Your home is your biggest investment, and one of the best ways to increase your property's worth is to consistently put money back into it. Home renovations offer the dual advantage of increasing your quality of living in the present, but also adding immense value when it comes time to sell.
The projects that add the best value to your home are ones that accomplish the 'big three' of an improved quality of life (added security, more space, higher curb appeal), an increase in energy efficiency, and also provide a market value boost.
Not all projects (or budgets) are created equal, but there is a wide range of projects that border from DIY to professional, all bringing something new and unique to your home while also increasing the value of the property.
Replace Old Wallpaper
Corn-on-the-cob wallpaper was a great look in 1982, but aside from a hipster looking for irony, most home buyers want an updated appearance nowadays. Old wallpaper that is cracked, ripped or bubbling gives an unkempt vibe and may have your guests feeling like their health is at risk.
One of the best advantages of removing wallpaper
is that it's a fairly simple DIY task. You can give any room a vibrant new look with a very minimal amount of spending and some good old fashioned elbow grease – or you can also hire a pro for a guaranteed high-quality result.
One big debate is whether you should remove the old product or just wallpaper over existing wallpaper. The recommendation is to always go for the clean slate, and make sure the subsurface is pristine for best results.
Fix Drafty Windows
One project that very much tackles energy efficiency issues is to fix drafty windows. The costs of this project can vary depending on the issue causing the air leaks, but it's also a task that pays for itself. Whatever money you put into these replacements will be recouped in lower heating and cooling bills. You'll also be saving wear and tear on your furnace and AC, hopefully extending the life of both.
The most obvious cause for a drafty window would be a crack in the glass, which would need to be replaced for not only energy efficiency reasons but also for safety. The most common reason that air enters and escapes around a window is because of a lack of insulation around the sides or caulking that has rotted away, both of which are easy fixes.
Windows also 'go bad' for lack of a better term. Triple and double hung vinyl windows have an insulating gas between them that can eventually escape, which is what causes some units to look like they have permanent condensation. These will need to be replaced to maximize efficiency.
Add Decorative Garage Door Hardware
It's often accepted that the home improvement projects that have the best return on investment are replacing a steel entry door or having a new garage door installed. New garage doors instantly give your home a facelift, while also boosting security.
Scaling that back a bit, a much more cost-effective and less labor-intensive project that has very similar curb appeal results is simply adding decorative hardware to the existing garage door. Decorative latches, pull handles, hinge fronts, etc. go a long way in making a garage door look a lot more sophisticated than it really is. The fake eyeglasses of home hardware if you will.
Install Impact Resistant Roofing Shingles
Getting a new roof is not a project that should be done before it is needed, but if your current asphalt shingles are starting to curl and break or if you're noticing a lot of leaking it may be time to invest in composite materials.
One thing new home buyers love is knowing they won't have to replace a roof anytime soon (barring a major weather catastrophe). Impact-resistant roofing shingles add incredible value to your property in that regard, these composite tiles are virtually impervious to wind, hail, and the quiet threat – the sun's UV rays.
Class 4 shingles are the most durable on the market, resisting winds of up to 110 MPH with a life span of 50 years or more. That's about the same durability as metal roofing, but with a much more welcoming style. The cost is about 25% more than standard roofing installations, but that longevity makes it a worthy investment.
Incorporate Modern Window Casing
Some real estate agents will tell you that replacing windows boosts the curb appeal of your home. That's not necessarily true – windows are just glass – but casement windows can definitely provide a rich new allure to a drab design.
Window casings are the product that surrounds the frame, sometimes called window trim. You get the most value when wrapping a window with oak, or another hardwood that is as durable as it is elegant. Window casings combined with baseboards and crown molding can really become the focal point of a room.
Window casing style options are available for all sorts of tastes. They can include:
-Abundance of the same wood (oak, mahogany, pine)
-Light and dark wood contrasts
-Popping contrasts of white on dark or black on white
-Soft and neutral painted casings
-Wide trim for a modern look
-Elaborate casing headers
Incorporating a new window casing can cost a bit more than you'd expect depending on the quality of the wood. That being said, even though it may seem like a small task the improvement will be instantly noticeable.
These are some projects to consider if you're thinking about listing soon, or if you just want to make some home improvements now that will pay off in the long run.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.