Valuable Home Improvement Investments

Not all home improvements add value to your home. Some improvements, in fact, can detract from your home's marketability. When you are looking to increase the value of your home, keep the rules of real estate in mind. Aim for improvements that increase your home's safety and energy efficiency. Next, take on projects in kitchens and bathrooms. Avoid any improvements that are customized, and keep the market value in mind as you go.

Safety and Efficiency Improvements

If your home is not up to building code in any way, then it is wise to make adjustments to the safety of the property as an investment in the home value. Safety improvements include new electric wiring, new roofing, foundation work and improvements to plumbing. You may wish to have a building inspector come view your property to recommend these changes and provide quotes for the projects. Efficiency improvements make your home less costly to operate. These include new windows, changes to heating and cooling systems and installation of Energy Star appliances.

Improvements to Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms represent the largest potential for increasing the value of your home. Spending money painting walls or improving other rooms should always be secondary to allocating funds toward kitchen and bathroom remodels. Of course, you want to create a reasonable budget for the projects even in these high-return areas.

After kitchens and bathrooms, the biggest returns on investment will come through: upgrading flooring and lighting, finishing a basement, finishing an attic and upgrading curb appeal and landscaping.

Avoid Over Personalizing

Even if you are putting money into an area of your home that offers high return on investment, making choices that are too personal will end up costing you money. For example, when you are selecting flooring, you may personally like the look and feel of slate. However, on a whole, the market prefers tile or hardwood in the vast majority of rooms. Personal choices like brightly colored counter tops can also decrease your home's marketability in the future.

Additionally, aim to keep the home true to its original style. For example, placing a vintage kitchen in a modern home will decrease the return on the investment; likewise, placing a modern kitchen in a period home may cost you money when it is time to sell.

Avoid Over Spending

You need to be aware of the total potential earnings on any investment in order to budget properly. On the whole, this depends on the market where your home is located. Being the most expensive home in the neighborhood rarely brings you big dollars when it is time to sell. Instead, you may aim for the middle or close to the top of your market without overpricing your neighborhood. Asking a realtor for market comparable options may be one way to determine approximate values. You can also look through real estate listings to see what your competition looks like and how much people are spending in your area. Aim to match or only slightly exceed the comparable options you find.

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