can be proud of and enjoy every day. Whatever your intentions for improving and maintaining your home, now is the time to get started.

According to Bowen, the larger projects people typically plan are kitchen remodels, additions, decks, interior and exterior painting, as well as basement refinishes. The smaller jobs range from house cleaning and painting to plumbing and electrical work.

"For larger projects, consulting with a designer or architect can be a great starting point for some creative inspiration," added Bowen.

Whether you are planning a large or small project, spring is a good time to get organized. One approach experts suggest is to start outside and begin at the top of the house and work your way to the bottom. Then move inside and do the same thing.

Outside, inspect your roof for winter damage such as leaks, missing or broken shingles or tiles. Clean gutters and downspouts. Remove storm windows or doors and replace with clean screens. Replace the front door. It can create a dramatic difference in your home's appearance.

For the Inside, install a skylight in your kitchen. This will save electricity by shedding natural light throughout the day. Dust and clean light fixtures and ceiling fans. Paint a few rooms to give your whole house a clean and refreshing feeling.

Although the white-walled appearance remains popular, the current trend across the nation is bold and beautiful. Pick one or two rooms and paint a wall red, raspberry or deep blue.

Refinish your cabinets or install new ones. Oak is popular, affordable and durable. Make sure all doors and windows close and lock properly. Have your air conditioner or evaporative cooler serviced and replace all filters. Have your air ducts and vents professionally cleaned.

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