High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In a Weekend

You live in and love your home, but there might come a time when you have to leave it. And when that time comes, you’ll want to get as much money as you can for your property so you can move onward — and upward.

In order to increase your abode’s value, you might think you have to put in a ton of time, effort and money, but that’s not entirely true. Instead, you can take on weekend projects over time to spruce the place up so when it’s time to sell, you have a completely updated property that’ll end up selling itself.

Ready to get to work? Roll up your sleeves and start on one of the following five weekend projects.

1. Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to smart investment in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start. Buyers expect kitchens to be updated. Stone countertops, stainless appliances and sleek flooring all make a space feel modern. Obviously, these changes require a lot of money and, sometimes, a lot of time. That’s why you can tackle it in bits and start first with your cabinets.

Old wooden cabinets with equally dated hardware — think oak doors with shiny brass handles — don’t require a complete gut job. Instead, spend a weekend repainting them a more neutral hue. Finish the project off with new metallic knobs and pulls to complete the modernized look.

2. Make the Eye Go up With Crown Molding

Most homes have roughly the same ceiling heights, but there’s a little trick to make yours look bigger — crown molding. Yes, that white line at the top of your painted walls will draw eyes upward, making the room appear airier than it may very well be.

The project is easy enough to complete, too. You might not be able to install molding throughout your entire home over a single weekend, but you can certainly tackle the project on a room-by-room basis. Again, start with the spaces likely to draw in the most moolah:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Living spaces
  • Master bedrooms

These tend to be the make-or-break rooms when it comes to a big purchase. Crown molding adds a bit of detail, a feeling of luxury that’ll certainly add to the bottom line.

3. Boost Curb Appeal — and Backyard Bonuses

No one will come in your home unless the first impression is stunning. Another DIY project should be a landscape overhaul of your front yard. It can be something as simple as adding a path of pavers to your front yard or sprucing up your flowerbeds with colorful blooms. All of this will catch the eye of potential buyers — and fatten up the bottom line of the offers they make.

Another easy fix — your garage door. If it’s street-facing, it’s another area for prospective buyers to look at, and it has a great return on investment.

You don’t have to stop with the front of your home. Especially if you live in a climate that permits lots of outdoor activity, you’ll want a backyard to match. Some may require you rent or buy tools for landscaping and other applications, but imagine the payoff with, for example, the beauty of a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

4. Beautify the Bathrooms

Bathrooms have a big effect on buyers. They expect clean, modern updates, just like in the kitchen. Overhauling your powder room is an easy weekend task that might require small swaps, such as a new modern light fixture over the vanity or a new vanity altogether.

Your full bathrooms will require a bit more attention if you want them to be up to snuff. Again, look in the familiar places:

  • Lighting fixtures
  • Cabinets
  • Hardware
  • Countertops
  • Tile

You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to have someone else re-tile a wall or backsplash in your bathroom, either, if you have the patience to demo and tile the space yourself.

5. Out With the Really Old

Some accents once considered fresh and fashionable now give your home a dated appearance. You probably already know what in your home screams 70s, 80s or 90s. Whatever it is should go in due course.

The list of outdated design elements is truly endless, but some of the biggest offenders are old-school wallpaper, the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling that may or not be actual wood, and, of course, popcorn ceilings. By removing these three offenders alone —your home will snap right back into 2017.

Once people start envisioning themselves living in your home, you won’t have to envision offers pouring in — they’ll start coming thanks to your hard work!

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Raleigh is second-best performing city for jobs in U.S., report says

Raleigh is the second-best performing city in the United States, according to the latest index released by the Milken Institute.

In its report “Best-Performing Cities: Where America’s Jobs are Created and Sustained,” Milken points to Raleigh’s comparatively low business costs and thriving research and development-driven industries as major reasons for the high rank.

A number of metrics were considered in the overall ranking, including job growth, wage growth, GDP growth, etc. Raleigh ranked in the top 10 in several categories such as 5-year wages/salary growth, 1-year job growth and high-tech location quotient.

Raleigh climbed four spots from last year’s report. “The region has experienced strong job and wage growth in recent years, and short-term job gains indicate that economic momentum remains strong,” the Milken report stated. “In the 12 months ending in August 2017, the rate at which new positions were created in Raleigh was 2 percent higher than the U.S. average.”

The Utah metro of Provo-Orem nabbed the top spot. The Dallas-Plano-Irving metro in Texas, the San Francisco metro area and Fort Collins, Colorado, rounded out the top five in the large cities/metros category. The Charlotte metro, which includes Concord and Gastonia, ranked No. 13 in the report.

The Triangle is going to grow — a lot. Embrace it.

More than half of us now live in cities with urban areas accounting for 80 percent of global GDP, according to a recent report by the United Nations. Seventy percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050, putting huge strains on our current infrastructure — with potential to exacerbate environmental, transportation, health, crime, and inequity challenges.

Here in North Carolina, the Raleigh metro area is expected to grow 72 percent in the next 25 years from 1.27 million residents to 2.2 million, making it the third-fastest growing metro in the country (behind Austin, Texas and Fort Myers, Florida) according to a study by American City Business Journals. The Durham-Chapel Hill metro is expected to expand 36 percent (from 552,000 residents to 753,000).

For many, these are alarming statistics, and, without proper planning, our collective quality of life will be significantly compromised. But with foresight and continuous innovation, there may be opportunities to increase living standards for all.

One potential pathway is to embrace scale rather than reject it. Research by Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt, for example, shows that cities produce more units of output for each unit of input. In other words, a dollar spent on investment produces more than a dollar back on key economic indicators like GDP, wages, and patent creation.

Cities are also much more efficient, with residents using less energy per capita and needing fewer capital investments like roads, electric lines, etc. West and Bettencourt make clear, however, that these benefits will only be gained through innovation versus maintaining the status quo.

This is particularly true of our most vulnerable communities. Without break-through ideas focused on balancing economic growth with economic inclusion, we risk widening racial wealth gaps and accelerating gentrification and displacement.

A recent study by economists Berkes and Gaetani finds that clustering of high-tech innovation in cities has increased economic segregation — a trend that Richard Florida delves into in his new book The New Urban Crisis.

But what if innovation can improve equity? The company Kasita, for example, has created inexpensive micro-housing units that are stand-alone or can stack to form apartments. Matched with proper zoning, the right financing opportunities (including helping families and individuals establish stronger credit), and creative urban planning, housing solutions like Kasita could increase opportunities for home ownership.

The reduced cost of solar energy and innovative approaches to storing and distributing energy also provide an exciting opportunity to increase access to renewable energy, create jobs, boost local ownership opportunities (through employee owned co-ops), and cut the cost of energy.

To date, the sharing economy (examples include Lyft and AirBnB) have principally benefitedthe wealthy. But there is huge upside to be gained by expanding the shared economy into lower-income communities, including jobs with flexible hours, supplemental income opportunities, and more direct, less expensive transportation options in currently under-connected communities. Recognizing this, Los Angeles introduced a pilot program to put 100 car-share vehicles in low-income communities, and Minneapolis is subsidizing bike-share memberships and driving outreach efforts in poor neighborhoods.

In San Diego, a recent upgrade to 14,000 smart street lights is expected to save $2.4 million per year. It has also spurred the deployment of over 3,000 additional sensor nodes that can support a range of applications, including air quality sensing and gunshot detection – increasing quality of life and public safety across the city.

And cities globally are investing in urban farming strategies to create jobs, increase access to healthy food, and serve as learning laboratories.

These are all promising trends. As the United Nation’s New Urban Agenda makes clear: to thrive as a society we need to create sustainable communities for all.

BY CHRISTOPHER GERGEN AND STEPHEN MILLER, News & Observer