Home Improvement – Make Smart Choices

Home improvement

Home improvement is one of the basic responsibilities of being a homeowner. Upkeep and repairs ensure that your home functions well, but renovations like redoing the bathroom or adding an extra bedroom can add value and increase resale prospects should you ever decide to sell. But it’s important to make wise choices when it comes to home improvements so that you don’t end up overextending yourself or wasting money on upgrades that won’t retain their value.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, spending on home improvement projects has risen since hitting bottom during the recession. That’s especially true for homeowners over the age of 55. The reason? Rock-bottom interest rates have made the cost of borrowing to pay for improvements far more attractive than in the past.

But while there are plenty of reasons to make home improvements — from keeping your house in good repair to improving its curb appeal — some projects are more worthwhile than others. That’s why it’s important to research home improvement trends, statistics and project returns before you sign a contract with a contractor.

A few smart upgrades can make your home feel brand new without breaking the bank. Some of the most popular projects include painting, re-facing cabinets, installing new light fixtures and replacing vanities and toilets. The best part is, you can do most of these updates for just a few hundred dollars.

Increasing energy efficiency is another popular way to improve your home while saving money. Upgrades like new windows, a heat pump or added insulation can decrease utility bills and make your home more appealing to buyers down the line.

Of course, some projects simply can’t be put off. Electrical problems or roof leaks, for example, are serious issues that should be addressed to keep you and your family safe and avoid potential costly damage to your home. Other repairs and improvements should also be made as soon as possible to avoid major costs down the road and to help maintain your home’s value.

When it comes to making upgrades, there’s no substitute for doing your homework. A few home improvement books or online searches can provide you with a wealth of ideas for your next project. Just be sure to use reputable sources and only trust those with experience and a good track record. And, of course, always establish a payment schedule with your contractor before starting work. Be sure to withhold final payments until the job is done and all required inspections and certificates of occupancy are obtained. With proper planning, the right home improvements can boost your property’s resale value and enhance your quality of life at the same time.