There are a lot of great winter home projects to consider when getting your home ready to sell. For larger projects, such as interior renovations, we recommend speaking with a real estate professional in your local market to determine the ROI value of a project: ROI = (profit minus cost) / cost. Smaller DIY winter upgrades and DIY winter routine maintenance are often simple, and inexpensive and will help motivate you to keep improving your home. Here are some basic winter home projects to get the ball rolling.
DIY Winter Upgrades
Paint the Interior Rooms: The wintertime is a great time to paint the interior rooms of your home. You’ll just want to ensure you can ventilate a room properly, as most paints contain chemicals that evaporate into the air. The EPA recommends having plenty of fresh air when painting, reading the safety precautions listed on the product you are using, and to continue ventilation after the room is painted (some paints may require 2-3 days before the air quality returns to an acceptable level). If you can’t ventilate a room properly in the winter, it will be best to wait for warmer weather when you can place a box fan in an open window and have it blowing to the outdoors to maintain good airflow.
We always recommend painting rooms in light neutral colors when staging a home. This will reflect natural and artificial light to better illuminate a room and make it look larger in the process.
Door Hardware: Add a little shimmer or subtle luster to the exterior and interior of your home by installing new door hardware. The price for this nifty upgrade will depend on your choice of hardware and whether you do the work yourself or hire a handyperson.
The cost for most hardware will range from $75-$150 per door. But when factoring in labor the range can increase to $473- $1,641 per door, with the national average coming in at $1,024. Smart locks can be professionally installed for an average of $150-$425 per door. We recommend speaking to your seller’s agent to determine if upgrading to smart locks or upgrading with traditional lock sets would be the best decision for your home (dependent on the local market).
Cabinet Hardware: Replacing the hardware on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers is pretty simple. You can likely handle the task yourself. Sometimes it's wise to call your favorite handyperson, to keep the money flowing and maintain good relationships. The cost of labor can range from $30.69-$45.39 per cabinet (source homewyse.com). Whichever you decide the price of cabinet hardware is an inexpensive and quick little upgrade to your home. Knobs and handles average $2-$20 per unit.
When doing the work yourself, take your time and do it right. If the new hardware doesn’t match up to the existing holes simply cover the holes with putty, mark spots for new holes, drill new holes and install your hardware. You’ll need a little paint, and a light touch with a brush to hide the putty (apply the putty neatly and prepare as instructed before painting).
DIY Winter Routine Maintenance
Smoke Detectors: December and January are peak times for house fires, making winter time the perfect time to replace the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (including backup batteries on hard-wired units).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency of the United States (FEMA) instructs homeowners to inspect their detectors to locate the date of manufacture. Check for the date when replacing your batteries. The unit's expiration date is 10 years after the manufacture date. Be aware of the manufacture date and replace it with new units when necessary. Detectors should be tested monthly for the safety of you and your family.
HVAC Filters: In addition to having your HVAC system serviced by a professional bi-annually (fall and spring) you will need to replace the filters at regular intervals per the manufacturer's instructions. This is usually done every 30-90 days and will take 5-10 minutes to perform.
When working on home projects we find it best to work in 30-60 minute increments and take breaks. With a simple HVAC filter replacement, you have lots of time left on the clock (25-55 minutes). Put it to use. Do some cleaning. You will be happy you did, and then treat yourself accordingly.