Maintenance5 min

Turn Your Tax Refund Into Lasting Home Improvement

GoBankRates.com estimates that the average tax refund this year will total about $3,000. In a survey conducted by that organization, 10 percent of respondents said they plan to splurge on a vacation or luxury item when the refund arrives. But 9 percent plan to use that money for a “major purchase.”

Some homeowners may choose to buy a refrigerator or washer and dryer with that windfall. But an even better investment would be a home-improvement project that may add to the home’s resale value. For example, a siding replacement adds $12,119 to a home’s average resale value per Hanley Wood. Building a backyard shed can also boost the value of your home, especially if the prospective buyer has a shed-ready hobby and needs an artist studio or woodworking space.  

“Replacing home siding has consistently ranked as one of the best projects for increasing a home’s value,” says Karen Alves, LP’s Brand Segment Marketing Associate for siding. “When you sell the home, you recoup more of your investment than with comparably priced renovations like window replacement.” 

With potentially $3,000 in hand, a homeowner can go beyond a just-the-basics renovation to one that adds significant home value. Here are some idea-starters for how to use a tax refund for a home renovation: 

  • In the Northeast and West regions of the U.S., smooth home exteriors are growing in popularity. The same is true in cities with large historic districts, like Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. A tax refund can be a good first step toward turning a rustic home exterior into a stylish smooth one that matches the local surroundings. 
  • Use the tax refund to build a backyard shed that becomes your creative getaway – whether it’s a painting studio, a yoga retreat or a songwriting haven. And don’t forget that famous authors like Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw actually had “writing sheds” where they retreated for inspiration.

When your refund check arrives, resist the impulse to buy those tickets to Tahiti or jewelry store bling. Invest that money into some remodeling projects that make your home more creative and increase the asking price when you sell.

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Trends5 min

Trend Alert: Sleek & Smooth Style on the Rise

It’s no surprise that 97% of realtors say that curb appeal is most important to a potential buyer, which makes keeping up with the latest exterior trends a priority to homeowners. While traditional exteriors like stone and brick can add uniqueness as accents, according to LP industry experts, homeowners these days are gravitating toward sleeker and smoother siding options to cover the bulk of their homes.

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Trends5 min
Using the Right Siding for a Modern Farmhouse

In recent years, designers have offered new visions of this classic style and have dubbed it the “modern farmhouse.” Chip and Joanna Gaines from the home improvement show Fixer Upper were relentless promoters of the modern farmhouse aesthetic, which helped make it chic and add “shiplap” to more people’s vocabulary. Last year, Builder magazine named the modern farmhouse one of the top 5 trends in floor plans. While craftsman homes still account for about 25 percent of all house plans, the modern farmhouse is rapidly gaining ground and now has about 15 percent market share.

How to Keep Your Shed Cooler in Summer

In many parts of the U.S., a shed can get unbearably hot in the summer unless you take steps to ventilate it and prevent the sun’s radiant energy from penetrating. Too much heat in a shed is a bad thing, as it can damage liquids like paint or chemicals, sensitive equipment and items affected by humidity.

Outdoor Living6 min
6 Ways to Turn Your Backyard into a Summertime Oasis

Who says you need to travel to get away? Look no further than your own backyard to offer a setting worthy of your staycation this summer. If your backyard could use some sprucing up before then, follow these six steps to make it worthy of all your free time this summer.