Tax Return Burning a Hole In Your Pocket? 5 Ways You Can Use It to Boost Equity

There’s nothing like getting a return from the IRS. I swear, even if it’s $10, I feel like I won the lottery because at least I don’t owe. What’s more exciting is that even $10 is enough to allow you to put equity into your home. For $10 you buy some paint and a brush and paint your front door a bright new hue. But what if you got a little bit more? Well, here are some other ways you can put some equity into your home with that refund.

Service your HVAC.

This is something many homeowners forego until it’s too late. I was one of those homeowners until this past winter in Northern Kentucky when the temps dropped to -20 and my heat pump seemed to drop off the planet.

After calling a technician it was discovered that our Emergency Heat, a setting on heat pumps which is used when it gets too cold for them to function, was not connected properly and when we had it “on” the previous 3 years we were in the house, we were not really using it.

Most HVAC systems are not in bad shape but yearly servicing can help them stay alive longer and stay efficient costing you less money in the long run. Not to mention that when you go to sell your home and buyers see that you’ve had it serviced and cleaned, they will value that information versus a home where the sellers did not maintain their system.

Extra Credit: Still have some money left? Get intelligent and upgrade your thermostat to a new smart thermostat. Ones like the Nest, ecobee, and the Honeywell T-series are attractive to many new home buyers who are already connected via Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Make an extra payment on your mortgage.

Equity is the amount of home you don’t owe any money on. It’s also called the interest in your home. Unless your home is already paid off, make an additional payment on your mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit. By having more paid off, the thought is, when you go to sell, you will get more back instead of your lender.

Another benefit of this is that if you have an FHA or other low down payment mortgage and your extra payment allows you to have 20% equity in your home, meaning you own 20% of it and the bank owns 80% or less via the mortgage, you can refinance and potentially get rid of that pesky PMI. PMI, or private mortgage insurance is just a payment you make to protect the lender in the event you default on your loan. Get rid of this and you can save 1-2% of your home’s value.

Get the carpets cleaned.

I’m not one for shoes on the carpet but even without, our carpets get gross. With recent Northern Kentucky weather, especially if you have carpet in hallways and on stairs, the wear and tear these areas take from constant traffic can make them look twice as old as they really are. A lot of local companies like Mella Carpet Cleaning offer specials throughout the year and they are very highly rated.

Clean the Windows/Siding.

Cleaning them yourself or hiring a company to do so is your choice. Some siding, like aluminum siding can be difficult if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Make sure you check with professionals about how your siding should be cleaned. Pressure washers can do damage to some siding. And wood siding is a whole other story. DIY cleaners can be found at your local hardware store. Mella also does windows and siding as well as a number of other companies. Angie’s List is a great resource to begin your search for a reputable company.

Invest in your landscape.

Homes in Northern Kentucky range historical character to same design on either side. Whichever you prefer or currently live in, you can spruce it up with some landscaping and change the whole look and feel with a few bushes, trees, and flowers.

Even cutting your grass or investing in good lawn equipment can help you increase equity in your home. When you go to sell, you’ll want to have great curb appeal.

Prices range from Kia to Rolls Royce and there are many companies locally that can help you get a start and help you maintain. Even removing a tree or two can help build equity. Case in point: trees that have branches that reach over the roof tend to wear a roof out faster. Branches can destroy shingles and all it takes is one severe storm to knock that pine into your home. Here is a great post about the damage trees can do to your home if they are too close.

After all of this if you’re curious to see what equity you may have in your home, give me a call at 859-667-2463 or email me at

Erica Wisher, Successfully Managing Real Estate Transactions
Erica Wisher, REALTOR
Successfully Managing Real Estate Transactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *