You’ve just moved into your home and you have a to-do list a mile long. So should you take on each and every project that eventually needs to be done right now, or is ok to let some simmer on the back burner? We asked longtime homeowners to share the home fix-ups they regret not conquering right away—before life got in the way.
“We definitely neglected to do this with our most recent move and it took us around 10 times as long to finish our painting because we had to keep moving our boxes from one room to another,” says Ali Fields, who has lived in her Cleveland, Ohio, home for 11 years. “If we had negotiated for early access to the house we would have saved a lot of time, sweat and paint-covered pants.”
2. Invest in landscaping
“I always tell people to create a planting bed or border your property with shrubs, perennials and bulbs right away, especially since we didn’t do this until three years ago,” says Josefina Ruiz, who moved into her New Jersey house in 2004. “In a very short time frame, it will increase the value of your home and its curb appeal.” Your best bet: Research the plants that will do well in the spot on your property and ask an expert at your local nursery for some guidance. In Ruiz’s case, her garden is filled with peonies, Shasta daisies, blazing stars, and gold mound spirea. “We’re now the talk of the block and our garden brings so much joy to all our neighbors. People literally slow down while driving to take in the beauty of our front garden.”
3. Change the locks
“We neglected to do this as the previous homeowners had told us there weren’t spare keys,” Fields says. “They forgot that the realtor’s office still had keys and accidentally showed the place while we were away for the weekend. In the end, it was a small and inconsequential mistake but if we had pets or, if the circumstances were worse, this could have really come back to bite us.”
4. Update the lighting
Not only can existing lighting date your house, these fixtures can be very energy inefficient. “I wish we had updated to new LED lighting because the original lighting fixtures used much more electricity,” says Aaron Bowman who lives in Tolland, Connecticut. “I wish we had replaced our existing lighting with the new technology on the market.”
5. Focus on flooring.
“I would have refinished the hardwoods and installed new floors in the kitchen and bathrooms,” Bowman says. “It brings new life to a room and there are so many great choices for flooring that are waterproof and can be installed in a weekend.”
6. Upgrade the windows.
Ann Bass, who has lived in her Asheville, North Carolina, home for 20 years says replacing windows right away would have been a wise decision. “Initially, the windows were under warranty and the glass would have been covered,” Bass says. “This is something I didn’t know at the time since we didn’t build the house.” In addition, Bass says her French doors were problematic. “They didn’t have a screen, they leaked air and they took up space as the door swung in,” she says. “I wish we had thought of fixing this sooner.”