Top 10 Ways to Use Your Tax Return: Real Estate Investment

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home maintenance10. Update lighting throughout the house. Start with kitchen and bathroom lighting, dining table lighting and add accent lighting where ever possible. Replace light bulbs throughout and don’t forget about the outside lighting.

9. Add insulation to your attic to improve your home efficiency and lower your heating and cooling bills.

8. Landscape for energy efficiency. Here is a great and natural way to improve your home efficiency that is rarely discussed! Carefully planted trees can provide shade in the summer and wind breaks. A trellis with climbing vines or a planter box with trailing vines provide shade for your home and allows the breeze to pass through. Learn more on Energy.gov

7. Power wash. Nothing is better than being clean. Power wash the exterior of your home being careful of the vinyl siding and wood trim. Power wash the driveway, cement patio and walkway to make it look brand new.

6. It has never been easier to do a bathroom makeover. Pull out the old vanity and slide in a more modern design. Many include granite countertops built to fit and pick a new faucet. Don’t forget to clean the grout and caulk in the shower and tub. Re-glaze the tub if needed and put up a new shower head. And if the budget allows, don’t forget the new lighting, mirrors and a fresh coat of paint.

5. If funds allow, update the mechanicals of your home. Consider a new furnace or heating system, or install an on-demand water heater to cut our utility costs. Tax credits in 2015 are available for geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, and solar energy systems. Learn more.

4. Improve your curb appeal. Consider adding fresh flowers, new cement walk way, update your mailbox or house numbers, take out those overbearing shrubs, and a touch of color or interest with accents or rocks.

3. Replace a broken window or add a storm door. These will improve your home energy savings and appearance for typically less than $500.

2. Your tax return won’t be enough to remodel the kitchen but consider a Cabinet Makeover with fresh paint (cleaning, sanding, priming, and painting to do it right) or add new hardware for a fresh look.

1. Whether buying or selling, have a home inspection. For sellers it can save you from costly repairs found during a home sale when you are under pressure to make a price drop to correct the problem or in a time pinch to hire someone to fix the problem. For buyers it is peace of mind on the largest investment you will make to not only find major issues, if there are any, but maybe just as important is how to maintain the home, change the furnace filter, main water shut off, etc.

About the Author
Leslee is an associate broker of United Country Michigan Lifestyle Properties based in Richland Michigan, just outside of Kalamazoo. Learn more about Leslee at http://www.MichiganCountryHomes.com

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