Suggestions and tips for home improvement can be highly subjective based on the goals of the homeowner. For example, is the improvement taking place in order to increase the marketability or market value of the home? Is the improvement necessary due to some sort of functional obsolescence or deferred maintenance? Perhaps the improvement is not necessary at all but is simply desired to improve the functionality or comfort to the current owner? These are certainly some of the questions which a homeowner should ask themselves before engaging in any costly changes to their home or property. The answers to these questions will provide much guidance in terms of improvements to avoid.
That said, here are three ideas:
1. Paint, Flooring, and Hardware (Kitchen Cabinet, Doors, Fixtures, ETC): These three simple improvements are often the best bang for the homeowner buck. In fact, it could be argued that these three interior improvements represent the majority of a very short list of items which a homeowner could actually expect to see a return on their investment. That is, they could potentially gain financially over their investment in the improvement in the form of an increased purchase price or decreased time on market.
2. Landscaping, Paint, Trim & Siding Repair: I would say these correlate well to the interior updates highlighted above in terms of their ability to make a large impression for minimal financial investment (comparatively speaking of course). Landscaping and associated improvement of curb appeal can make a dramatic impact on the first impression of any prospective home owner.
3. Finally, a point of advice on finding qualified and detail-oriented professionals to perform the above tasks (or any construction job). I would advise anyone to seek out those in the industry who are busy and who already have a healthy, established clientele. Ideally, you would find someone in a related industry (a real estate agent or insurance agent for example) and ask them who they would personally refer to do the work. Make sure that the referral source has the same type of qualities which you seek in a contractor. Like attracts like and it is often the case that shoddy agents refer shoddy contractors just as it is often the case that professionals associate with other professionals.
I am happy to provide more upon request and I hope this is helpful. ~Nick