Home improvement is a huge business in the United States, with many contractors specializing in specific projects. Some of these firms also offer financing options, such as a home remodeling loan or unsecured personal loan. Moreover, the television schedule is packed with shows such as Fixer Upper and This Old House that help homeowners get inspired to remodel their homes. But before you break out the sledgehammer, it’s important to understand what improvements actually add value to your home and which ones should be left on the drawing board.
A common misconception is that any home renovation will boost your home’s resale value. While a sparkling bathroom overhaul or a new kitchen may increase your home’s overall appeal, they usually don’t have much of a return on investment. The average homeowner gets just 60 percent of the money back they invest in these projects, according to a report from the Contractor Growth Network and the Zonda Media.
Other projects that may have little return on investment include adding a pool or a hot tub, putting in a new patio door, or installing a fireplace insert or wood-burning stove. Even a fresh coat of paint can make your home more attractive, but it will only add about 5 percent to the resale value of your property.
Homeowners can find inspiration for many different kinds of home improvement projects by browsing magazines, watching TV, or listening to radio shows. But if you’re planning to hire a professional contractor for your project, it’s important to compare bids from several contractors before making a decision. While price is an important factor, never rely solely on price alone; quality of work and the ability to complete the job on time are also crucial.
Some homeowners take out a home equity line of credit to finance their projects, but this is not always a good idea. Getting into debt for a home remodeling project is a big commitment, and you’ll end up paying thousands in interest over the life of your mortgage. Instead, try to save up the amount needed to pay for the project in cash.
Adding crown molding to your living room, bedroom, or dining room is an inexpensive but effective way to improve the look of your home. This decorative trim is available at most home improvement stores and is easy to install yourself. You’ll need some woodworking skills and the right tools, but it isn’t difficult.
Adding a well-maintained garden and landscaping to your yard is another affordable home improvement that can add value. Plant a few flowering plants, trim bushes and trees, and resod the lawn for a well-groomed appearance that will impress potential buyers. It’s also a good idea to hire a landscaper to prune your shrubbery and to apply mulch to the soil around your home. This will give your house a manicured appearance that will set it apart from the rest of the neighborhood.