Upper Cape Living: Easy Home Updates That Won't Break the Bank


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There's still time to get some quick work done around the house before the summer guests start showing up! Whether you're a year-round resident or a summer-only kind of person, you know how the summers get around here. Friends, family and distant relatives all want to show up for a free Cape Cod vacation; "Hotel Real Estate Associates" is booked every weekend through August. By that time, we'll be ready for our vacation! After a rough winter, there are definitely some things we need to get done around the house. We're always making repairs with future home value in mind - and trying to do it on a budget! Even if you're not that handy, there are some easy home repairs and updates that you can make before the summer rush gets here. All of these tips can be done in a weekend, and without putting a serious dent in the wallet.

Touch-Up Painting

Leave the big jobs to the professionals, and do them earlier in the spring. The little ones? Do them yourself! Quick and easy projects like touching up the baseboards, painting a half bath or sprucing up your kitchen accents are well worth the time and the investment. Not only will they look better when the summer rolls around, but they'll add long-term value to your home. One of our favorite tricks is to take all of the knobs and pulls off the kitchen cabinets and drawers, sand them down a bit and spray paint them a new color. You can remove 30 years of grime and trick you guests into thinking you redid the cabinets in a matter of a couple of days. Go with a darker color for a noticeable difference, and to keep your cleaning time down.

Power or Pressure Washing

With the amount of pollen that's fallen from the trees this spring, chances are your deck or patio has gone from brown to yellow and guests have to walk through a yellow cloud to enter your home. Buy a power washing attachment for your hose and spend an hour or two deep-cleaning your outdoor areas - you don't need any fancy chemical solutions, some high pressure water will do the trick to clear the spring leftovers from your deck. If you live in a beach area, we highly recommend getting your entire home power washed every couple of years. The "weathered" look is great, but much of that weathering is actually mold and degradation of your shingles. Regular power washing will lengthen the life of your siding and stop buyers from trying to negotiate thousands off your asking price because they have to replace your siding.

Updating Light Fixtures and Lampshades

This option often overlooked, though is surprisingly inexpensive and results in a massive return once the project is done. Bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms can all benefit from inexpensive updates. Vanity lighting, wall sconces and even some ceiling pendants can be had for under $200. Many of them can be installed without the aid of an electrician. It's an easy way to give a bathroom a mid-decade update without having to repaint or install a new vanity. Check out sites like Houzz or peruse your local hardware store for ideas that are on trend and up-to-date. Changing lampshades is even easier, and cheaper. The results are dramatic. Those ugly, 40 year old lamps in your beach house can be made contemporary and presentable with a simple swap of the shade. No one notices the base of a lamp - the shade is the dominant feature. Often times, this is one of our staging tricks and the results are dramatic and super-inexpensive.

Potted and Hanging Plants

This tip is so easy, we're surprised everyone doesn't do it. This time of year, you can find flowering planters virtually anywhere on Cape Cod. Buy a few and put them around the exterior of your home. Most only require occasional watering to stay alive and beautiful. These planters add so much life to the home, and create a welcoming environment for you and your guests. You can find many gorgeous, hardy plants for under $20 and we highly recommend adding them now, before they're picked over or it gets too hot for them to keep!

Buy a New TV

Buy a new TV? In time for summer? Are you crazy? No! Old TVs are becoming a bigger and bigger turn-off for homebuyers. Obviously, they don't come with the house, but they make showing it that much harder because they're outdated and they sit inside massive, obstructive TV cabinets. Spending $450 on a new, wall-mounted flat screen allows you to ditch one of the biggest pieces of furniture in your living room, freeing up more floor space and making the room feel bigger and more inviting. While we hope you're not spending the entire summer inside streaming Netflix, we do realize that people congregate and spend a lot of time in the living room and it should feel as open, big and comfortable as possible.

Clean Your Outdoor Shower

Outdoor showers are the best. They're as much a part of Cape Cod as clam chowder and lobster rolls. However, if you let them get dirty and grimy, no one is going to want to enjoy them. From our feet to you, please spend a couple of hours on a Saturday morning cleaning your outdoor shower. Mix some environmentally-friendly cleaning solution with some water and go to work with a hose and a sponge. Guests love the showers, and so do homebuyers, provided they don't have to go about replacing anything. Clean the concrete or wood slabs you stand on, wash off the walls and make sure all your knobs and dials are clean.

Did we miss any other spring cleaning tips? Let us know in the comments! 

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Real Estate Associates was established over 40 years ago and specializes in Upper Cape Cod real estate. Our Tradition of Excellence, rooted in local expertise and combined with global reach, has helped us maintain our status as the #1 market leader in Upper Cape Cod Real Estate. Whether you're looking to buy a home, sell a home or rent, visit our website at www.capecodhouses.com, stop by any of our five area offices or give us a call at 1-855-680-0880. We'd be delighted to serve you! Click here to see past Upper Cape Living Columns

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