Eco-Friendly Upgrades That Are Worth the Investment

There are many ways to add eco-friendly upgrades to your home that will help the environment and save you money in the long run. Some require a bigger investment and others are a no brainer. Regardless of whether you start small or jump straight into solar panels, you’ll still reduce energy costs + help out the environment — so it’s a win-win!

Below are four eco-friendly home upgrades that will have a significant impact on your savings.  

1) Appliances

Eco-friendly appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators, conserve more energy and use less water. They’re a little more expensive, but if you’re already installing new appliances, it makes sense to splurge for energy-efficient ones. If all your appliances are still in good shape, there’s no reason to replace them all, but if one dies, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model. If you continue to do this over time, you’ll end up with serious savings.

Eco-friendly Appliances.

2) LED Lighting

LED lighting is perhaps the most affordable eco-friendly upgrade you can make. Unlike appliances, it’s worth it to replace all of your bulbs even if they haven’t burned out yet. An LED light uses approximately 20% of the energy required for an incandescent bulb with the same lighting quality, so switching out your current bulbs will payout in no time at all.

Eco-friendly LED light bulb.

3) Windows

If you’ve been considering upgrading your windows, now is the time to spring for some extra insulation. Cheap or improperly sealed windows can be the reason for out of control energy bills, which makes sense as windows protect your home from the elements. If you’re looking to upgrade, opt for double glazed windows. It will cost more upfront, but proper insulation makes a huge difference.

White window glass.

4) Solar Panels

This is by far the most expensive option, but if you’re serious about making an impact and reducing your home’s energy costs, solar panels are the way to go. This is an upgrade that will pay off over time, so it’s probably not the best idea if you’re planning to move in the near future. Although, when you do decide to move, solar panels can give you a hefty return on investment.

Solar panels on the roof of the house

Instant Value Added Renovations That Won’t Break Your Bank

Whether you’re an investor looking to flip a house for a profit or a homeowner trying to make practical improvements, it’s important to know which renovations actually add value to your property and which ones end up costing you.

If you want to give yourself a big, beautiful new kitchen that you are going to use and love for years to come, go ahead and make it happen. But you should know that it will give you a very low return on your investment (ROI).

A renovation that costs $1,000 and has an ROI of 100% will end up adding $1,000 of value to the property, which means you will break even when you sell. So, if you want to add value to a house, you are going to want to stick to renovations that have an ROI of over 100%.

Here are a few renovations that have such a high ROI, it actually pays to do them.

Adding A New Roof

Buyers want a solid roof over their heads. That’s why adding a new roof was ranked as the number one renovation to add value to a home in the 2017 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors.

Sellers who spent an estimated $7,500 on adding a new roof increased the sale price of a house by $8,150, which means they saw an ROI of 109%. Adding a new roof helps with sales so much that nearly half of the realtors polled suggested owners should do this renovation before trying to sell.

Roof of a residential house showing damage, multiple layers of shingles, missing shingles

Insulation

If buyers keep getting cold feet, it might have something to do with the old insulation in the house. You can fix that by installing loose-fill fiberglass insulation in the attic. This cheap renovation provides an ROI of around 107%, according to Remodeling Magazine.

It can also be a good way to attract and entice potential home buyers that are environmentally conscious or simply want to save on their electricity bills. Adding insulation can save homeowners anywhere between 10% to 50% on their heating and cooling bills, which can make buyers feel like they are making a good investment.

Man installing thermal roof insulation layer – using mineral wool panels. Attic renovation and insulation concept

Painting

You won’t have to pay a dime to paint the interior of your house if you are the one behind the brush, according to a HomeGain survey from 2012. At an average cost of $967, painting interior rooms, removing wallpaper, and covering watermarks, increased the final sale price of a home by $2,001, which means you can recoup 107% of the cost. You can bring the sale price up even more if you paint rooms the right color.

However, painting the exterior of a house does not give you nearly as high of an ROI. Even if you save on labor costs by doing the paint job yourself, you only stand to recoup around half of your expenses. So, it might be better to leave that renovation project to the new owners.

Electrical & Plumbing Repairs

If you know how to repair leaking pipes, fix broken outlets, replace old faucets, or update electrical wiring, you could increase the price of your house by a shocking amount. At an average cost of $808, sellers who DIY’d these repairs could expect to increase the sale price of their home by $3,175, which is an ROI of 293%.

Lawn Care

Getting the grass to be greener on your side of the fence can be one of the most cost-effective renovations of all.

Performing a standard lawn care service has an ROI of 267%, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals. More than half of the realtors polled suggested that sellers should perform lawn care, which includes 6 applications of fertilizer and weed control on a 2,835 square-foot lawn, before trying to sell.

Giving your house curb appeal can also attract new buyers who walk by and see the ‘For Sale’ sign sticking out of the perfectly cut grass.

Two story double car garage with beautiful landscaped front yard – large suburban home.

Remember that these numbers are all averages and estimates, so you are not guaranteed to see the same ROI for your renovation. However, if you are trying to sell a home that’s not on par with the rest of the neighborhood, doing renovations with an ROI of less than 100% can still bring the value of the property closer to the rest of the neighborhood, which can be enough to make the renovation worthwhile.

6 Ways to Make a House Feel Bigger

Are you trying to sell a house that can only be described as “cozy?” Maybe it’s bigger than you think.

With these cheap and easy tips, you can make your little house feel a whole lot bigger, which should make your sale price a little bigger as well.

Add More Light

Natural light is the easiest and best way to make a room feel light and airy. Opening a window essentially brings the outside world in, which, unless your windows face a brick wall, can make a room seem much larger.  

If you don’t have enough natural light, add some lamps to brighten up any dark corners. Your eyes will be drawn to the corners of a room if they are well lit.

bedroom lighting

Use Pale Paint

There’s a reason almost every wall in every house you’ve ever seen has been the same color. White walls reflect light, which makes them seem like they are farther away than they actually are.

But if white is too bland for you, there are a myriad of other pale colors and shades that you can use. In fact, painting a whole room the same shade of white can make it feel flat, which will make it feel small. Try painting the ceiling a lighter shade than the walls to give the room a sense of depth.

Add Some Mirrors

Mirrors can make things appear larger than they are, which is why designers often use them in small rooms. Not only do mirrors reflect light and color, they also add depth to a room. Placing a mirror opposite a window is a good way to increase the amount of light in a room.

Add Some Stripes

Adding stripes can elongate aspects of a room if they are aligned properly. For instance: adding curtains with vertical stripes can make a room seem taller, and adding a rug with stripes that go the length of the room will make it look longer.

Or, if you want to make a bigger fashion statement, you can paint stripes on the walls, ceilings, and even floors. However, you can achieve a similar effect simply by aligning your floorboards or tiles parallel to the longest wall in a room.

White and grey flat interior with striped carpet, corner couch and green plants

Arrange The Furniture

Nothing makes a room feel more cluttered than badly-arranged furniture. It is important to think about what pieces a room actually needs. Figure out where the largest pieces of furniture fit best and then add smaller pieces around them.

Think about where the traffic will flow in a room. Make sure furniture is not blocking any entryways, and allow a lot of room for footpaths through rooms. As a general rule: the more floor you can see, the better.

To directly contradict the last point, pulling the couch away from the wall and adding a narrow gap of 2-4 inches will actually make a room feel larger. Having a space behind the couch creates a shadow that will add depth and make it feel further away from the wall than it actually is.

Use See-Through Furniture

A coffee table normally takes up a lot of real estate in the living room, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Using see-through furniture pieces, such as an acrylic coffee table, a glass desk, or a mesh office chair, gives you all the functionality without feeling like they take up as much space.

Lounge area in luxury apartment show home showing interior design decor furnishing with sea view

You can also trade in your big, bulky leather chairs and couches for ones that have raised legs. The space underneath them will simultaneously create shadows that add depth, and allow more light to bounce around the room.

Also, consider trading your old shower curtain in for a clear one. You’ll probably have to clean your shower more often, but it could easily make your bathroom feel more spacious.




Paint with These Colors and Sell Your House for More

Buyers have a hard time imagining what a house would look like in a different color. So, you’re not doing yourself any favors by painting your living room neon pink (or neon anything for that matter). You might like the color of your house, but it could be scaring potential buyers away.

According to a recent paint color analysis by Zillow, you could increase the sale price of your home for the cost of a can of paint. The online real estate database analyzed more than 135,000 photos from listings across the country that sold since 2010 to find out how homes with certain colors compared to similar homes that were painted white.

Front Door

Painting your front door a charcoal color, specifically a smoky black to a rich jet black, can boost the sale price of a home by 2.9 percent. That means the average house with a black door sold for a staggering $6,271 more than expected.

“For a seller, painting a front door is one of the least expensive home prep projects, but also one that can have a powerful impact on a home’s sale price,” Kerrie Kelly, Zillow home design expert, said.

Grey house exterior with black door and stone wall.

Living Room

Home buyers want their new living room to have a warm, comfortable feeling. That’s why painting your living room a light taupe, specifically a warm tan with pink or peach undertones, could increase the sale price by up to 1.3 percent. On average, light taupe living rooms netted $2,793 more than homes with white or other color walls.

Modern interior of living room with gray sofa, lamp,shelf,coffee table

Bathroom

Homeowners who used neutral colors in the bathroom, like a light blue, specifically a periwinkle blue, increased the sale price of their home by 1.3 percent, which comes out to $2,786 on average. That’s a lot more than the cost of a can of paint!

Light blue velux bathroom with window. View of white antique freestanding bath tub, washbasin stand and toilet

On the other hand, a study conducted by Zillow last year found that homes with bathrooms that were totally painted white sold for $4,035 less than expected.

Kitchen

According to the research, homebuyers are willing to spend more for homes that had a tuxedo kitchen, a style that has light-colored upper cabinets and walls with dark-colored lower cabinets and islands, sold for $1,547 more than expected.

Modern kitchen with white brick tiles and wooden ceiling

“Contrasting colors, especially in kitchens and home exteriors add interest and dimension to a room that plays very well in listing photos and videos,” Kerrie Kelly said.

However, when buyers saw red in the kitchen, they paid $2,310 less than expected. This includes everything from brick red to a lighter shade of raspberry red.

Front view of modern kitchen interior in red color theme.

Exterior

They used to say “If you want to sell her, paint her yellow,” but they would be wrong today. In fact, Zillow’s study showed that all kinds of yellow, from a creamy bright yellow to a warm yellow with brown undertones, can drop the price of the average US home by $3,408. Now that’s an expensive paint job!

Windows of wooden yellow house, decorated with fresh flowers.

Dining Room

It seems like the average buyer doesn’t find brown to be an appetizing color. Homes with brown dining rooms sold for an average of $1,684 less. Buyers didn’t want to eat in dining rooms that were an oat brown or a medium sandy brown or a brown with yellowish undertones.

But homebuyers in Tampa, Florida, were willing to spend an extra 11.8 percent for a dining room that was painted “greige,” or a mix of gray and blue.

“Greige is a non-offensive color, a very natural look, and that’s a key word today,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, told the Los Angeles Times.


Interior design trends change every year, so don’t expect these colors to remain in fashion. However, year after year, homes that are painted in neutral colors tend to command higher prices. So, when in doubt, pick a boring color.

In the end, you want buyers to focus on the space, not the color. If they don’t like it, they can paint it whatever color they want – after they buy it.