Do-it-yourself projects add curb appeal and sweat equity, giving homeowners the opportunity to use the savings on additional improvements, said Angela Klein Hughes, president of the Billings Association of Realtors.
Matt Jansen, owner of Matt the Painter in Billings, recommends yearly repairs. Doing so deters potentially expensive structural issues later on, especially when missing shingles or cracked windows are promptly addressed.
Replace damaged window and door caulking that lets in moisture and insects, and if sprinklers are getting the house or garage wet, make adjustments to avert water damage.
Correct sagging gutters or damaged shutters, touch up deteriorating paint and replace burnt out bulbs. Seal cracks in the driveway and sidewalks, and repair or replace pavers. Pressure washing the home’s exterior and any outbuildings, driveway and sidewalks will make them look fresh.
For ideas that add curb appeal and instruction on repairs, visit Pinterest, how-to websites such as DIY Network and LifeHacker, or YouTube videos.
More complicated projects such as painting the home’s exterior are best left to professionals, Klein Hughes said.
Jansen says a home’s exterior should be inspected seven years after it was last painted, or earlier if the house is exposed to a lot of sun or painted green, blue or a dark color, which fades faster.
Starting with the house’s south side, look east and check the corners and substrate for damage, color discrepancies, checked or peeling paint. If the paint has faded, it’s a sign the product has broken down and needs a new coat.
Black mildew spots on the home’s north side are nothing to worry about as they are easy to clean.
Newer homes with HardiePlank-type siding can be painted every 10 years or more, while houses built in the 1970s and 1980s with Masonite siding should be inspected for wax bleeds, which require prepping with an oil-based primer to stop unsightly spotting.
“Just like your skin with suntan lotion … you want to seal and protect that underlying surface,” Jansen said.
Painting the front door a fun color, like the plum Klein Hughes recently added to her home, is quick and inexpensive, adding a lot of pop to a home’s front.
Mowing, fertilizing, watering and edging the lawn cost no more than elbow grease and a few hours to keep a home’s appearance fresh, said Andrew Marble, a landscape designer with Billings Nursery and Landscaping.
“It’s probably the best thing you can do,” Marble said. “It adds a crispness to the landscape.”
Pull weeds, trim shrubs, remove dead branches or plants and replace mulch. Identify shrubs and flowers that need transplanted; wait until spring to move them as hot weather can stress or kill the plants.