3 Home Upgrades I Wish I'd Made Sooner

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 8, 2021

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A father and son stand inside a home improvement store, looking at lumber.

Image source: Getty Images

These home improvements have enhanced my quality of life. I only wish I hadn't put them off so long.

Owning a home is hardly an inexpensive prospect, considering your monthly mortgage payments. But you also have other expenses of home ownership to deal with, like:

As such, it's often the case that home improvements have to be put on the back burner.

At this point, I've been in my home for about 12 years, and there are a number of upgrades I've made since moving in. But here are a few more recent improvements I wish I would've made sooner.

1. Having a standby generator installed

My neighborhood tends to experience a lot of power outages. These are inconvenient on many levels, and when you work from home like I do, they can also cost you when you're not able to do your job until the power comes back on.

For years, I struggled with frequent outages until finally I snapped and got a quote for a standby generator, which taps into your gas line and gets turned on automatically when the power goes out. Some standby generators have the ability to power an entire house, and that's the type I opted to have installed.

Now, power outages aren't an issue. When the lights go out, it takes about 25 seconds for the generator to kick in, and from there, it's business as usual.

2. Fencing in my backyard

When I first moved into my home with no kids and a tiny dog, I didn't feel compelled to fence in my yard. Not only was I more apt to walk the dog than simply let him out, but if I wanted to release him into the yard, all I had to do was put up a series of baby gates on our patio to keep him from escaping.

I considered getting a fence once I had children but kept delaying it, opting to either save my money or spend it on other things. It wasn't until we adopted a 70-pound dog last year that I took the plunge and sprung for a six-foot fence.

That fence has been a game-changer. Now, I can let my kids run around in the yard without having to watch over them like a hawk. Plus, that fence keeps deer and other animals out of my yard, which means if we want to grow vegetables in our garden, we have a greater chance of success.

3. Getting a glass door for my shower

My bathroom has a walk-in shower with a curtain to prevent water from getting out. Only water did get out. Frequently.

After dealing with that for many years, I finally begged my husband to go to the home improvement store, buy a glass door, and install it. Now, I don't have to fight with a shower curtain or scrub grungy grime off the bottom of one. But since this upgrade was relatively inexpensive, costing just a few hundred dollars, I feel silly for not having done it sooner.

The money you spend on home improvements is money you won't have available for other things, so it's important to choose your upgrades wisely. But all of the above items have really made home life more pleasant, so putting them off was a mistake.

If you want to make home improvements but don't have the cash to pay for them, there are different options you can explore. For one thing, you can look at borrowing against your home via a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC). You can also consider taking out a renovation loan. Home upgrades can increase the value of your property in addition to enhancing your quality of life, so it pays to explore the ways you can finance them affordably.

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