Thursday, July 8, 2010

Remodeling: Get the most bang for your buck

One of the most common questions asked about remodeling a home is where to put your money. For most people unlimited funds aren't exactly the norm so at some point you have to decide where to focus your attention and budget. So what can you do to get the most return on your home improvement investment? The answer isn't completely black and white, factors like location, time of year, and current market temperature come into play but typically there are areas that will give you more return for your investment than others.

The National Association of Realtors and Remodeling Magazine publish a cost vs. value report each year and this offers us some insight into the debate.

The most straightforward way to add equity to your home is to add square footage. Basement finishing and additions are always an option to create a good return. The best part about investing money in these options is the benefit to you in the meantime. Who wouldn't want that entertainment and bar area for their pool table and pub fantasies or that extra room to house the in-laws or contain moody teenager's messes! By adding square footage you can make your dream walk in closet and 5 piece bath a reality or create an amazing culinary space that chefs would drool over, the options are endless.

Next up on the list are kitchens! According to the cost vs. value reports, kitchens return nearly 100%! This is where people spend a good majority of their time, this is where the entertaining takes place and is an area that makes a huge impact on the look and feel of the home. New cabinetry and appliances will eat up a good portion of your budget but there are options in this department. There are plenty of affordable cabinet lines out there and there are scratch n dent appliance centers nationwide that can save you a lot of money. Flooring and countertops come in next and as you can imagine there's more variety here than you can fathom.

You may have heard the saying that "kitchens and bathrooms sell houses" and there is a lot of truth in that. Bathrooms are next up on the list offering in a lot of cases more than 100% return on the investment. Best part about bathrooms is that they move pretty quickly and don't put the homeowner out too much in the meantime considering that most homes have more than 1 bathroom to use. Some simple updates like new flooring and fixtures and a fresh coat of paint go a long way.

Not to be forgotten is the outside of the home. Patio covers, decks, and other outdoor living areas are often neglected as home improvement options. These types of projects add bonus selling points for homeowners. And don't neglect the landscaping and fencing options out there.

If you're leary to start these major projects there are plenty of other things to do that will add value to your home. Simple repairs and updates are something that any homeowner should consider throughout the duration of owning your home. Fresh paint, drywall repairs, updated lighting fixtures and sinks give the home a facelift. New flooring throughout the home can make a big difference on a lighter budget.

Last but not least are new roofs and windows, these will extend the longevity of the home and can be done on a short timeline. And no one will be complaining about the savings on energy bills!

As always make sure you employ a reputable contractor for your home improvement projects or you won't be seeing ANY return on your investments! The bigest mistake homeowners make during this process is taking the cheapest bid that they receive. Remember they are cheap for a reason!! Reputable contractors have a bottom dollar that they can work with, plain and simple, going any lower isn't possible so always question the low ball offers and do your homework. You don't want a con artist walking away with your home investment!

~5280 Lady


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