Home renovations: Foresight protects your investment

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 41 percent of homeowners decided to undergo home renovations to increase their home’s value. Remodeling projects of all shapes and sizes are common among homeowners, yet only some actually reach the desired goal of increasing a home’s worth. There are several factors to consider before beginning renovations, regardless of size or cost.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends making a list of all items you want to improve in your home before starting any major projects. Create a list for each room in your home that you want to upgrade/remodel, then prioritize the changes. On this list, identify those items that are necessary renovations; also create a wish list of items that you would like to have, but are not essential. A contractor or remodeling professional can give you an idea of the costs involved so you can then determine which upgrades to make based on your budget.

Homeowners want to make a personal imprint that says this is uniquely their home. There’s nothing wrong with making changes that reflect who you are, but keep in mind, the more personal the improvement, the less likely you are to recoup the investment. A great way to express yourself is through color. Choose paint colors that reflect your personality and lifestyle. The nice thing about paint is that it enhances the appearance of your home, but can easily be changed by a new owner — and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

Another important factor to consider is the home’s character. To increase the market value of your home, it’s best to stay within the intended character of the home. Take into account the homes around you too. If you live in a neighborhood lined with Tudor-style homes, keep that in mind when making exterior renovations. Something that can greatly impact the value of your home is how it fits in with the other homes around it.

Try to balance out the changes. In other words, invest time and money in updating the home’s invisible systems, like heating and plumbing, as well as cosmetic changes, like wall color and carpeting. If you spend all your money installing a highly energy efficient heating system and a central vacuum system, but nothing on the home’s cosmetic appearance, there’s a good chance you won’t recoup the true value of those costs.

Finally, hire a professional architect or designer. Especially if your intention is to increase the value of your home for a future sale. The expense is well worth it. In addition to the aesthetics of the project, a designer or architect can assist with zoning issues, environmental restrictions, permits, licenses, etc. These hired professionals know the right channels to avoid problems with building inspectors and possible financial ramifications.

There is a fine balance between renovating a home for personal reflection and for future return value. But one that’s easily achieved with proper foresight and planning. Plan your renovations accordingly.

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