Home Improvement ROI

Because a home is still one of the biggest investments most people will make, it pays to spend a little money and time protecting its value. According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report, home repairs and remodeling are still worth the investment. Big projects such as adding an additional room or outdoor deck will generally offer the best return. However, big home improvement projects come with big price tags, so it’s smart to weigh your options.

No matter the project size, the key is to have a plan and a budget. Create a detailed spending plan and don’t forget to budget for incidentals such as equipment rentals and delivery charges. For large projects, consider the cost of contractors and permits.

Taking good care of your home can help you avoid costly repairs down the road, so if nothing else consider small projects that help to maintain efficient functioning. For a big impact with little cost, consider the following home improvement projects:

Fix what’s broken. Basic repairs may not be as exciting as adding on a new room or installing a pool, but may be the most practical choice for your weekend do-it-yourself project. Visit your local home improvement store and take classes to learn how to repair a leaky faucet or toilet, replace electrical outlets, fix a squeaky door or floor board, as well as many other general home improvement projects.

Focus on first impressions. Fresh paint and a few flowers can be purchased for a minimal cost, but curb appeal can go a long way in creating a cozy finished look for your home. Keep gutters and shingles secure. Consider replacing windows with energy efficient material to save big on utility cost.

Consider the wet areas. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most common value-add remodeling projects. Both spaces offer an opportunity to either start really small with new facets and lighting to really large expansion projects. Simple do-it-yourself improvement projects for these areas include adding new hardware to cabinets, retiling the floor or countertops, and freshening up the walls with new paint and wallpaper.

Finally, update old appliances to more energy efficient models. The cost to use appliances can quickly outweigh the purchase price, so it pays to buy energy efficient models and save big on utility cost. Visit EnergyStar.gov to learn more about energy efficient appliances and available grant programs in your area.

Tanisha (Warner) Smith is a former communications manager at MMI.

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