Making Plans for Home Improvements

As homeowners, many of us reach a point where we want to make some changes to the house. It could be renovation to upgrade some outdated or inefficient home features. You may need to add some extra space or just do some things to improve energy efficiency. We have a running list of things we want to do around our home, and today, as a matter of fact, our driveway is being finished with asphalt, so…CHECK!

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Whatever you get into, it will cost you some money. For that reason, a lot of people put off home improvements until they reach a point where they are forced to take action. It is best not to let it get to that point; it’s much easier to make a repair when you need to than when you have to.

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It’s essential that you start planning for improvements as soon as you get the home. It may sound overwhelming on the heels of closing costs and down payments, but it’s well worth it by saving you on interest and avoiding price increases. 

On top of that, it will pay for itself in time. Anything you do to upgrade your house will yield measurable financial rewards.

With those things in mind, we normally do our larger home improvement projects towards the beginning of the year. In February (when we finish our taxes) we see what our return will be and then start allotting that money and my hubby’s Christmas bonus money and any Christmas money we received as a gift into the “project fund”. It’s easy for us at that point, because we can see exactly what we have to work with, and we know how much we have to split out for various projects. No matter what we’re planning to do, there are several things we are always considering:

Energy Efficiency

There are a lot of ways that a home improvement project can reduce your energy costs, especially in areas which experience a range of weather conditions throughout the year. For instance, the best window replacements Portland residents can get will seal out the bitter Northwestern winters as well as the late-day Pacific sun in the summertime, reducing heating and cooling costs all year long.

Here in Florida, everything we do has to be up to the proper codes to make sure our home is protected from hurricanes, so there are a lot of rules to be followed in that respect. Many of those “rules” flow perfectly with energy-efficient products, so that’s a big plus for us!

A better roof, additional insulation, a new water heater, and many other upgrades can yield the same savings. There are lots of online calculators and other information sources that can help you put specific numbers on the upgrades you’ve got in mind.

Enhanced Home Value

Many homeowners are always thinking of a future sale of their home (we sure are!), so they are very alert to opportunities to increase the value of the property. Potential buyers love to see upgraded siding, new shingles, fresh paint, hardwood, and so on.

But even homeowners who expect to live their whole lives in one home can benefit from enhanced value, because a higher appraisal will increase the size of a potential home equity loan that they might need later on. Improvements that can do that truly are investments in the home and your future and are a perfect fit with a smart overall financial strategy.

Easier Living

Our first two examples are fairly easy to track in terms of their financial impact. Our third is a little tougher to quantify, but if you truly consider its benefits, the value is clearly there.

Let’s imagine that your renovation includes a new laundry room on the main floor. After a decade of carrying clothes to and from the basement, you’re finally able to stay on one level. Can you put a price tag on that? No, but anyone would agree it’s an improvement. It can save time, exertion, and even a potential injury from falling down the stairs. 

When you can make a change that simplifies movement in the home, eliminates hazards, or generates extra space for certain functions, you can’t deny the personal value, even if you can’t put a number on it.

Home improvements are exciting! They give us a chance to add more of our personality to the home, to save money, and to simplify life. Every one of those benefits is well worth spending some money, so as you build your budget, remember that any upgrades to the home can easily save you enough money to make them worth their while, above and beyond the enjoyment the changes will bring.

Have you done any improvements to your home of late? Do you plan to do any this year?

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

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