How to Get the Most Out of Your Home Improvement Budget

Home improvement is a big industry and there are many benefits to investing in projects that improve your home. From energy efficiency upgrades to adding more living space, there are plenty of options for making your home a more comfortable and attractive place. But before you begin any project, make sure to talk to a real estate professional and ask what kinds of improvements will add the most value to your home.

There are some things that are certain in life, like death and taxes — and for homeowners, there’s also a good chance that a few home improvement projects will pop up on the to-do list from time to time. Whether they’re needed due to a leaky roof or simply because the kitchen needs a facelift, these can be expensive projects that can quickly add up.

However, there are some ways you can get the most out of your home improvement budget and still achieve the desired results. The most important tip is to avoid going into debt for these projects, which can lead to years of paying off the loan plus interest and may not add much value to your home at resale. Instead, try to stay within your budget and pay for the work in cash if at all possible.

The American Housing Survey finds that while cash from savings accounts for the largest share of home improvement spending, it’s not the only option for funding these jobs. Other sources include home equity loans and lines of credit, mortgage refinancing, contractor arranged financing and even credit cards. It’s worth noting that “something else” (presumably referring to personal loans or borrowing from friends and family) was chosen as the answer for 6% of projects.

If you’re planning a home renovation, it’s also wise to talk with a real estate agent about what kinds of improvements will add the most value and what kind of renovations would be best suited to your property’s demographic and neighborhood. Lastly, make sure that your renovations are safe for you and your family. A few simple safety measures can go a long way in keeping everyone protected, and it’s especially important to communicate with any contractors about coronavirus-related concerns.

When it comes to the most popular home improvement projects, sparkling bathrooms top the list, followed by kitchen and basement remodels. But these big-ticket renovations may not be a great investment, as they typically only return about 60 percent of the cost when it’s time to sell your home.

Nevertheless, some of the other popular projects that can add substantial value to your home are exterior replacements such as roofing and siding and energy-efficient updates such as upgrading your windows or installing new insulation. These renovations can not only boost your resale value but may also reduce your monthly energy bills significantly. Be sure to do your research and compare prices on materials before committing to any projects. It’s also a good idea to check with your local government and consumer protection agencies for any consumer protection resources that may be available in your area.

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