Making changes to your home can disrupt your life, and it can be harmful to your finances as well.
Before you decide on your next home improvement project, check out how much it will improve your home’s value. According to figures from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is likely to garner you the most increase in value. Replacing windows or adding a home office will recoup just a little more than half of their cost.
But most people say that increasing their home values is not their first priority. Home owners remodel to improve the livability of their homes. And indeed, remodeling may be far less costly than pulling up stakes and moving.
Approach your remodel project with a budget in mind. What really bugs you about your home? If the rooms seem small, perhaps sprucing up with color accents or rearranging the furniture is all you really need. Adding a window or skylight can boost the size of a room and chase away gloomy shadows.
Keep existing window locations and appliance outlets. Moving plumbing, wiring and telephone jacks can be expensive, and with some creativity you can avoid this added cost.
Reface existing kitchen cabinets, and you’ll save yourself the cost of new cabinets and eliminate the need for new flooring, countertops and appliances.
Reglaze your bathtub rather than replacing it. And look at all the options for updating fixtures before you make your decision. Some of the less costly options for surrounds and countertops are easier to clean as well.
If you think you’ll save money by doing it yourself, think again. Unless you are very experienced in this sort of work and have the discipline (and the tools) to get the job done, you’ll find the project stressful for you and your family.
Whether you hire a contractor or do it yourself, think your project through from start to finish. Segmenting the job into discrete groups that can be accomplished over time may be kinder to your budget than attempting to do everything at once.
And when you are all done, and enjoying your new environment and the satisfaction of a job well done, don’t forget to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Call your insurance agent to make adjustments to the coverage for the added value of the improvements.