Simple and Smart Ways to Make Your New Home Your Own

Keep an open mind when house hunting. Look past funky paint colors and outdated lights to see all the possibilities for adding your personal taste.

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Photo Credit: Tim Hale

Courtesy of Chase

As you search for a new home, you may not find exactly what you want. Everyone has their own tastes, and the style of other homeowners may not match yours. Plus, you may find houses that need to be updated.

Try to look past all the existing cosmetic choices. Instead, envision the possibilities to turn a home into one that fits your style and personality. Your real estate agent can give you advice on how to easily update a home. You'd be surprised how easily you can tailor a home to your style with some simple improvements.

For starters, you can make many inexpensive improvements to make a house feel like your own. Here are some ways you can put your personal touch on a new home and increase the resale value down the road.

Utilize the Proven Power of Paint

"It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do," says Ben Spears, a real estate agent for Rodeo Realty in California. "It can make the whole house smell like new and give it a whole new feeling."

Painting can also make your home look cleaner and modern. Plus, you have a world of possibilities to choose from. The color you select can make a room feel warmer, cooler, larger or cozy, depending on the room and look you're going for.

Home improvement stores can help you find the right paint for each room. Typically, a gallon of paint costs about $25 and covers about 400 square feet, so you won't need to spend a lot if you want to do it yourself.

Your New Home's Exterior: How to Add Curb Appeal

"Stand out in front of your home and examine the curb appeal of your home," says Ohio real estate agent Donna Grove of Superior Homes Realty. "This is where you make your first impression to people who visit your home, and you want to make sure it stands out."

Attractive curb appeal is easy to achieve with some simple landscaping. You can pull weeds and trim shrubs yourself at no cost. Adding mulch, planting flowers and re-seeding bare spots have some costs, but will make your home appear crisp, clean and neat.

You can also improve the exterior by adding ornamental lighting, power washing the siding, installing a flagpole or by adding porch or deck chairs. Consider finishing the exterior makeover with a new door color, welcoming wreath, flower pots, updated house numbers and a door mat. All these will give your house a fresh and personalized look and have you beaming with pride as you show off your new home.

Your New Home's Interior: Little & Big Updates

During your home search, remember there are other ways you can change the look of a house. As you tour potential options, picture some of these relatively inexpensive ideas:

• Replace outdated light fixtures, ceiling fans and electrical outlets.

• Install new smoke detectors that match your decor.

• Steam-clean grout to give it a fresh look.

• Shampoo the carpets.

• Update cabinet hardware.

• Remove outdated wallpaper.

• Swap out switch and outlet covers.

• Expose hardwood flooring by removing wall-to-wall carpeting.

• Change the faucets and showerheads.

• Touch-up worn stain on stair rails and cabinets.

• Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.

• Clean!

If your budget allows you to take on some bigger remodeling projects, here are a few smart options:

• Replace your front or garage door.

• Add a deck or patio.

• Invest in new windows.

• Install hardwood floors or carpet.

Depending on your financial situation, you may also want to consider even larger home improvements, such as finishing your basement and remodeling your kitchen. These are upgrades you can enjoy now, plus they can add value if you decide to sell the home later.

Little or big, you have plenty of ways to put your character and personality into your home. Once you start looking or are ready to buy, a mortgage banker can discuss financing options and offer tools, such as our home loan calculator, and advice to help get you into your home soon.

To learn more about the homebuying process, visit My New HomeSM.

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