Refresh your nest: 6 ways to get your home ready for 2024

Key takeaways

  • January is a great time of year to focus on restoring and updating a home for a new start.
  • Agents can offer past clients suggestions for a beginning-of-the-year refresh as a way to stay in touch.
  • Homeowners who are uncertain about whether to sell can benefit from taking a fresh look at their home.
  • Home warranty coverage should be part of every home maintenance checklist.

Turning the calendar page to a new year sends a message to everyone: it's time for a fresh start. Whether that means setting personal goals or starting new routines, January is also an excellent time to focus on your home. Real estate agents can use this time to contact clients to gently suggest home maintenance tasks and ideas for a home refresh, allowing them to check on their plans for a possible move.

If you and your clients aren’t sure where to start, here are a few suggestions to adapt to each individual home.

6 projects to create a fresh slate at home for a new year

No matter how new or old a house is or its current condition, every property needs some tender loving care. Homeowners who tackle the following tasks will start the year with a new appreciation of their home — or perhaps realize that it’s time for some strategic upgrades.

  1. Declutter and organize. When it's time to pack away holiday decorations and find places to display or store new gifts, that's also a good moment to tackle organizing and decluttering. Before pushing baking items back into the pantry, pull out everything from the shelves to check for expiration dates, clean the shelves and reorganize. Do the same with storage closets, clothes closets and the garage. The “keep, ditch, donate or sell" method works well even for people who aren't moving. January sales can be a good time to find bins and boxes to organize items year-round. Homeowners are likely to discover they have more space than they thought when they take the time to declutter. The beginning of the year is also a good time to sort and shred paperwork in preparation for tax season in a few months.
  2. Deep clean. While many homeowners like the idea of a spring cleaning, that feeling of accomplishment can be moved to the beginning of the year. After all, in many places, January weather doesn't lend itself to outdoor activities, and after the holiday season, social schedules typically slow. That's a good time to deep clean cabinets, carpets and closets, wash inside windows and windowsills, vacuum baseboards and more.
  3. Take care of routine tasks. In the flurry of the holiday season, many homeowners skip some basic repairs and maintenance jobs. Real estate agents can send a brief reminder to change the filters on the HVAC, drain the water heater, check the gutters and downspouts, switch the direction of ceiling fans to accommodate heat, and check the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  4. Freshen your décor. Just as people adjust their clothing choices for the season, a home can be updated with a few simple switches. Add soft throws and blankets to couches and chairs for a cozier atmosphere. Use color from a floral arrangement or evergreen plants and change toss pillows for a quick refresh. Sometimes, moving the furniture can provide a new perspective on a room. Switching artwork and family photos can brighten a room, along with a new rug or fresh coat of paint.
  5. Make a great first impression. Winter puts a damper on a home's curb appeal in many locations. But homeowners can upgrade their home's appearance with lights, door decorations and evergreen shrubs, including some with winter berries for extra beauty. In warmer climates, painting the front door, cleaning the landscape and adding flowers are options. Winter can also be a terrific time to plan a spring garden and order seeds and supplies.
  6. Upgrade your energy efficiency. The heating season offers a prime time to check a home's energy use. Install — or learn to use — a programmable thermostat to manage temperature fluctuations. Check for drafts around windows, doors and electrical outlets and seal gaps with caulk. Consider adding insulation around pipes or in the attic or basement. Most utility companies offer a free energy audit, which can generate other energy-saving ideas.

No matter which projects get completed, a home warranty from Cinch provides peace of mind for homeowners and protection from unexpected expenses. What better way to start the new year than with the secure feeling that comes with access to a professional network of contractors to take care of necessary repairs?

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