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Home Improvement Projects That Add Value

By Tabitha Naylor

Home improvement projects can be a two way street -- the right project can add value to your home, and the wrong one can actually make your home less attractive to potential buyers. It's important to understand what projects tend to draw the best return on your improvement investments.

Some of the best improvements you can make that add value to your home are energy-related projects you can do yourself.

Windows

If your home is old and has a lot of drafty windows consider replacing your existing windows with energy efficient windows. Energy-star rated windows and thermal pane windows are possible choices. You may even qualify for rebates in addition to being able to claim a green energy credit of 10% on your taxes.

Lighting

Another simple update that can add value to your home is to replace all fixed lighting (ceiling lighting) with LED lamps to cut down the overall energy costs of the home.

Insulation

If your home is not well insulated you can make your home more appealing and energy efficient with some simple, inexpensive changes. Add extra insulation to your attic, seal all cracks around the house, including all doors and windows, electrical sockets, light switches, and ducts. Adding a programmable thermostat will also add value by allowing greater automated control of heating and cooling. If you also need to update or replace your hot water heater think about adding a tankless hot water unit. These inexpensive improvements will save hundreds of dollars a year on the energy costs of the home making your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Energy Efficient Appliances

If it is time to replace one or more of your appliances replace them with energy star, energy efficient appliances. With rebates and tax credits this green improvement will add value by reducing overall energy use.

Painting

Painting is one of the best improvement projects you can undertake. Fresh paint for the interior of your home can really brighten it up and exterior painting or siding replacements add value in terms of curb appeal.

Kitchen Remodels

Kitchen remodels can recoup between 60%-120% of your investment according to HGTV. The caveat here is that the remodel should maintain the same style of the house. It shouldn't go overboard with tons of high-end features. People won't pay for the high-end improvements but the will pay for the basic facelift.

Bathroom Additions

If your home only has one or one and half baths then adding another full or half bath can add a lot of value to your home. Experts advise you can recoup between 80% and 130% of the costs to add a bathroom. Look at extra rooms or under-utilized areas of your home for the addition. It could even be an old closet. When remodeling or adding a bathroom keep it simple and clean. Additions of Jacuzzi tubs do not add value and can even be a turn-off to prospective buyers.

Deck Addition

With more and more families taking stay at home vacations, outdoor living spaces have become very popular. Adding a deck and upgrading your backyard can significantly improve the appeal of your home to prospective buyers. The addition of a nice deck area to your home can recoup between 65% and 90% of the money you invest in building the deck. Part of this includes landscaping or making the backyard an appealing place to spend time but don't get caught up in extravagant landscaping for the back or the front. Again, simple clean, landscaping is sufficient. Some people can see exotic or high end lawns as a maintenance headache and an increased cost of ownership because it will require a lawn maintenance service to keep it looking perfect.

Conclusion

Improvements that add the most value to your home are those that can reduce overall energy costs, provide outdoor living spaces or improve your kitchen or bathroom situation. Adding pools and sunrooms do not generally add value to your home. Many people see them as a disadvantage unless the property is located in the sunbelt, because a pool costs money to heat and maintain, and sunrooms with windows, and a lack of insulation, make a home more expensive to heat.

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