4 fall home improvements to make before winter

As the weather finally starts to get colder around the Grand Valley, more people are thinking about how to prepare their homes for the winter season.

We found some great advice from Inman News for 5 home improvements to make before winter that will end up saving you money in the long run. An added bonus is that each project is under $500.

1. Make sure your house is proper insulated

A lot of homes today are under-insulated. This means higher energy bills and houses that get really cold in the winter and really hot in the summer. Make sure your attic and crawl spaces are properly insulated.

Even if you know your home is insulated, it’s important to remember that older insulation breaks down over time and becomes less efficient. It could be a good idea to check-up on your insulation and make sure it's actually doing its job.

Seller Tip: If you’re selling your house this fall keep in mind that homebuyers often question utility bills and insulation will help lower those, making your house more appealing.

Project timeline estimate: DIY homeowners can tackle this project over a weekend. Hiring a pro to handle the job can get it done in less than one day.

Cost: About $400

2. Hydroseed your lawn

Grass seeds grow and take root better in cooler weather, so sowing new seed at this time of year will create a lush green grass when it comes back in the spring.

Hydroseeding is one of the least expensive ways to seed a lawn. It’s a slurry of grass seed, mulch and fertilizer that you can spray onto your yard to promote new growth.

We’ve talked about this before, but improving the landscaping and lawn of a property can have an impact of as much as 20% of the value of the home, which is huge if you’re thinking of selling this spring. The landscaping is also one of the first things a buyer sees, which makes it an important part of the home’s curb appeal.

If you're looking to save money, hydroseeding is something you can do yourself. The home improvement store sells the mixture and you can hook it up to your garden house. You can ask them for some tips on how to properly apply the mixture.

3. Install an electric fireplace if you don’t have a real one

As the weather turns cooler more people begin spending time inside. Electric fireplaces are clean, energy efficient additions to any home. They also add instant visual appeal and warmth at the same time, something that both a buyer and seller can appreciate.

You’d be surprised at the variety of options available. They range from plug-in units to built-in features so it’s easy to find one that fits the room’s decor, and your budget.

Depending on which style you choose, the average cost to install an electric fireplace is around $300. If you’re looking to save some money, opt for a plug-in unit to save the most on building or installation fees or convert an existing fireplace.

4. Install a programmable thermostat

With programmable thermostats, you can set your heat to optimal temperatures, depending on the time of day and day of the week. Some of the latest models offer wireless controls and smartphone apps that let you change your heating and cooling settings remotely. You won’t be over heating your house when no one is home anymore!

Newer models range from about $100-$400 with installation, but will save you up to 20% of your energy bill.