By Gene And Katie Hamilton
According to a recent survey by American Express, 62 percent of homeowners plan to invest in home improvement projects to enhance the appearance and value of their property. That supports the latest release of LIRA, the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies that predicts an increase in home improvement spending by homeowners. Since more homeowners are staying and improving instead of moving the question for do-it-yourselfers is what improvements give the best payback for their effort.
These jobs require little-or-no skills and make your home and property look well groomed and maintained.
- Rake leaves and pine needles and remove twigs to tidy up the lawn and garden beds. Clean up debris around the heating and cooling unit to allow the air to circulate around it and operate efficiently.
- When the garden beds are cleaned, add a light layer of mulch to protect the plants. If you do it yourself you'll save 79 percent. Learn more at Lay Bark Mulch
- Give a light pruning to trees and bushes and save 56 percent for your effort even figuring the cost of shears and loppers, and you'll save and continue to save every time you use them. The next pruning job won't cost you anything but your time. Learn more at
Prune Trees and Shrubs
- Keep gutters and downspouts clear so water can flow through them and direct water away from the house and prevent soil erosion. Refasten any loose straps and patch any holes to protect siding from water damage. Learn more at
- Check the sump pump in the basement to see that it works. Remove debris that may clog the pump and test it with a garden hose connected to a faucet to fill the sump with water. The pump should come on long before the sump pit fills. If it doesn't make sure it's plugged in and check that the fuse is not blown. If the pump still doesn't work, have it serviced. Learn more at
Replace a Sump Pump
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