There are a number of small, inexpensive improvement projects that homeowners can complete independently in just a couple of hours each. For example they can replace bathroom and kitchen faucets with a more modern design, install off-the-shelf storage systems to organize closets, and revamp kitchen cabinets with polished brass, ceramic or hardwood handles.

Homeowners could also repair cracks in plaster walls with joint or vinyl spackling compound, use mesh-tape around doors and windows, and finish with touch up paint. Eliminating over 90 percent of the pet dander, mold, and bacteria in the air is a snap, moreover, by switching a fiberglass air filter for an electrostatic filter. Savings can be gained on heating bills by caulking or weather-stripping windows, doors and baseboards.

Other simple projects include adding a hot water dispenser to a kitchen sink for soup, coffee or tea, tiding up the garage with pegboards, tool mounts, metal shelving and plastic storage bins and installing new ceiling or wall-mounted light fixtures to change the interior mood.