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My house is never meant to be my forever home. In truth, I’ve got a
3-year 5-year 8-year plan on this house and will likely be moving onto the next “project” home adventure shortly thereafter. To me, the number one consideration of my home improvement choices is the investment: will this contribute to the home’s overall appeal to a new buyer?
So, rather than spend thousands of dollars on a new kitchen or knocking down walls, I am doing my best to spend my money wisely. A few rules I have come up with in regard to budgeting choices:
First Home Budgeting Tips
Consider the neighborhood.
How much change will this neighborhood see between now and when I plan to sell? The current real estate flop may be a drastic change in a short period of time, but for the most part, I think there is a big difference in a 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year plan for this neighborhood. In ten years, the kind of growth I’ll see may recover a full kitchen renovation, but in three, it may be better to paint my cabinets rather than replace them. And with some of the paint jobs I’ve seen in other kitchens (such as at the Atlanta Home Show), I think it’s more than adequate to make the house more livable without breaking my bank. Not to mention, in a neighborhood where many houses appear to be similarly built, any major additions would stick out pretty badly.
Know the stats.
I’m sticking to a neutral palette with white trim… mostly. Paint is cheap and an easy do-over, but as a previous watcher of House Hunters and a former real estate agent (part-time), I have too-often heard a potential buyer say “I like the house, but lime green/orange/purple? Really?” and then remember it as the “ugly” house they aren’t interested in despite how much more fitting it is for their needs.
But no all-beige either.
“No extremes” doesn’t mean I don’t get to have fun with this house. I still plan to make some drastic changes. I want to remove “dated” and replace it with “fresh,” which means a lot of elbow grease and a lot of new ideas. I want this place to seem open and airy, and to do that, I’ll have to make sure I focus on highlighting the house’s best features: the large kitchen, the windows in the living room and master, etc. Drawing attention to the fireplace requires that it stand out – not blend into the wall, so no head-to-toe monochromatic looks for me.
Beer budget, champagne tastes.
Would I want a new kitchen? Sure. But I don’t have $15,000 I’m ready to part with. All that means is that I have to get a little more creative when it comes to what I want to do with this place. I need to focus on making the cheap look glam, and to do that, simplicity is key. Upgrading some major-ticket items like the stainless steel fridge is a good idea, but a $400 lamp? Not if I can find it for $15 and spray paint it to look new. I’m letting Goodwill be my guide!