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Tools for home renovationWith the April 15th tax deadline looming, many Americans will expect to receive tax returns later this month. If you’re one of the millions waiting for a return to hit your bank account, you may consider using that money to tackle home improvement projects on your to-do list.

Home renovations can add a fresh look to your space, but don’t focus all of your efforts on the interior. If you are considering a possible move in the future and intend to sell your home, I encourage you to allocate some of your tax return dollars to exterior renovations that improve your home’s curb appeal and attract future buyers.

Before you pull the hammer and nails from your toolbox, I want to share my recommendations for projects that will freshen up your home’s exterior and prepare the house to hit the market.

Mix up modern paint colors
A new coat of paint can alter the overall look of your home and add instant curb appeal.  If committing to the full exterior of your home sounds daunting, consider taking on smaller sections such as the garage door, shutters, front door or porch posts.

The exterior of your home is what buyers will see first, so you want to make sure you select the right color and pay attention to the details. Consider consulting professional painters about the type of paint and the color you choose.

Next, research professional painters and set face-to-face meetings to talk about the project and collect accurate price quotes.

Spruce up the front lawn

When potential buyers walk to the front door of your home, they will notice whether they are walking through a lifeless lawn or a manicured front yard. If you are intending to list your home, begin landscaping projects at least two months out from the time you put the house on the market.

Visit a local greenhouse where you speak with experts that can help you make wise decisions about the plants you choose. When you finally dig into the dirt, keep a chart of the species of plants you place in your yard. You will impress potential buyers if you can give them a rundown of the type of plants used in the landscaping.

Maintain the basics
While fresh paint and florals appeal to the eyes of buyers, do not assume they will look past the basics when touring your home. Buyers will consider the age and quality of items such as windows, HVAC units and water heaters to determine if any need to be replaced, and they will factor that cost into their offer. Get ahead of the game before you sell by upgrading any of these items with more energy-efficient models that enhance the value of the home.

Adding high-efficiency windows not only improves the energy-efficiency of the home, they also improve the overall look inside and out.

HVAC units and old water heaters can also be an outdated eye sores for potential buyers. Since these items require substantial investment to replace, you should consider a few different factors before making your decision. If your HVAC unit or water heater is unreliable or has required repair work within the last 3-4 years, you should lean towards replacing them with newer models. If they have not required maintenance and work well, you can list the home as is, but be prepared to tell interested buyers the age of each appliance when they ask.

The number of home renovation projects you can tackle before selling your home are endless, and choosing which ones to focus on may seem intimidating. Consult a local real estate agent who is familiar with your market and can help you prioritize the projects to focus on that will add value to your home and help you prepare to sell.