Home Improvement Tips: Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Reasons for A Redo

Home improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.

You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.

Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.

You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.

Your family has grown and you need more space.

Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?

Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.

And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.

You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:

Adding or remodelling a bath

Improving the kitchen

Adding a new room

Landscaping

Adding a bedroom

Adding or enclosing a garage.

If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.

Home Maintenance versus Home Improvements

It’s unfortunate that some home improvement projects are undertaken because something has broken. Replacing a leaky bathtub may be the first step to a major bath remodeling: since the tub has to be replaced anyway, why not do the whole room?

While that might be a legitimate reason to remodel, avoid basing your home improvement projects on immediate needs. You’ll be better off if you minimize problems with proper maintenance. Examine every part of your home at least once a year. Check the roof, the plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. As soon as become aware of a problem, fix it. Making repairs when you’re first aware of them will help you avoid larger expenses later on. Keep in mind that maintenance does not add to the value of your home. Usually repairs are not improvements; they are necessities.

Hiring Professionals May Save You Time and Money

It should go without saying that home projects can be expensive, so you may be tempted to tackle them yourself as a way to save money. That may be a smart move for small projects. You won’t have to wait for someone to fit your house into their busy schedule, and you can boast about having done the work yourself.

But unless you’re very versatile, major home improvements are better left to professionals. If you decide to remodel the kitchen and plan to do the work yourself, will you be able to handle the plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work on your own?. And don’t forget that you’ll need to finish it quickly, because you won’t have a kitchen as long as it’s a “work in process” and eating three meals a day in restaurants could get expensive. Keep in mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time. And you’ll be responsible for getting all the necessary permits and inspections.

Hiring people who have the required experience can save you money and time, too. For example, these professionals can help you get a custom look using stock products, and that can be a significant savings. Getting something done right the first time will give you value that lasts for years.

To find qualified and dependable home improvement specialists, check with friends, business associates, and neighbours for recommendations. Always get at least three references, and check them out thoroughly. Also check with the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Their numbers can be found in the community services section of your telephone book.

Once you’ve located the necessary home improvement specialists, make sure everyone is in agreement about the design, the schedule, and the budget, and get the details down in writing in a signed contract.

It’s also wise to check on professional certifications and licenses, where required, and be certain that the contractors you hire are fully insured and bonded. Your town or city Building Department can provide that information. And it’s very important that you make sure contractors carry workers’ compensation insurance: if workers are injured on the job, you won’t be liable if the contractor is covered. Request copies of their insurance certificates. And make sure that either you or your contractor have gotten any necessary permits before the work begins. Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for information.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the professionals you may need to work with when you remodel your home:

Architect: Architects design homes or additions from the foundation to the roof. If your project will require structural changes such as adding or removing walls, or if the design is complex, you will probably need an architect. Since architects may charge an hourly or a flat fee, make sure you get an estimate of the total cost: drawing up the plans for a major remodeling project can take 80 hours or more.

Contractor: The contractor oversees the home improvement project, including hiring and supervising workers, getting the necessary permits, making sure inspections are done as needed, and providing insurance for work crews. It’s always a good idea to get proposals from one or more reputable contractors, based on the specific details of your project.

Be sure each contractor bids on exactly the same plan so that you can compare their bids more easily. When you’ve chosen a contractor, make sure the contract specifies that you will pay in stages. You’ll usually pay one third when the contract is signed so that the contractor can buy supplies. The number and timing for making the remaining payments will depend on the size of the project. Do not make the final payment until all the work is successfully completed, inspected, and approved.

Interior Designers: Interior designers are specialists who will provide advice on furnishings, wall coverings, colors, styles, and more. They help save you time by narrowing your selection, and save money because they usually receive professional discounts from their suppliers. When meeting with an interior designer, be sure to tell them about your personal style and preferences. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour, or you may be able to negotiate a flat fee of approximately 25% of the total project cost.

Raise Your Home’s Value With Home Improvements

With home values on the decline throughout the country, many are turning to remodeling and home improvement projects to boost their home’s value. The following are a few of the projects homeowners can undertake to help raise their homes’ values.

With the economy slumping, buyers aren’t as interested in real estate bells and whistles as they are in home improvements that can lead to lower repair and utility costs in the future. Upgrading from traditional low cost vinyl siding to fiber-cement siding or foam-backed vinyl, while expensive, can lead to utility savings where owners will male back 80 – 88% of the siding’s cost in the home’s value. Even just replacing old vinyl siding with new, which can usually be done for just under $10,000, can raise a home’s value by around $8,000.

Replacing your homes windows can also substantially lower heating and cooling bills while increasing a home’s value. Replacing old windows with new more efficient ones can bring back a return of investment of nearly 80% as well as attract prospective buyers.

Bathroom remodels are a slightly higher cost project to undertake, sometimes upwards of $50,000, but owners can usually recoup about 70 percent of the cost in the home’s value.

Major kitchen remodels are perhaps the most time consuming and costly of home improvement projects, averaging anywhere from $100,000 to $125,000, but, as kitchens are generally the most used room in a home, it can also lead to the largest rise in a home’s value. Owners who remodel their kitchens typically see their home’s value rise about 70 percent of the cost of the project. Minor kitchen remodels are less expensive projects, and can usually lead to an almost 80 percent recoup of investment.

Adding a deck to a home is another way to improve a home’s value, especially as the slumping economy forces many families to cut their entertainment spending and spend more time at home. The average price of installing a composite deck is about $37,500, 62 percent of which can be recouped in the value of a home. A lesser expensive wood deck can be added for around $10,000, and owners can typically expect to recoup more than 80 percent when the home sells.

Adding a bedroom to a home is a sure way to increase the value, whether by expensive room addition, or by converting an attic into a bedroom. Owners who go the attic-conversion route usually see a return of their investment of 75 percent.

Many homes in areas that allow basements are sold with the basement serving as little more than a storm shelter. The walls are unfinished and flooring is basically the concrete-top of the foundation. Refinishing these basements into usable rooms is usually not that expensive as there is typically no demolition and repair needed. Owners can expect to see a return of investment around 70 – 75 percent when they finish a basement, depending on what type of room it creates and how extensive the work.

Before undertaking any home-improvement projects, owners should always take their time, shopping around for any financing they may need, carefully selecting a reputable contractor, and, perhaps most importantly, speaking with real estate and tax experts to determine the impact the improvements will have on property taxes.

How to Avoid Common Home Renovation Mistakes

Even the most experienced homeowners might make a mistake during his or her renovation project. Sometimes, the mistakes are harmless and easily avoidable. At other times, they could be costly and even lethal. Without understanding the common pitfalls of home renovation, you might find yourself in a bit of a pinch. Listed below are some friendly reminders of what to watch out for in your home renovation projects.

– Falling from ladders
A startling statistic is that over 150,000 Americans end up in the emergency room every year due to some variation of accidents involving ladders. Therefore, it is always important to use a ladder of the correct length, thus ensuring maximum stability and security. Also make sure there are no hazardous objects in the environment. In the case that you do fall from the ladder, at least you will not land on anything potentially dangerous.

– Incorrect measurements
Accuracy is a key component to home improvement. That is why you should always make sure the measurement unit is the correct one, as well as counting every last inch.

– Damaging water pipes and electrical wiring
The pipes are wiring are among the most fundamental aspects of your household.Before you start implementing nails and screw into your walls or floors, make sure your water pipes are completely protected. Otherwise, you may see yourself calling an emergency plumber just for hanging a new bathroom mirror in the wrong place.

To identify where your wiring and piping components are, you can use a wire and pipe detector that is available at most plumbing hardware stores. The detector is not completely foolproof though, so you should also use insulated handles and power tools with a circuit breaker. When in doubt, contracting a plumber for professional and high-quality services is your best bet.

– Permits
Most renovation and remodeling projects require a government permit. Always do research first before partaking any project, because you might be breaking the law! These permits are convenient and easily accessible. Their purpose is to inform the government of your activities so that the proper safety measures can take place.

– Falling fixtures
You must be extremely cautious when installing wall-mounted items, such as shelves, mirrors, and cabinets. They could fall down and injure someone, or break other valuable ornaments in the household. To prevent these accidents from happening, you should always use the correct length of screw, bolts, and fittings. Minimize the possibility of accidents for as much as possible.

– Uneven shelves
When planning a do-it-yourself project that requires a level surface, do not solely trust your eye judgment, which may give you some unsatisfactory results. Use a level if you want to hang shelves or pictures on the wall. This will ensure that your wall-mounted items are even and levelled.

While these home renovation tips are useful, the best way to avoid common home improvement mistakes is simply plan ahead and do lots of preparations beforehand. If you are cautious, your renovation project will most likely go without many errors. Just remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Popular Home Improvements

Many home owners have been showing so much interest in improving their homes in the last few years. Most of them have already executed varying improvement projects for their homes and have been appreciating the results of this fruitful undertaking. Home improvement not only helps in raising the value of a home but also brings out a better and more attractive look for the home. This makes the owners feel more comfortable and confident with the place.

There are varying home improvement ideas that are available and ready for execution. The size and design of your house matters a lot and this can actually hinder you from applying some of the ideas. Within those varying ideas, there are a number of them that can be applied in most homes because of their usefulness and ease of design. They are the popular home improvements. The list below shows those improvements and can be used as a guide for choosing the best home improvements to go with.

1. Upgrading bathrooms and kitchens

With the increasing rise in technology, many bathroom and kitchen appliances are continuously being developed. Some of the appliances are oh so useful and economical. This makes them require a certain setup that cannot be accommodated by the old school room designs. This raises the need for a makeover on those places. New and highly attractive bathroom and kitchen designs that raise the value of a home are also coming up at a high rate, and this is making many home owners opt to go with those designs as they are truly elegant.

2. Using boilers

Boilers are highly valued assets that are continuously gaining fame and use because of the benefits they bring to home owners. Acquiring and installing them requires a good sum of money and this forces the value of a home to rise immediately after a boiler is installed. Apart from new installations, people are also replacing their old boilers with new ones that are more expensive and coming from reputable companies.

3. Double glazing

Many homeowners have been replacing their old windows with the double glazed ones due to a number of reasons. Double glazed windows are good at reducing noise and heat transfer. They are also important in improving home security as well as enhancing its value. This makes double glazing an important feature for homes and has thus been gaining a great acceptance and application by the people.

4. Home garden makeover

A home garden is an important part of the home’s face. Having a decent garden helps in creating a better image of the home and in turn raises its value. The home also becomes more attractive and this is something that every home owner wants. Being an easier and more economical way of improving the overall homestead, garden makeover is a very useful step and has thus been considered to be part of the popular home improvements that have been trending.

Conclusion

Home improvement is, in most cases, appearing to be an economical project that is better than launching new building projects from scratch. With a good budget, improving your home remains easy and timely enough. All the home improvements above are easy projects that can help in taking your home a level higher.