Home Sweet Home

Home Upgrade Guide: DIY Project or Call a Pro?

One of the biggest perks of being a homeowner is customizing and upgrading your space whenever and however you want. Even small projects like a new paint job can transform a room’s look in just one day. However, it can be easy to start a project you think will only take a few days, and it ends up being something way more complicated than you anticipated! Sometimes, it’s just better to start with a professional. 

Below, we’ll break down easy home improvement ideas that you can do in each room of your home and cover the projects requiring professional expertise. While you might think you can pull off more challenging work, many systems in your home can be dangerous without proper training. Use this guide to stay out of harm’s way while upgrading your space. 



Anyone can transform the look of their kitchen without the need for contracted help. With plenty of painter’s tape and patience, painting your cabinets can dramatically change the aesthetic. Cabinet knobs and drawer pulls typically only require a screwdriver to change and can make a subtle, personal upgrade to your cooking area. There are even kits to restore or completely change the look of your countertops in just a few hours. 

Call a Professional 

Any kitchen appliance repair is best left to the experts. Working on your home’s water lines without plumbing experience can lead to larger issues and expensive repairs. This means any dishwasher, garbage disposal, and sink repairs shouldn’t be performed by most homeowners. Whether gas or electric, ovens can be hazardous for amateur repair. Make sure your new appliances include installation with delivery and call a professional when repairs are needed. 

Photo: tulcarion via



There are also endless bathroom upgrades just about anyone can do themselves. A new vanity might be in order, but with some paint, new knobs, and maybe even a new mirror, you can turn any old vanity into something out of a magazine. Wall-attached mirrors are also easy to replace, and with a few standard tools and an extra set of hands, you can upgrade that old mirror with something more your style. Consider a peel-and-stick backsplash option to add a little flair to your bathrooms and match the theme of your home throughout.

Call a Professional

Bathroom repairs that seem straightforward can often be tricky and require a plumber. Consult a professional if you have leaky pipes or want to rearrange fixtures within your bathroom. Other than trying to stop a leak to prevent water damage, any plumbing repairs need to be left to the pros. Most people can regrout a tile shower, but removing and replacing existing tile can be very challenging for beginners. Hire a contractor for any significant bathroom renovations to guarantee quality work. 

Everywhere Else


From living rooms and bedrooms to home offices and entertainment spaces, there are numerous ways to upgrade where you spend the vast majority of your time. Instead of replacing your old carpets, try renting a carpet cleaner to restore what’s already in place. After just one cleaning, dingy carpets will start to look like new. Like backsplashes, peel and stick wallpaper is trendy and an easy way to provide a custom look anywhere in your home. Curtains and blinds are easily replaced and can significantly change the look of a room. If you’d like to try your hand with woodworking, pallet wood accent walls look fantastic and are an easy project for beginners to try. 

Call a Professional

Like kitchens and bathrooms, steering clear of your home’s internal systems is the easiest way to stay safe. An expert should repair any other home appliances like washers and dryers or air conditioners. Changing light fixtures or adding ceiling fans is a job for skilled electricians only. When pressurized water and gas or electricity is involved, it’s best to defer to the pros.

With a little work, you can make dramatic upgrades to your home in a short time. Stick with cosmetic changes, and leave any electric or plumbing issues for professional repair. One project can make all the difference, so start upgrading today!

Home Sweet Home

Do This, Not That: Best Ways to Upgrade Your Home (And What Not To Do)

Want to increase your home’s value? Here are our top 5 house projects, inside and out, that will up your home’s value and increase your day-to-day enjoyment of living in it.

What To Do

  1. Kitchen Appliances (energy-efficient)

One of the first home upgrades we think of when someone says “remodel” is the kitchen. Yes, we love the look of those farmhouse apron sinks and stylish cupboards, but nothing beats an all-around appliance upgrade. Appliances are what make a kitchen functional and your time in it enjoyable. These days, refrigerator options range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, and the same for stoves, dishwashers, and other extras (did someone say built-in espresso machine?). 

So what should you choose when upgrading your kitchen appliances? You don’t need to spend your entire year’s salary on a remodel to increase your home’s value. Go with energy-efficient, sleek, and consistent. Make sure your kitchen has a coherent, modern style with unquestionable function, but don’t go all-out. It’s easy to get all kinds of inspiration from websites like Pinterest! 

  1. Bathrooms

If you can find the space for it in your home’s footprint, adding a bathroom will give you the highest return on the dollar. But even if you’re just looking to upgrade your existing bathrooms, doing so will add instant resale value. A new vanity and mirror, or even just a fresh coat of paint, go a long way here. 

  1. Basement 

Finish that basement. You’ll add to the square footage of your house, giving you and the future occupant more living space or even the option to create a room for rent or an apartment for an aging relative!

  1. Energy Efficiency 

Boost your home’s energy efficiency by upgrading insulation in the walls and attic (or installing insulation where there previously was none). You’ll reduce your energy bills and appeal to prospective buyers who are looking to do the same. 

  1. Curb Appeal 

As we’ve mentioned above, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in making a home look modern and well-kept. Add landscaping to this list for curb appeal. Trim shrubs and plant a couple dozen water-wise plants to bring aesthetic appeal to your front yard. Again, it doesn’t have to be the most elaborate landscaping design and expensive hardscape features. Keep the outside looking good, and buyers assume the insides are just as well-maintained and attractive. 

We’ll also throw in a note about decks, while we’re outside. Decks add square footage without as much of a cost investment as adding another room, so they can be a great outdoor upgrade to increase your home’s value, as well.

Photo: JohnnyGreig via

What Not to Do

Basically, the what-not-to-do list can be summed up as “don’t go deluxe.”

Don’t go all out with the fanciest, most expensive hardware, appliances, and finishes unless it’s just something you can’t live without while you still call this house your home. Most buyers don’t want to pay extra for something they consider unnecessary, so those high-end bathroom fixtures probably won’t add to your home’s overall value.

Getting Started

Remember, these upgrades can increase your own enjoyment of your home while you’re still living in it – so you don’t have to wait until you’re ready to put your house on the market! And you don’t have to go deluxe to see the benefit of these upgrades. If, or when, you sell, you’ll recoup a lot of the cost in the value you’ve added to your home, and in the meantime, you’ll enjoy a little added comfort and aesthetic pleasure.

Financial Success

Buying A House? Get A Mortgage With Extra $ For Renos

Buying a home and becoming a homeowner is an exciting time in life that requires you to know a bit about the steps to get into your new home and the types of mortgages available.

A great option available is the Purchase Plus Improvements Program  (PPI) which allows you to make improvements to your home immediately after taking possession of the purchased property. 

Here’s how it works:

When applying for a Purchase Plus improvements mortgage, your application needs to include a contractor’s quote for the improvements you’d like to make. This step is done upfront with the offer to purchase the home. 

The contractor’s quote does not mean we need to specify exactly what materials will be used, but just more generally what will be improved along with the cost. For example:

  • Kitchen: New cabinetry, countertops, sinks and faucets, flooring, paint and backsplash.
  • Bathrooms: New toilet, paint, flooring and vanity.
  • Basement: Finished or partially finished including flooring, drywall, mudding and paint, ceiling and lighting. 

After the home purchase is complete, you need to come up with the funds to pay for the improvements, and then after the improvements are finished, the Financial Institution will release the improvement funds back to you from the mortgage. The contract work typically needs to be completed within 90 days. 

Speak with one of our North Peace Savings and Credit Union Advisors who can see if a Purchase Plus Program is right for you. 

Get started today! Contact an NPSCU Financial Advisor at 1-877-787-0361