There is no place like home. It can be a source of pride and comfort, and may also be a source for senior homeowners to access the equity in their homes. With every improvement you make to your home, not only are you enhancing its appearance and/or functionality, you are likely helping to maintain its value as well.
If you are a retiree on a fixed income, maintaining your home’s value may have even greater importance if you plan on using the equity as a source of supplemental retirement income. Many seniors age 62 and older are tapping into a portion of their home’s equity and using the proceeds for emergency and other expenses.
Not all home improvements require the help of a professional. There are many things you can do yourself to spruce up the appearance of your home and maybe even prevent further damage. Here are some simple fixes you may be able do on your own1:
Touch Up Your Home’s Exterior
Take a good look at the outside of your home. What can you do to spiff up its appearance that won’t require a large investment of time and/or money? Brush down cobwebs, wash windows and cut back vegetation from the roof and away from the sides of the house. Add some seasonal plants or decorations to your entrance way. Are there nicks and scratches on your exterior walls that can use touching up?
How about repainting your front door? It may seem like a small change but for the time and money you invest, the impact to your curb appeal can be significant. Paint is a relatively inexpensive material but has the potential for a lot of impact. Choose a color that reflects your tastes and that you’ll enjoy seeing each time you come through the door.
For example, you can choose a sophisticated look or a cheerful hue. Select a contrasting color that really pops with artistic flair and your entry way will stand out among the others in the neighborhood.
Add Plants To Your Garden and Improve Your Lawn
Fall is a very good time to make improvements to your garden. Clean up the remainders of summer by pulling out dying plants, trimming back overgrown bushes, and cleaning up any debris from a busy summer. Make plans to get your trees trimmed in their dormant season to minimize breakage or branches. This is the time of year to plant perennials and garden centers usually have them on sale. Give them time to acclimate to the soil before winter hits; they’ll be ready to grow come spring.
Fall is also the time of year to plant bulbs. Make the effort now and you’ll be rewarded with lovely and colorful blooms in springtime. Intersperse them with winter annuals in decorative pots and you’ll enjoy two seasons in a row of blooms—all from one planting.
Give your lawn a boost this time of year. Reseeding or using fertilizer will help its chances of surviving winter and better ensure gorgeous green grass in spring. Head into winter with a neat and tidy lawn by edging and sprucing up its perimeters this fall.
Patch Cracks In Your Driveway
Cracks in your driveway can give the appearance of a neglected home, and the cracks will only grow with time. Luckily, for just a few dollars at most home improvement stores, you can purchase ready-to-use sealant that comes in a tube for patching cracks. Just apply using a caulking gun and you can seal the cracks and keep them from spreading.
How does your walkway look? Are there cracks you can patch or plants encroaching along the edges that could be a hazard to those passing by? Trimming and touching up can make a big difference to the look of your walkways.
Install Gutter Guards
Installing gutter guards in the fall might save you from some costly problems that could arise in the winter. By protecting your gutters from debris such as leaves, branches and seed pods you can keep the water flowing smoothly and can avoid clogs that may produce run off, resulting in water damage to your roof, siding or even the foundation of your home.
If installing gutter guards is too difficult due to mobility concerns, perhaps you can hire or enlist the help of someone who can clean the gutters for you before the winter rains come. Having tree branches trimmed back from the roof should reduce the amount of debris that gets in your gutters.
Making the effort to improving your home’s appearance, not only improves the look of your house, but you just might find that you enjoy living there even more. Maybe you’ll have a renewed interest in entertaining friends and hosting more family events, as well as just enjoying some quiet time to yourself. There’s something very rewarding about relaxing in your home after putting in extra time sprucing it up.
Small home improvements can help the look of your home, but some of these cosmetic and preventative changes may also increase your home’s value. Even if you are not planning on selling, the increased equity in your home may be valuable if you ever consider a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM). A HECM loan allows you to access a portion of your home’s equity and use the funds to enhance your financial security during retirement. Increased cash flow and no monthly mortgage payments2 may enable you to put funds toward additional home improvements. Use our reverse calculator to learn if you may qualify for a HECM loan. Or for more information call 1 800 976-6211.