Home Improvements That Add Value

In Chicago, winter is a good time to work on the the best improvements that add value to your home. Another Chicago winter slowly creeps up, and along with it our trademark hibernation. Last month, we reviewed the best time to sell a Chicago home. If you decided winter won’t be the right time for you to list, perhaps it’s time to look ahead to spring or summer.

best chicago improvements that add value

“Before you ever talk to a contractor, think about what you want your product to be.”

For homeowners looking into selling their home next year, it’s probably worth considering how best to position your home to get the most value. This month, it’s our goal to guide you through some of the best Chicago improvements that add value.

Notice we’re focusing on Chicago. This doesn’t mean these improvements don’t carry into other markets. It simply means we’re focusing on the best improvements that can be efficiently completed over the winter. Here’s more about the Chicago home selling process.

Let’s Explore The Best Chicago Improvements That Add Value To Your Home

To ensure we give you the most accurate information, we spoke with Kendall Meyer.

Kendall is president of the Meyer Construction Guild: a Skokie-based specialty carpentry and general contracting firm that services Chicagoland.

As a lifelong carpenter, Kendall had some great insight into the best Chicago improvements that add value.

In order of complexity and cost do these three things to add value to your home:

1. Paint

By far the easiest on our list, a fresh coat of paint goes a long way to changing the face and overall experience of your home. An important thing to keep in mind if you’re tackling this entry of our best Chicago improvements is consult an online color guide.

Kendall says: Before you even get estimates, know a little bit about your goal.

Do some research first into the types of colors you want and where you want them. After that, find a reliable painter that you trust and listen to their advice. Any painter who’s done this long enough knows what colors look like after they dry, after longterm exposure to light, how they blend with each other, etc. Your painter is more of an artist than you may think. Use that knowledge to ensure this is one of the best Chicago improvements that add value.

And don’t forget, your Realtor® can offer valuable tips. For example, here are our top 10 tips for selling your West Loop condo or loft. Many of these tips apply regardless of the neighborhood.

Costs to paint will vary on where you’re located, how many colors you choose, how many coats you’ll need, and other factors. While budget is always a concern, don’t simply choose the cheapest option. Select a painter who will protect non-painted areas and leave clean lines.

2. Crown & Base

One of the best improvements that add value is the simple addition of crown and base to your walls. If you’re not familiar with those terms, they both refer to the decorative pieces of trim that ring your the walls of a given room.

“Crown” refers to the elegant runs of trim that wrap the point where the wall meets the ceiling.

“Base” is the firm accent that covers the opposite side where your wall meets the floor. (Fun fact: “Shoe” is basically the base of the base, adding another touch to the part where your base meets the floor.)

Kendall continues: Crown & base, really any trim, are some of my favorite things to install.

It’s always amazing how simple additions can change the entire feel of a room. Bedrooms, living rooms, dining spaces: all transform when you add these elegant touches. Plus they’re usually easy to price out since you’re basically paying straight material and labor. This makes it easy to budget for, as any good carpenter can give you a solid estimate of their price per linear foot. You just need to know your measurements.

Possibly the most straightforward of our best Chicago improvements to add value, there is one thing to keep in mind when quoting your installation that will ensure longterm longevity of your investment.

Kendall explains: Make sure whoever you decide to use will join your trim using a method called “coping”

In an effort to cut costs, builders will often join trim with straight or even angled cuts, justifying that paint will cover the joint. It will, until the weather changes. Humidity is unavoidable, and straight edges inevitably bulge and warp as a result. Coping is a technique that compensates for this warping. It works by using one wall as a reference point, running a piece of trim the entire length. Any trim perpendicular to this first piece has its edge cut exactly to the shape of the original piece. When completed on the opposite end of the coped piece, the result is a locked in crown or base. This really makes it one of the best Chicago improvements to add value and will last much longer than other types of trim.

3. Bathrooms & Kitchens

They’re last but they’re here. The big guns of the best Chicago improvements that add value.

Though the scale and complexity of these remodels can vary substantially, make no mistake: these two will require planning, time, and a solid budget to complete effectively and efficiently. An absence of any of those three can quickly backfire and make this the opposite of a best Chicago improvement that adds value.

Kendall cautions: I’ve seen a lot of people approach these projects without the proper level of respect.

This seems to be particularly true when it’s ‘just a half bath’. I don’t think the average homeowner realizes all the factors at play when you’re dealing with rooms where the three critical elements meet: electricity, water, and ventilation. I know people are always shocked at the cost that goes into even a ‘minor’ remodel. This is especially true when dealing with plumbing. If you’re trying to move toilets or sinks, you can expect a hefty bill from your plumber and a few days of inconvenience.

With the knowledge that these projects should not be taken on lightly, there are ways to plan and minimize your risk and frustration. Nowadays, the average homeowner has access to all kinds of tools that will make them highly effective GCs in their own right.

Kendall expands: Before you ever reach out to a contractor, spend time thinking about what you want your product to be.

Browse Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz, anything. Let your brain wrap itself around layouts and colors and finishes. Making these decisions early on will save you a ton of money and headache. And ensure you’re creating the best Chicago improvement that adds value.

Similarly, try playing around with apps like “Magic Plan” that let you use your phone or tablet to create a basic blueprint of the area you’re remodeling. Once you start talking to your contractor, you’re going to have a lot more decisions to make. If you already have a game plan in mind, this process will be easier. And, more importantly, less expensive.

So this winter, if you’re planning on tackling any of the best Chicago improvements that add value to your home, or have another one we didn’t discuss you’d like to try. We are available to give you the best tips to add value to your home, contact us.

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