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Home Improvement For Dollars

by Kim Kinrade

Most financial advisors agree that one of the best long-term investments you can make is to own a home. Even in depressed markets buying a home makes sound financial sense because some or most of the money paid every month goes to paying off the homes whereas with renting the money is gone into the landlord's pocket. And the interest, in most cases, is tax deductible so you gain at tax time. Down the road, when you want to sell the property for financial gain. There is another financial perk to owning a home. Every dollar you make in home improvements will increase th value of your home.

Start Small

Let's say you want to do home improvement projects in order to get the most return on your home when you sell it. If your new acquisition is viewed as “tired” there are many pitfalls you can avoid if you start small and not break the bank with a huge remodel right off the bat.


Refreshing the paint on both the inside and exterior of your home is definitely the biggest bang for you buck. It's like going out and buying a new spring jacket; it's not going to set you back very much but the instant new change will make you look great even though the clothes underneath are not the greatest. Painting can be a do-it-yourself project but you would be surprised at the results you can get for the money by hiring a painting contractor. They have scaffolding, dropsheets and all the paint and brushes. Then, when the job, is finished, they clean it all up. The curb appeal will be enough to entice a buyer for an inside look.


Believe it or not a well-designed landscape can reap between a 100 to 200% return on your investment. Allied with the exterior painting a mix of carefully-designed shrubs, flowers and hardscape can turn your home into an Eden. Like painting, landscape contractors are not overly expensive for the amount of change you can see. Ask the landscape designer to put together a plan where you can do the changes in steps rather than shelling out for the whole job. You might be able to do the full change over a few years if that is your plan.

Deck or Patio

Another inexpensive change that can accomplished in a short time is building a deck. Not only does a standard deck come together quickly it is relatively inexpensive and the extra space is immediately usable by you and your family. Patios can be constructed with pavers or flat stones and provide another inexpensive home improvement option. The estimated return on building a deck figures in at about 40-70%.

Bathroom Remodeling

When you look at doing a bathroom remodel you are beginning to spend money. Bathroom remodeling is something that is an “all or nothing” situation and can't be done in steps like landscaping and decks. This is why a good bathroom remodeling plan should be put into place under the guidance of a qualified bathroom renovation company. Because there are plumbing and electrical considerations certified plumbing contractors and electricians will have to be used and permits. However, a complete bathroom renovation will bring you back 80-100% return on your money.

Kitchen Remodeling

As the “nerve center” of your home the kitchen may require the most planning of any remodels. This is because kitchen renovating usually means redoing the space by increasing the size, adding more electrical and redesigning the plumbing to meet the new requirements. A kitchen renovating contractor needs to consider kitchen cabinet placement, lighting considerations, faucets, sinks, countertops, appliance hookups, flooring, heating and maybe the moving of a load-bearing wall. As with the bathroom remodel all the pieces of the kitchen, and the subcontractors who will have to work on them, will have to be organized so that the transition is smooth and the duration of the job does not stretch past the original kitchen estimate. Once installed the kitchen brings a return on investment of 75-100%


Unless your roof is really tired or leaking this is the last item you should consider. Roofs do bring a return on investment but very few people notice the roof. Any buyer will only care if it passes an inspection and it has a few good years left. However, if you do decide to have your roof replaced contact a qualified roofing contractor who has insurance. This way if any workers are hurt on the job you will not have to cover the hospital expenses. A return on a roof is minimal because it is expected to be alright.

Swimming Pool

Depending on where in the country you live a swimming pool, like a fireplace, can either be a blessing or a detriment. The return can be as high as 25-50% or it can lessen the value of your home. If you want a swimming pool for your own recreation contact a qualified pool contractor. But unless you live in an area where there is a minimal winter, for the outlay of $50,000 to $100,000 it is not recommended to increase the house value.

In the end it is you who makes the decision. Just be careful of a large debt load for a quick sale. Even on the television reality shows very few people “flip” a home for a huge gain.

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