BOSTON (CBS) – Your home may be the largest asset you own! You do need to maintain it and protect your asset. Add value to your home and enhance your lifestyle at the same time by investing in your home.

Consider a home energy audit. Cost up to $300. It will show you where the heat leaks are and where insulation will help. It will also let you know how much energy you will be able to save if you do some simple things.

The fastest and cheapest way to update up a house is paint. Now for $3,000 you are not going to get your whole house painted, but you can buy the paint and do it yourself. We have a friend that did painted a side of his house every year for four years. Took off 5 years and started the process again. It was never an overwhelming project.

Paint protects your investment so don’t skimp here. Buy the best paint, take your time and do it right. Scrape, sand and prime before the first gallon of paint is opened.

Think interior next. Bright colors lift your spirits. Paint walls, woodwork, doors and even cabinets for a fresh new look. If you are talented paint murals in the kids’ rooms.

A new front door and porch lights can make a dramatic difference!

While we’re looking at the outside how about some landscaping. Another do it yourself project here. Dig out all of the overgrown shrubs. Plant some flowering shrubs, a couple of fast growing trees, like river birch, add bark mulch to make it maintenance free and you have a new look for the front yard.

What about those drafty windows? You had plastic covering them all winter. How about replacing them? You won’t be able to do a whole house but you can make a dent. What about a new water heater or simply insulating the old one? Purchase compact florescent light bulbs. They are a bit more upfront but will save you money in the long run.

If you have old carpeting consider replacing it. Do you have wood floors under there? They may only need a coat of urethane to look new!

We head to the kitchen next. What can you do here for $3,000? Well some new energy efficient appliances; a refrigerator, dishwasher and a counter cook top can be had for under $3,000. You can add a toaster, microwave, coffee maker and a mixer and still come in under budget. And you can get everything color coordinated.

You can update a bathroom for $3,000. You can get a new sink and toilet and have them installed. Install a new vanity or get a new counter top. Learn to tile and you can have a new floor as well. Put up a shower door or take down an old one. Home Depot and Lowes both have classes to learn about installing floors.

Lights for above the bathroom mirror can be found for under $100. Get an electrician to install them unless you really know what you are doing. Purchase new towels and a shower curtain to finish it off.

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