We knew reports of the death of American home ownership were greatly exaggerated (nod to Mark Twain), and now we’ve got the numbers to prove it.
A just-released survey by the Meredith Corp., which publishes Better Homes and Gardens magazine, says the vast majority of people polled believe owning a home is a smart financial move and a source of pride.
Here are some results of the 2,500 people surveyed online:
- 86% of home owners still feel owning a home is a good investment.
- 85% feel “owning a home is one of their proudest accomplishments.”
- 69% of Americans who don’t currently own a home agree with the statement, “No matter what happens in the U.S. housing market, owning a home is still an important goal in my life.”
- 68% of Americans plan to spend money on their homes in the next six months, with roughly half (49%) expecting to pay up to $1,000.
A thousand bucks may not seem like a lot, but it goes long way toward improving the value and comfort of your home. Here are some projects we recommend:
1. Add a new entry door. Spruce up your curb appeal and save energy by upgrading your exterior door. Steel doors, which can mimic many types of wood, typically run for $400 at big-box stores and offer the strongest barrier against intruders.
2. Get organized. De-cluttering and maximizing storage space are inexpensive ways to transform a home. Add space to kids’ rooms by installing platform or bunk beds ($400-$600); neaten piles of shoes with shoe organizers ($20), which can do double duty as catch-all organizers in family room closets and kitchen pantries; extend bookshelves to the ceiling, creating storage in otherwise dead space.
3. Save with a programmable thermostat. Switching from a manual to a programmable thermostat (less than $500) can save you up to $180 a year in energy costs. The latest models offer remote programming via the Internet.
4. Replace cabinet hardware. If you’ve got traditional knobs and pulls, try contemporary. Big-box retailers often have huge selections for budget prices. (10-pack for $20).
5. Update bathroom flooring. Give bathrooms a quick facelift by replacing old tile with vinyl flooring or ceramic tile, which can cost as little as $3 per square foot for material and installation.
6. Brush on a new look: Paint is one of the most transformative and cheapest home improvement products around, so make it your go-to technique for updating a living space. Most manufacturers offer handy sample sizes for testing out new hues, as well as special formulations and tools for taking a faux approach. Adding crown moldings, chair rails and other trims is the next level in creating a custom look on a budget.
7. Update your lighting: Switch out the outdated light fixtures around your house, especially in a prominent place such as over your dining-room table. You will want to match your light fixtures to your home hardware in terms of color, shape and style. Also consider adding dimmer switches on as many lamps and light fixtures as you can.
What improvements have you made recently under $1,000? What are you planning to do in the next six months?