Home Improvements That Can Pay Off

Dated: February 27 2018

Views: 3271

Whether you’re planning to put your home on the market soon or simply want to make improvements to help its value keep pace with prices in the neighborhood, there are some home improvements that will boost your home’s looks, livability, and list price at sale time.

And, if you want to increase your return on renovation and repair projects even more, it might make sense to do some or all of the work yourself. But that isn’t always an option, especially for complicated or costly projects that could impact the aesthetics, safety, or structural integrity of your home. But there are some steps you can take to increase your odds of DIY success.

Projects Should Start with Planning 

If you’re tackling a task you’ve never done before, take some extra time to plan and prepare. Think through a project and research requirements, such as permits you might need to build a new deck or neighborhood guidelines for fences.

Then make a complete list before venturing to the hardware store and buy extras of any small items you’re likely to run out of at inconvenient times. You can always return unused items later. You may also want to buy extra materials to perfect your skills, especially for high-visibility projects.

As HomeAdvisor suggests, you may want to do a test run before committing to a DIY project. "For instance, when installing tile, buy an old table at a thrift store, lay down some guides rods (wooden dowels do the trick) and practice laying it before installing it. Or when painting rooms, start with the smallest area first to see how the paint color looks and to gain some hands-on training before moving on to the kitchen or living room."

And, think about it this way: You’ll spend less on a thrift store table and extra tiles than you would to tear out sloppily laid tile in your kitchen or bathroom and start again, or admit DIY defeat and call a contractor to redo a repair or renovation project.

Despite all the planning and preparation, some projects can prove overwhelming for the handiest homeowner. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to call a pro, even if you’ve already started the project. You can save money and time by doing demo work and otherwise preparing the renovation or repair site. You may also be able to cut costs by serving as your own project manager for larger jobs and taking care of tasks such as scheduling subcontractors and supply deliveries.

Spend Smart When It Comes to Home Improvements

When planning projects, it’s also worth considering which home improvements will offer the best return on investment regardless of whether you do the work yourself or hire help from a service professional.

For example, potential buyers still respond to a coordinated kitchen. If you’re looking for a low-cost DIY project, consider adding a fresh coat of neutral paint to the walls, cabinets, or both. And exchange existing hardware with new knobs and the like. Those with bigger budgets might want to invest in stainless steel appliances and new professionally installed flooring and countertops.

Consumer Reports also recommends making improvements that will increase energy efficiency. Any homeowner who can change a light bulb can start by replacing conventional bulbs with LED options. And installing a programmable thermostat is a manageable DIY project for many homeowners. For a more extensive upgrade, consider buying energy-efficient windows or a new water heater, which might be an even smarter investment if you plan to stay in the home for a while because you’ll save on utility bills. Plus, your utility provider might offer rebates to cover part of the cost of energy-efficiency upgrades.

So, whether you want to take on an inexpensive DIY home improvement or call a contractor and invest in a significant upgrade, there are several options that could boost your home’s resale value and maybe even help you save money in the meantime.

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Rachel Tiller

I am the team leader for The Prime Team with Keller Williams Realty and have been a Realtor since 2011. Real estate is my passion, whether it is helping people buy, sell, build, or invest. It doesn't ....

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