remodeling advice

A recent issue of Money magazine offered remodeling advice to homeowners.

A recent article in Money magazine offered a number of tips on how to get the best return from your home remodel.  It’s exciting to plan for that new bathroom or kitchen, but before you start, stop and consider how long you will be in your home.   That will have an affect on how much money you should spend.


If you will only be in your home a short while, you’ll want to make sure that when you sell your home you will be able to recoup the cost of any improvements you make.  In this case, look for projects that improve the look and function of your home, but at a minimal investment.  Three projects that are suggested in the magazine article cost under $2000 and have a payoff of at least 90%.  These are:  insulating the attic, replacing the garage door, and replacing the front door.   Look at other projects to improve the curb appeal of your home.  Perhaps you need to repaint, replace a broken sidewalk, or work on your landscape plantings.  Check out our article on how to make your house numbers stand out.  Inside, a minor kitchen remodel cost might be $20,000.  It has a return of 83%.


If you expect to be in your home for a long while, you can afford to indulge in your dreams.  According to Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value Report, 2016”, the cost of a kitchen remodel (midrange) is $60,000.  The estimated return for that project is 65%.  The cost of remodeling a bathroom (upscale) is $57,000, with a return of 58%.  You can use our Bathroom Remodeling Calculator or Kitchen Remodel Calculator to figure out what the estimated costs will be for your project.


Money magazine also suggest that you take a look at the federal energy-efficiency tax credit.  It’s a $500 write-off that expires at the end of 2016.  Energy-saving projects of all sizes qualify.  Replace drafty doors.  For your windows, consider caulking or even installing new ones.  Add insulation to your attic or basement.  Replace old water heaters or furnaces with models that are more energy efficient.  Any of these home improvements will save you money on utility bills as well as qualify for the tax credit.


Solar panels qualify for a different US tax credit.  They pay for themselves within seven to twelve years, so are a great investment if you intend to be in your home for a while.  There are other, less expensive remodeling projects that will also save money on your utility bills.  Consider swapping out your old lights for new LED fixtures.  Install ceiling fans to cut down on the need for air conditioning.  Add energy-efficient window treatments to save on both heating and cooling costs.


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