Home Improvements for $100 or Less

Tip 1: Spend an hour with a pro.

Invite a Realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many Realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area — a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100.

In an hour, a professional can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggestions, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.

Tip 2: Find inspiration.

Want an even cheaper alternative to a professional consultation? Search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and Web sites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple: when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself type projects are best.

Tip 3: Inspect it!

Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Hidden problems like deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems can negatively impact your home’s value. Hire an inspectorto check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. Small problems, like a hidden water leak, can become expensive headaches if you put off repairs. A little investment now can save you loads of cash later.

Tip 4: Paint, paint, paint.

One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvementsof all is a fresh coat of paint. Newly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. Neutral paint colors appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, tape, drop cloths and brushes. So, buy a few gallons and get busy!

Tip 5: Cut energy costs.

If you think your utility bill is a fixed amount, call your local utility company to find out. Many energy providers offer free energy audits of their customers’ homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. A power- and water-saving home will conserve your money now, and is more valuable in the long run. Plus, you can use the money you save for more updates!

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