When the temperature drops, there’s nothing cosier than curling up inside with a roaring fire and a good movie – but the winter months are also ideal for catching up on certain home improvement and maintenance projects, especially if you’re planning on a spring or summer home sale.
“We spend up to 40% more time indoors during winter and, whilst some of that time is certainly best spent with our feet up in front of the fire, that still leaves ample free time which we may as well put to good use,” says Cobus Odendaal, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Johannesburg and Randburg.
“There are many home improvement projects which don’t require you to set a foot outside the house and, in fact, most don’t even require you to crack a window. “Not only will these tasks give your home improvement a fresh feel and make it more enjoyable for you and your family, they will also add value, which is especially important if you plan on selling in the near future.”
* SEAL UP CRACKS AROUND THE HOUSE
Check your home’s walls, windows, doors, vents, and other openings for cracks and wear and tear. All you need is a bit of Polyfilla, waterproof sealant and caulk to not only keep the draughts out but also make it aesthetically more appealing.
* GIVE PANELLING, OR CABINETRY A FRESH COAT OF PAINT
Paint is an inexpensive way to update many features, including old tiles, wooden panelling and older kitchen cupboards. It can make a big difference and it takes very little effort. And, if you use low VOC paints, you don’t even have to open the window – all you need is a fan for circulation.
* ADD A TILE BACKSPLASH IN THE KITCHEN OR A BATHROOM
Backsplashes are one of those small details that can make a big difference and as it’s not a large expanse of tiling, it’s also inexpensive. It’s also relatively simple, especially if you use sheets of tiling as opposed to laying individual tiles.
* REPLACE KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS
New kitchen countertops can give this heavily trafficked room an easy and effective upgrade as well as a big return on investment. Kitchens are the heart of the home and the room that can most sway buyers’ decisions and scuffed countertops will make the whole room look shabbier.
* UPGRADE YOUR LIGHTING
This is another relatively inexpensive upgrade that can make a noticeable difference in your home. Replace dated light fittings with more modern light fixtures and consider wall-mounted lights for a cosier ambience. Check all the lightbulbs and replace blown bulbs, even in unused areas to ensure your home is bright and cheerful, no matter the weather.
* RE-CAULK YOUR BATH AND SHOWER
Like kitchens, bathrooms top most people’s priority list when viewing property and aging, stained or cracked sealant will be off putting to most buyers. Fortunately, caulk is cheap and it’s relatively easy to apply. All you need is an hour or two, a few common tools, materials easily found at any hardware store – and a steady hand.
* REFURBISH YOUR DOORS
We often underestimate the visual impact interior doors can have on a home and it’s easy to overlook scuffs and other damage. Replacing them is an option, however, it’s not always necessary as they can often be refurbished. Options includes painting doors to make them look more expensive or modern, installing decorative door knobs to update them, and even adding moulding to flat doors to create dimension.
* REPLACE DOOR AND CABINET HARDWARE
Replacing hardware such as locksets and door handles is another update that makes a significant difference to the look and feel of a room and it’s a relatively inexpensive project that you can do over time, room by room.
* UPGRADE THE GARAGE
A garage floor free of oil spots and other stains looks impressive and by giving it a fresh coat of paint as well as a sealant, it won’t only look as good as new, it will also prevent future staining and be much easier to clean. And if you have loads of clutter and no storage space, adding wall shelving will not only make the garage tidier, it will also be a selling point.
“It may be winter, but don’t let the chilly temperatures discourage you from getting things done,” says Odendaal. “With fewer outdoor activities available or appealing, it’s a great time to hunker down and tackle those home improvement projects you’ve been thinking about all year.”