June 23, 2009

How To Improve Your Home in a Recession

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

The incredible thing about homes in general is that they almost always remain as a person’s most important and valuable investment, no matter what the economic and financial mood of the times—irrespective of booms and busts, homes are always going to be the most prized possession a family has. And people never cease to plan on improving their home, whether in superficial or really intensive ways, and the current economic recession has not changed that fact in the least. In fact, recessions may just be one of the most ideal moments for a home owner to choose to invest in home improvement: with the cost of labour having gone down and the cost of many materials also being considerably lower than usual, the up-front investment necessary to carry out a home improvement project couldn’t get any lower. Furthermore, given the current economic situation, certain sellers (for example, of furniture or flooring materials) are currently offering considerably generous payment options, including no interest and no payments for the lapse of three years from the time of purchase—now that is a deal not to be missed!

Knowing what kinds of home improvements to do during a recession is the key: scrap any plans you may have been pondering to include luxurious or in any way wasteful features to your home, as this is simply not the time for such manoeuvres. Quite to the contrary, this is a time to add efficiency and eco-friendliness to your home. By making certain strategic home improvement investments, you could end up saving money on certain bills related to utilities expenses, etc. It is one of the few cases where the “spend to save” philosophy can actually hold true (most of the time this is just a sneaky—even unscrupulous—marketing ploy).

Green technologies are particularly in demand for home improvement projects during the recession, which reflects not only the “back to basics” frugality of the moment but furthermore the evolving ecological conscience that is taking root in society at large, slowly but surely. For example, switching out old filament lighting fixtures for modern LED lighting units is a particularly good idea, and the outcomes offer a lot to be appreciated—from lower energy consumption and therefore electricity bills, to a decreased impact on the environment. Also, there has been an increase in the demand for eco-friendly flooring and countertop materials, such as bamboo and cork in the former case, and concrete and bamboo in the latter case.

Heating is another major area where home improvements can be feasibly made during the current recession, and again with excellent savings potential for the long term. Instead of continuing to use a central heating unit that distributes warmth via air ducts installed in the walls, consider having a radiant heating system installed. These heating systems use warm water that is heated by your ordinary water heater (which means one less furnace in the house, and consequently less gas consumption) and distribute it throughout the home via metal coils that can alternately be installed beneath floor paneling or above it in manually controllable devices (the former is more common today, as well as being more sightly). The resulting home heating system is vastly more efficient in both the time needed to bring rooms up to a desired temperature and the money needed to keep the system working—in fact, the US Department of Energy has released estimates indicating that this method of home heating can save a home approximately 20% per year on energy expenses…which, if you do the math, turns out to be a fair chunk of cash!

Home interiors aren’t the only spaces that can feasibly be improved during the recession; the outside can be dealt with on a tight budget and with significantly positive results, especially when it comes to landscaping projects. There is every reason to want to work on your home’s exterior appearances, these being wound up in the very value of your home and its market appeal. In fact, one of the most important factors when determining the value of any given home—and always the make-or-break factor when prospective buyers come to take a look at a property—is what is referred to as the “curb appeal:” does it stand out and scream elegance from the street? Fortunately, exterior home improvements, in particular those related to landscaping, are projects in which home owners can put a fair deal of their own sweat and hard work, without the need to contract professionals and labourers. Fixing up a garden and tending to lawns and shrubbery are all common sense projects that need only a slight amount of research and investment, and for which most people already have the requisite tools lying around in the shed. Be sure to maximize efficiency here: create your own compost pile and continuously add to it with your biodegradable waste so as to avoid the need for fertilizers; plant plants that automatically germinate so that you don’t have to spend time sowing seedlings anew every year or season; and use clever gardening techniques that will minimize the amount of upkeep work you’ll need to do, such as laying down black plastic sheets in your flower patches and covering them with a hefty layer of mulch (this method prevents the probability of weeds shooting up).

Whatever home improvement projects you choose to strike up during the recession, make sure you are taking the fullest advantage of the lowered prices and the seldom-to-be-found offers that have recently reappeared in the marketplace. For example, whereas previously many home improvement planning schemes and consultation services were to be had for a relatively sizeable fee (this is simply the drafting of a plan, not including any actual changes to a home), today many home decoration and refurnishing businesses are offering free consultations in light of the current economic predicament. Even if you don’t plan on starting such a project at the moment, you could get the consultation service for free and then hold onto the plans for use at a later, more convenient moment.

If  you are interested in carring out any of the work described above, please visit our eCommerce site for all kinds of products that will help you make the most of home improvement in a  recession including adhesives, sealants & materials to carry out cellar conversions.

Filed under How To by admin

Permalink Print Comment

Leave a Comment