Tax Return Time: Adding Value to Your Home with Extra Cash


So, it’s time to wrap up those taxes and put your tax return to work! As you’re filing taxes and awaiting the return, we encourage you to think about the ways that the money will pay you back some day in the future. Home updates can often reap two and three times the investment  dollars when they are spent on the correct things. At City Home Center, we have made a list of several of our favorite ideas for updating your home with your tax return.

 Get in the Zone

The first and most important part of the update happens before you even get started. The best way to determine the maximum return on investment is to keep a “selling” mindset. This means you need an unbiased inspection of your house. We don’t mean a formal inspection – just a second set of eyes from someone who doesn’t live with you to help you determine what changes are most important. This part can be the most fun!


Step One

Grab a friend and go house hunting this weekend. Check out a few open houses in your area on a Saturday or Sunday. Take notes on the good - what you were drawn to, what had the most “wow” factor, the bad – what things needed updates and the ugly – what was dirty or dingy that was a big turn off. Write these things down and revisit them after step two.

Step Two

After you visit those homes, take a fresh look at your own and compare. Walk into your front door as though you were walking into an open house. Think about the things you noticed in the homes you visited that same weekend – both interior and exterior. Write down the good, the bad and the ugly about your own home as you inspect it. 

Report Your Findings

Our bet is that you’ll find the most “likely” areas for updating in the kitchen or bathrooms. Both areas that just so happen to be City Home Center’s specialties. Let us help you with ideas in those prominent areas of your home.


Sometimes it’s something as simple as yard work around the front of the house, which costs nothing, and sometimes it’s an easy buy like a gallon or two of paint to make the exterior of your home look like new. We recommend that before you do anything, check the exterior of your home for ways you can improve it. For example, sometimes the paint on your exterior is fine, but the door and shutters could use a touch up. Check for areas outside that can use a little TLC.


A new backsplash can take an outdated kitchen and make it look brand new. We’re often surprised to learn how many think that a backsplash is an enormous investment, when in reality, it’s one of the least expensive ways to make a big difference. The investment of a new kitchen backsplash might cost you $1,000 and $5,000 (depending on size of your kitchen, choice of material and labor), but it can easily bring two or three times that in value to the home. 


Cabinet hardware designs straight from the 90s might have been the first thing you noticed on your weekend tour of homes. Even if your tax return isn’t big this year, we assure you that a small investment in new cabinet knobs and pulls can make your kitchen or bathroom look like a million bucks.

Also, if you are still hanging onto traditional oak or stained cabinets, consider a fresh, white coat of paint to brighten things up. Paint can do wonders in turning a drab bathroom or kitchen into a fab one. We also love color when it comes to cabinets, so don’t be scared to turn existing white cabinets into a nice blue, green or grey. Or, maybe you don’t want to go crazy on color, but your existing cabinets are getting chipped or dingy, we are happy to help you find a matching color to freshen them up. 


Yes, we said countertops. Not all countertops have to cost a fortune. In fact, one of our favorite countertop materials is laminate preformed countertop. Our customers are often surprised when we suggest it, but we absolutely love the drastic change a new Formica or other type of laminate countertop can make in a kitchen that’s in major need of an update. If you haven’t been shopping for countertops lately, you haven’t seen the latest designs, and we’re confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised. At City Home Center, we keep lots of options in stock that are beautiful and modern – and just in your budget. 

Flooring on a Budget

During your open house extravaganza, you may have put floors in a good, bad or ugly category. Often times, homeowners are scared of a floor change, because they assume a new floor means the budget takes a major hit. This is so far from the truth. We put linoleum in the same category as Formica – both words that used to make us think of grandma and now make us do a double take. This year, we’ve seen some of the most amazing patterns in linoleum that have us dreaming of the perfect laundry room or kitchen. So, before you judge Formica and linoleum based on their names, take a look at some of the latest budget-friendly styles available today.   


Maybe you’re not ready to change anything permanently, but you do need to make your home look fresh without any fuss. We have one word – RUGS!  A colorful rug can turn your home from drab to fab. We love rugs in kitchen spaces (nooks or in front of an island), as well as a nice, big colorful rug in a main room that has mostly  neutral furniture. Rugs really do make a house more inviting, and whether you plan to sell or not, you can’t go wrong with a new rug. 


Now, Get Your Refund On

We’ve done our part, so now it’s time to do yours! Finish your tax paperwork and get your refund on! Remember – Spring is time to sell, so our area has lots of open houses coming up for you to check out. Who knows, maybe one will inspire you enough to consider selling your own!