Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions and financial commitments people make in their lifetimes. They buy it with anticipation of an eventual increase in value and tend to invest time and money on improvements with the hopes of seeing returns on them when they sell. But market fluctuations tend to dictate the best time to do that. In 2008, when the housing bubble popped, homeowners were forced to accept low ball offers on their homes or take their homes off the market and wait many years for the market to improve.
We are yet again at that precipice with rising interest rates driving up mortgage and refinance rates. That tends to slow down home sales, force home prices down, and slow home improvements. The Fed is promising two more rate hikes in June alone indicating that the best rates are now behind us.
The drawback of homeownership is that things break. It’s not a tidy investment that sits in a bank or portfolio collecting interest over time. You must repair leaks and other breakages that could lead to further damage down the line. Not all home expenses are investments; they are simply the cost of home ownership.
How do homeowners make valuable improvements to their homes under these circumstances?
You can get a lot of mileage out of some home projects at a low cost that typically won’t require a loan?
- Tile the floor – Although you may have wanted to install wood floor throughout your home, the $20,000 expense may not fit your budget now. At a fraction of the cost, you can choose from a wide variety of wood look tiles that resemble different wood finishes from dark to light, bleached, parquet, or patterned. You can save money by installing the tile yourself. Just be sure you are starting with a level floor and if you’re not, take steps to address it before installing new tile. If the floor is level, you can install new tile directly over the old tile, but you may need to scratch up the surface of the old tile to help it adhere.
- Fresh Paint – A few coats of paint can go a long way to make a room look new, clean and up to date. You can liven up a room with bold color that makes your furniture stand out or work with a neutral to freshen up your existing décor. You can paint a room for less than $100 and if you put down drop cloths and cover up surfaces you don’t want to get paint on, this is a very easy DIY project you can do with family or friends.
- Use Slipcovers – New furniture is so expensive these days now that their price tags include the hefty tariffs. There’s also a very long wait to get your furniture with imports backed up at the ports. Slipcovers give you a quick, easy and inexpensive way to update your furniture and completely change the look of a room without dropping thousands of dollars.
This economic slump will pass, and we will eventually have the leeway to make bigger investments into our homes. In the meantime, the little DIY projects we do can still add value and comfort to enjoy while we wait.