Luis Dominguez, Vice President and Branch Manager, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
Your home may be the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. Regular home improvement projects can help add value and make your home a more comfortable place to live. Your home is likely one of the largest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, and home improvement projects can add value to your investment.
If major home improvement isn’t in your budget this year, here are a few inexpensive tips that may help:
On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, making painting one of the simplest and most cost-effective improvements to add appeal to your home. Review design magazines and Web sites or visit model homes in your area for ideas about how you might add a splash of color or freshen up a room with paint. Identify areas inside and outside of your home that need attention. Then use sand paper to smooth out rough or peeling areas and use spackle to fill holes. You might also reference DIY Web sites for tips to help you prep, paint and clean up.
Simple and inexpensive landscaping projects can create a great first impression. Planting flowers in pots by the front door, along a walkway, or in window boxes is a simple and inexpensive way to add charm to your home. Shade trees planted strategically not only add appeal, but could help lower cooling costs. Contact your utility company for tips on varieties that grow well in your area, as well as where they should be planted to maximize shade and avoid coming into contact with power lines.
Invest in a new front door, or repaint,stain or refinish your existing door. Install a brass kick plate and polish the hardware, or purchase a new door knob and deadbolt. Make sure your visitors can find you by installing inexpensive, yet stylish address numbers available at home improvement stores. Complete the look with a tasteful welcome mat.
Kitchen or bathroom facelift
Even if you can’t afford a full remodel, small changes that freshen up an outdated kitchen or bathroom can have a big impact. For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the faucet, hang new racks or shelves, and add new cabinet pulls and handles. Consider new paint, stain the cabinets, or visit manufactures’ Web sites to purchase new doors at a fraction of the cost of replacing the cabinets. If the countertop looks dingy, consider re-grouting and replacing chipped tiles, or shop for a remnant piece of granite or marble for a new countertop or backsplash.
Interior and exterior lighting not only provide your home with functionality and security, but updating old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones can create an appealing ambiance while lowering energy costs. A simple track lighting kit can be purchased at home improvement stores and allows you to brighten just about any area. Bring architectural details, plants and other objects to life with inexpensive freestanding or clip-on lights. Or simply purchase a new lamp shade or use a little spray paint to give new life to an old chandelier.
If you’re handy with a saw and other tools, adding a chair rail, picture molding, crown molding, or baseboards are inexpensive ways to bring value and beauty to your home. Consider purchasing a few extra yards of molding or trim to make some practice cuts, and be sure to always wear appropriate hearing, eye and respiratory protection when operating power tools.
On a final note, look for construction surplus businesses like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores— nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. To find one in your community, visit www.habitat.org/restores.
The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about home improvement on a limited budget and is not considered financial or tax advice. Please consult your financial or tax advisor.
About MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
Luis Dominguez is a vice president and branch manager of the MUFG Union Bank, N.A., Miracle Mile branch. MUFG Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service bank with offices across the United States. We provide a wide spectrum of corporate, commercial, retail banking and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of customers. The bank also offers an extensive portfolio of value-added solutions for customers, including investment banking, personal trust, capital markets, global treasury management, transaction banking and other services. With assets of $108.8 billion (USD), as of June 30, 2014, the bank has strong capital reserves, credit ratings and capital ratios relative to peer banks. MUFG Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE: MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations with total assets of approximately ¥259 trillion (JPY) or $2.5 trillion (USD)1, as of June 30, 2014. MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, the financial holding company and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. have corporate headquarters in New York City.
1 Exchange rate of USD=¥101.36 (J-GAAP) as of June 30, 2014