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.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.