10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value

10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value

10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Home's Value

If you’ve spent even five minutes watching home improvement shows, then you already know that a home’s appearance or its curb appeal is a big deal.

Some estimates suggest that homeowners can receive a return on investment of well over 150 percent when they put money into their home’s curb appeal, although it’s hard to put an exact number on it because curb appeal can be somewhat subjective. Check out the topics this article will cover:

10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value

Top 10 Home Improvements

If you’re on a budget — and who isn’t these days — you want the best home improvements to increase value without emptying your wallet in the process. Curb appeal on a budget is possible if you know what you’re doing. Sprucing up your home’s exterior is one of the less expensive home improvements you can make. Here’s how to start:

1. Give Your House a Good Wash

Don’t underestimate the power of a clean exterior. Washing your house from top to bottom will uncover the beauty that’s been caked in dirt. Whether you use soapy water and a long-handled brush or you hire a power washing company to tackle the job, going over the siding, garage door, windows, shutters, front door and walkways will uncover your home’s beauty, as well as help you evaluate what areas may need more help. Washing your house before it goes on the market can add as much as $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale price.

2. Spruce up Your Landscape

You don’t need to have a green thumb to trim bushes and mow the grass. Once those basics are out of the way, take a look around. Tackle bare spots in the lawn with some fertilizer and grass seed. Get rid of sickly or dead bushes and plants that are taking up space in the yard. If your flower beds need some TLC, consider adding in some flowers or hearty, drought-resistant plants for an eye-catching look that won’t break the bank or require a lot of maintenance.

3. Give Your Entry a Makeover

Tackling your home’s entrance is a great way to pump some life back into your exterior. Clean and polish locks and hardware. Want to add some fresh accents? Consider painting the front door, replacing your old welcome mat, the house numbers or even your porch light with newer options. If you can’t spend much money, hang a wreath on the door and add some potted plants.

4. Replace Your Front Door

Yes, it’s easy to add a coat of paint, but if your front door is old or warped, it may be time to replace it altogether. This will enhance your home’s curb appeal and can also improve your home’s security and energy efficiency — two features that will impress potential buyers who come through that door.

5. Replace Your Garage Door

Just like you put a lot of thought into making your front door and entryway welcoming and appealing, your garage door deserves some attention too. Depending on the size of your garage, the door can account for nearly one-third of your home’s exterior. That’s a lot of curb appeal all tied up into one feature. For a garage door in good condition, all you need to do is clean off the door and possibly consider refinishing it if the current stain or paint is old or faded.

If your door is old and beyond repair, consider replacing it with an eye-catching new option. Today’s garage doors are made in a variety of styles and materials that will fit any home design or budget, so there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your home.

6. Add Some Color and Visual Appeal

A tasteful pop of color in the yard can go a long way in drawing attention to your home’s finer features. Line a walkway with some brightly-colored flowers. Add a nice bench onto the porch or a pair of Adirondack chairs in the yard. Hang a small set of wind chimes nearby. Subtle pops of color can brighten up your home’s exterior and draw a potential buyer’s eyes to its positive features.

7. Repair the Driveway

Replacing a driveway is an expensive update, but you may not need to replace the entire thing. If your driveway is cracked or damaged in spots, repair the damaged areas and consider giving it a makeover by staining it or adding sections of flagstones in the broken areas. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, consider expanding the width of your driveway by adding pavers along either side.

8. Upgrade Your Walkways

While we’re on the subject, your driveway may not be the only thing that needs some TLC. Assess your walkways — especially the one leading to your front door — and consider whether they need to be repaired or updated. If you want to make a statement, consider replacing a concrete walkway with brick or stone pavers. For a less dramatic statement, try resurfacing the old walkway and then edging it with pavers.

9. Add a Fence

If you already have a fence, repair any posts that have become broken or damaged, as well as any latches that aren’t properly secured. Also, make sure to include the fence on your list of exterior features to clean.

If you don’t have a fence already, you might want to consider having a picket fence installed. Besides creating a beautiful visual impact in a yard, a fence that’s in good condition can benefit you during a home appraisal and increase your property’s value if you live in a neighborhood that tends to attract families.

10. Fix up What You Already Have

All the paint and landscaping in the world won’t hide a home that’s in disrepair. The easiest way to increase curb appeal is to repair and maintain what is already in place. Rehang sagging gutters — or replace them if needed. Touch up paint that’s peeling or faded. Repair broken shutters. Mow the lawn. Fix that broken step. Show you care about your home.

What Is Curb Appeal? Why Is It Important?

What is Curb Appeal?

Curb appeal includes landscaping, paint colors, the front door, the driveway and anything else that contributes to your home’s overall exterior appearance.

The best ways to make the front of your house look good will depend on the style of your home. Every house looks different, and the characteristics that appeal to one person don’t always appeal to another. But, the general rule of thumb when you’re looking to increase curb appeal is that your home’s exterior should look like a photograph in a magazine — green grass, well-maintained landscaping, tasteful paint colors and a well-maintained sidewalk and driveway.

Curb appeal is important because first impressions can make or break the sale of a home. When you focus on curb appeal, you’re focusing on how to make your house worth more. One survey of interior designers and real estate agents listed curb appeal as one of the top five most valuable improvements to increase your home’s chances of selling. Curb appeal can also have a significant impact on whether a potential buyer sees enough value in your home to offer the price you want.

Increase Your Property Value With a New Garage Door

Increase Your Property Value with a New Garage Door

We mentioned it before, but it bears repeating — your garage door takes up a considerable portion of the exterior of your home. If your garage door is broken, faded or dented, it’s going to impact your home’s overall appearance negatively. If you’re going through all the time and effort to improve your home’s exterior and increase your home’s property value, don’t overlook an old garage door.

When you’re changing the front of your house, here’s what a new garage door can do:

1. Restore Your Home’s Original Beauty

If you live in an older home, the garage door may have seen many transitions over the years as new designs and materials became available and new colors of stain were applied. Selecting a garage door that matches the original style of your home is a great way to restore the original look and architecture of the entire exterior.

When you choose doors that complement your home’s design rather than detract from it, you immediately add curb appeal. A beautiful garage door set into a beautiful home is going to enhance all of the other exterior improvements you choose to make.

2. Balance the Look

You put a lot of time and attention into how your front door looks. Maybe you painted it another color, hung a wreath or framed it with plants. Whatever you did, it probably took way more time and attention than most people put into their garage door. But the truth is that selecting a garage door which coordinates with your front door can create balance and tie your exterior design together in an eye-catching and appealing way. This balance can create a great first impression for potential buyers.

3. Create Contrast

Sometimes people paint their garage doors to match their siding, with the intention of trying to make the doors blend in with the rest of the house. Here’s the thing — garage doors don’t blend in. A beautiful garage door is meant to stand out and enhance the overall look of a home. When you’re selecting a new garage door, choose colors and designs that complement and balance the look of your home. For example, if you have a dark stained wooden front door, consider installing wooden garage doors in a similar shade to tie the design together.

The catch to this is if your front door is a bright color. For example, if your front door is teal, you shouldn’t paint your garage door teal as well. If your front door color isn’t one that would work well in a large size, then stick to a traditional white garage door.

How to Add Front Door Curb Appeal

If you’re in the market for a new front door, this is a great time to consider ways to use a new door to improve your home’s curb appeal. Replacing your entry door is a relatively inexpensive way to add value to your home. When you’re looking for a new door, you need to look for one that is both stylish and durable to increase your home’s curb appeal and keep your home warm and safe.

Two popular options on the market today are doors made from fiberglass or steel. Fiberglass doors, such as these Craftsman-Style Fiberglass Entry Doors can mimic the look and feel of a traditional wood door, but they have the strength and durability of modern manufactured materials. Fiberglass doors are a great option when you live in an area with harsh weather because they hold up well against the elements.

If you opt for a steel door, you can still customize the look you want, making a statement with the glass you choose, as well as extras like coordinating garage door windows and transoms. There are many attractive options on the market if you’re looking at steel doors, but steel doors are the go-to option if you’re looking for durability above anything else.

Besides deciding on the material you want to use, you’ll want to make sure you select a front door that coordinates well with your garage door. As we mentioned before, balancing the exterior look of your home is important to improving the overall curb appeal of your house. So, make sure that you select a door that complements your existing garage door in both style and color.

If it’s possible for them to match without being an eyesore — such as a wood-stain color for the front door that matches the garage — then matching is the way to go. If matching isn’t an option, then select a front door color that will go well with the existing garage door. It should also be a color that coordinates with the rest of the exterior.

Let Garage Door Specialists, Inc. Help

Let Garage Door Specialists Help

Selecting a garage door or entry door to complement your home and increase curb appeal can be a challenge, especially as you wade through all the options on the market today. Let Garage Door Specialists, Inc. walk you through the process and replace your garage doorsfront door or any other exterior door on your home. As a Clopay® Authorized Dealer, we are proud to offer a wide variety of Clopay doors and products. Our experienced design specialists can offer recommendations and guidance on how to select a door to coordinate with your home’s architecture, as well as its existing colors and design.

As a family-owned and operated business serving the northern suburbs of Chicago, we’re here to help you create the curb appeal you need. With more than 30 years in the business, we are proud to continue to offer a variety of high-quality looks and styles that are both beautiful and functional.

Let us help you increase the curb appeal of your home. If you’re in the market for a new garage door or you’re ready to make your front entry shine, visit our showroom in Wheeling, Ill., or contact us today at 847-537-6662.

6 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Garage for Summer

The weather is getting warmer, people are coming out of hibernation and the world is coming alive after its long winter sleep. That can only mean one thing: Summertime! 

You and your family have a million and one things to do to prepare for everyone’s favorite season. But something you might not have thought about is preparing your garage for those hot summer months. When your garage is working perfectly, it fades into the background like a dependable friend. But making sure it stays reliable may require a little extra care. Check out these easy ways to prepare your garage for summer:

  1. Get Rid of That Clutter
  2. It’s Time for Garage Door Maintenance
  3. Lubricate Your Door to Smooth the Way
  4. Make Sure Your Garage Door is Spic and Span
  5. Add Some Insulation
  6. Replace the Weatherstripping

We all think of winterproofing, but summer is the perfect time to do a yearly check-up on your garage. You can make sure everything is in tip-top shape while the weather is gorgeous. After all, nobody wants to be focused on garage maintenance when it’s freezing outside. 

But where should you start? Here are six easy ways you can prepare your garage for summer and make sure it gets the TLC it deserves.

1. Get Rid of That Clutter

The garage is supposed to be a home for your car. But, often, our vehicles are the last thing that goes there. Instead, the garage becomes a catch-all, storing everything from garden supplies, bikes and sporting equipment to random knickknacks you’re not sure where else to put. Pretty soon, it’s so chock-full of stuff, you kick your car to the curb — literally. Then, an expedition to the garage becomes a death-defying adventure where you’re climbing over rakes and boxes in search of that screwdriver you know is out there somewhere.

Get Rid of Clutter

Use these beautiful summer months to de-clutter and make your garage a beneficial area of your home. Not only will it make it easier to find the things you need, but you may even be able to give your car its home back. Here are some tips that will help you get started turning your garage into a functional space.

  • Make a weekend out of it. Instead of spreading out the job over the course of several weeks, dedicate a whole weekend to tackle this job. You may even be able to bribe friends and family to help you out with offers of food. A well-timed barbecue or pizza party may be in order.
  • Sort and conquer. Leave no box untouched. You need to find out what’s really in your garage. Organize garage clutter it into three different piles — keep, sell or toss. Even the things you’re going to keep need to get organized. For example, you won’t need that snow shovel for a few months yet, but the lawnmower should be easy to access.
  • It’s so hard to say goodbye. We keep a ton of stuff we don’t need. If little Jimmy has outgrown his first baseball glove, it’s time to say goodbye. Host a garage sale and make a few extra bucks. Anything that doesn’t sell can find a new home at the local thrift shop.
  • Scrub it down. Once all the extra junk is out, you’ll be able to give the whole space a thorough cleaning. It may have been some time since your garage saw a broom or duster. Cleaning it at least once a year will also help prevent uninvited pests from taking up residence.

It may not be easy, but it’s worth the effort. Once the extreme weather hits, you’ll be grateful you took the time to de-clutter and made room for your car to go where it belongs — in the garage. What that means for you is no blistering seats in summer after hours of the sun beating down on your car, and no getting up early to scrape off ice and snow in the dead of winter.

2. It’s Time for Some Garage Door Maintenance

Lots of moving parts go into a fully functional garage door. And it’s best to make sure they’re all up and running while the weather is mild, so you won’t have a breakdown in subzero temperatures. This aspect may be one of the most important parts of your summer garage checklist because it means ensuring it’s safe for your whole family to use. The door is not only the largest moving object in your garage, but probably your entire house.

Garage Door Maintenance

Normal wear and tear are acceptable, but if your door requires a repair, you should call the experts at Garage Door Specialists. Where do you begin your inspection? Here are some things to look for.

  • Manual release handle. While the door is closed, make sure a red handle is accessible and no more than six feet from the garage floor. This handle allows you to open the door manually, without using the motorized opener.
  • Garage door panels. With the door closed, check each panel on the inside of the garage. There should be no loose pieces, cracks, separations or damage.
  • Springs and hardware. These smaller pieces play a significant role in garage door safety. Loose or damaged components could lead to a severe injury. Yet again, with the door closed, visually check all the springs, hinges, brackets and fasteners. If there’s an issue, don’t attempt to fix it yourself. Call a pro.
  • Test your door’s operation. If the garage door opener is not working, you should still be able to open it. Check this by pulling the manual release to disconnect the door from the opener. Then, manually open and close the garage several times. You should be able to do this freely without straining. If the door is difficult to lift, it could be off its rollers or out of balance. Once you’ve checked this, you can reconnect the door to the opener by activating it. It usually can reconnect itself.
  • Photoelectric eyes or safety reverse feature. The garage door has built-in safety features to ensure it doesn’t close on a car or person. Photoelectric eyes are located to the right and left of the door about six inches off the ground. You can test these by waving something in front of the photoelectric eyes while the door is closing. It should reverse and open immediately.

With so many moving parts, it’s no wonder many people decide to get a professional annual inspection every summer. The experts at Garage Door Specialists know what they’re looking for and can ensure every detail is in working order. 

Having a professional check your door gives an extra feeling of safety. And if anything is out of order, they know exactly what to do. If you’re in need of an annual inspection, give Garage Door Specialists a call.

3. Lubricate Your Door to Smooth the Way

Another aspect of garage door maintenance you may not consider is the importance of lubrication. All those moving parts require proper oiling to operate smoothly. Most homeowners can handle this task themselves if they feel up to it. All you’ll need is a vacuum cleaner with a small head, rags and garage door-specific lubricant. Then, here’s what you do:

Lubricate Door

  • Wear eye protection. Dust, debris and even the lubricant you’re applying can cause severe irritation to your eyes. Always wear protection to avoid getting these in your eyes.
  • Clean out the garage door track. This step will probably require a little cleaning, which you can take care of using your small vacuum head or some rags. Make sure there is no debris. Some dirt could be caked in, so be sure to scrape it out. 
  • Oil each roller. Apply a small drop of lubricant to the inner area of each roller. Then, open and close your garage a few times to work the lubricant into the bearings.
  • Lubricate all moving metal parts and mechanisms. All hinges, tracks and springs will require lubrication. Remember, a little dab will do you. Be sure to move the specific parts, if you can, to work the lube into them. Some lubricants come with a thin applicator you can use to get the lube into tight spaces.
  • Look out for corrosion and rust. These are signs your garage door may require a little extra TLC. If you notice this, call Garage Door Specialists, and we’ll come check it out for you.

Some homeowners are overwhelmed by the task of lubricating their garage doors, and that’s OK. If you’d rather turn to a pro for assistance, the team at Garage Door Specialists is at your disposal. We have seen every kind of garage door, and know exactly what to do to maintain them properly. That way, you can have peace of mind knowing the job is taken care of. Call us today for all your garage door lubrication needs.

4. Make Sure Your Garage Door Is Spic and Span

While you’re in the midst of your spring cleaning, you may neglect one of the most visible parts of your house — the garage door. Often, we don’t even think about giving the door of the garage a little sprucing up. After the snow of winter and the rains of spring, your door may be looking a little worse for wear. 

The good news is, it’s extremely easy to clean a garage door, and you usually can get away with doing this just once a year. Take advantage of the warm weather and get out there with some soap and water.

Clean Garage Door

To give your garage door a fresh appearance this season, follow these simple steps for how to clean a garage door:

  • Wash the door surfaces and windows. Using a mild soap and tap water, give your garage door a gentle scrub. Avoid harsh detergents, as these abrasive cleaners could damage the paint. Be sure to clean both the exterior and interior of the door with a sponge, soft brush or a microfiber cloth.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water. Whether you use a hose or buckets of water, rinse the soap off the garage door. Don’t use a pressure washer, because it could chip the paint and damage the surface of the door.
  • Spot-clean with diluted bleach for tough stains. Sometimes stains from dirt or road salt just won’t come off. Use diluted bleach and water to spot-clean these pesky stains. Just be sure to rinse them thoroughly with water immediately after.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint if needed. Not only will a fresh coat of paint give your garage door extra oomph, but it also offers additional protection against the elements. Before diving in, you may want to brush up on proper techniques for how to paint garage doors so you’ll be proud of the results.
  • Wax on for additional protection. If you want to keep that freshly cleaned appearance for just a little while longer, you can always add a coat of wax. Auto wax works nicely, or call your friends at Garage Door Specialists for their suggestions.

When you give your garage door a good spruce, it changes the whole aspect of your house. After all, that big door is one of your home’s most visible features and adds to its curb appeal.

5. Add Some Insulation

For many, the garage is the most uncomfortable room in the house — sweltering in the summer and frigid when that cold winter wind rolls in. Most people don’t trouble themselves about installing insulation in the garage. But there are many advantages to adding some insulation you may not have considered.

  • Keeps your garage a comfortable temperature. Although we normally associate insulation with keeping out the cold, it can also help keep the heat of those summer days at bay. And if there’s any humidity, insulation helps keep things dry.
  • Helps maintain your home’s temperature. If the AC or heat is constantly pumping in your home, you may be wondering where your cool or warm air is escaping. Your garage could be the culprit. Since it’s connected to your home, no insulation can affect the internal temp.
  • Cuts down on noise. Do you like to tinker in the garage or use power tools? Insulation can cut down on noise pollution, so the ruckus doesn’t disturb your family.
  • Keeps noxious fumes out. We store a lot of dangerous chemicals in our garage. From paint cans to pesticides, these are a wall away from our living space. Insulation can ensure these deadly gases don’t creep their way into your home.

6. Replace the Weatherstripping

Replace Weatherstripping

Winter is a difficult time of year for weatherstripping. The materials that seal the bottom, top and sides of your garage door undergo a lot of wear and tear during these cold months. Checking and replacing weatherstripping is a task you should tackle at least once a year, but most people neglect this important item on their to-do list.

Every year, it’s important to check your weatherstripping to make sure there are no cracks or holes. If there are, you should fill them properly. Or, if your weatherstripping is in bad shape, it’s time to replace it. 

This critical feature does a lot:

  • Keeps the cold out. When those blustery winds begin to blow, you’ll be glad you fixed your weatherstripping.
  • Keeps the elements out. Rain, sleet or snow, weatherstripping ensures you don’t get a pesky leak inside the garage.
  • Helps keep your garage cleaner. There are tiny things that want to creep in and make a mess. Weatherstripping helps keep your garage clean by preventing bugs, dirt and dust from making their way into the garage door.

Make Sure Your Garage is Ready for Summer

In the midst of your summer fun, don’t forget to give your garage a little TLC. When the harsh winter weather rolls around, you’ll be glad you made an effort. And now, you have six easy steps that will make prepping your garage a cinch. 

Just follow these guidelines, and you’ll start appreciating your garage in a way you never have before. You may love your experience so much, you and your family could start using the garage as more than a place to store things you don’t know where else to put. It could be a livable space where you tackle fun summer projects together, like maybe building a new birdhouse.

Though you can tackle many of these steps on your own, if you require additional help, turn to Garage Door Specialists. Whether you’re looking for a whole new garage door or you’re in need of a repair, we have your back. Because of the intricacies of what makes a garage door work, trust your repairs to a professional who understands its inner workings. Our services are available to residents living in northern Chicago’s residential areas, including Glenview, Highland Park, Northbrook, Buffalo Grove and the surrounding communities.

Contact us today to find out more about our residential garage door services.