When any homeowner begins renovations or modifications, affordability is one of the first concerns on their mind. And it’s true: Initial expenses are an important factor. But even more important is the anticipated return on investment — that is, how well a project will hold its value, and how well it will pay for itself through relevant short- or long-term savings.
Which would you prefer: A four thousand dollar sunk cost, or an eight thousand dollar investment that will still be worth $6,500 when you sell your home many years from now?
Home improvement projects don’t have to be complicated to deliver a strong return on investment. In fact, the opposite is often true: Relatively simple jobs mean few, if any, hidden costs. And because finding professionals with years of experience in tackling a task becomes easier, competition is higher and prices become more competitive. That’s a win-win for you.
Take a look at five popular projects that not only provide excellent immediate value to your home, but will largely pay for themselves over time.
You probably don’t often think about it, but your garage door is likely one of the most prominent features of your home. Research suggests that it’s often the most frequently used entrance, and it’s always on display to the world at large. That makes it an important part of home security.
So whether your current garage door has stopped functioning properly or been severely damaged, or if it’s simply time for a change of stylistic pace, consider a garage door replacement. This project is essential in the short-term and will pay dividends over time.
Why Replace Your Garage Door?
If your garage door no longer locks or is otherwise impaired, you owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to have a replacement installed quickly. Doing so isn’t simply essential for security purposes: It will also have a highly positive impact on utility bills.
Garage doors are by far the largest entrance to our homes. Without a proper seal, you could be losing huge amounts of heat to the outdoors, particularly if your garage itself is heated. That’s a massive waste of money.
Garage doors — especially those that face a main road — are a huge part of a home’s curb appeal. This is the first impression any visitor will get of your property, so make it count! Nobody will be impressed by massive dents or a crooked frame, least of all future buyers. You’ll be fighting an uphill battle right from the start to convince them otherwise. Even if yours is fully intact, a change in design could better complement your home’s exterior and the neighborhood aesthetic.
Return on Investment
When you replace a damaged, inefficient or just plain ugly garage door, the benefits are many: In addition to increasing security, better protecting your family and your valuables, you could be saving real money. And, of course, impressing the neighbors.
This is a smart investment no matter what stage of home ownership you find yourself in. In a recently published 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, garage door replacement was found to average a return on investment of around 88.4 percent — one of the highest ROIs in the publication.
If you anticipate staying put for years to come, the project could more than pay for itself via recurring savings on your monthly heating and electric bills. Those looking to sell in the near future will enjoy enhanced marketability: They can expect buyers to pay a small premium in exchange for increased security and long-term low utility spending.
How to Get Started
Installing a new garage door is an excellent opportunity to explore new style options. Garage doors can roll up in sections, they can swing outwards or upwards, and they may even slide to the side like a barn door.
You’ll need to choose a material, too. Aluminum, steel, fiberglass, wood and even vinyl remain very popular options today. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, particularly in regard to the level of anticipated security, long-term resistance to warping, and the ability to insulate effectively.
The best way to find a door that fits your unique needs is simply to ask a garage door replacement specialist. The best ones will offer emergency service and a free expert consultation/estimate. Just remember to consider your personal taste! You may find it invaluable to have someone who can guide you through the process, providing information on security and utility.
Stroll down the aisle of your local home improvement store and you might get sucked in by the extravagant displays that showcase rich granite countertops, sparkling tiles and gleaming hardwood floors. How tempting to finally create that dream kitchen or lavish bathroom!
While those sorts of projects can be well worth the effort (and we’ll get to them later on), don’t forget the essentials. When showing off your home to future buyers, you’ll find that security and energy-efficiency often take precedence over flashy luxuries. And they’re important features for you as the current owner.
Why Replace Your Front Door?
Installing a new door might not be the most exciting undertaking, but it can result in big savings over time. If your current door is structurally damaged or simply doesn’t form a proper seal at the frame, you may be losing unnecessarily high amounts of heated or chilled air to the outside environment.
A door that lacks toughness or integrity is an appealing target to would-be intruders. If your door doesn’t offer sufficient protection, you risk significant one-time losses to robberies. The safety of your family could even be threated, a fact that potential buyers will take note of.
Form is important too: A new door can be a great way to boost your curb appeal. Not only is this a way to show off a bit to the neighbors, but it’s also a large part of any first impression of your home. Many potential buyers will already have a good idea whether or not they like the house before they even step through that entrance — and if curb appeal is too low, they may not even bother coming inside.
Return on Investment
Steel and fiberglass, two popular alternatives materials for entry doors, typically boast more insulating value than your standard wooden option. Look for Energy Star certified doors when possible, as these tend to feature tighter-fitting frames and double- or triple-panel insulating glass (when applicable). In addition to the tax credit you may be eligible for after installing such a door, most homeowners can expect to save big on their utility bills.
Don’t forget to talk this up to prospective buyers. Anyone concerned for the environment or just their own wallet should be willing to pay a small premium for a home with low monthly bills, as these savings will add up considerably over a matter of years.
A steel door is also extraordinarily hard to penetrate, and the level of security they provide against would-be thieves or home invaders is priceless. Fiberglass, too, comes with a stout coating that makes it much tougher than it appears to the touch. Some may prefer its ability to mimic a natural wood grain. While fiberglass may not hold up quite as well as steel against a truly dedicated intruder that usually won’t matter: Many criminals are opportunistic by nature, and any deterrent is enough to send them on their way.
According to the 2015 annual Cost vs. Value Report, which compared average job cost against average resale value on a national scale, homeowners installing fiberglass entry doors can expect a 72 percent return on their investment. The outlook is even more incredible for those opting for a steel replacement: They look forward to recouping 101.8 percent of the initial cost. Indeed, this is the highest anticipated return on investment in the entire Cost vs. Value Report: This project will more than pay for itself within a fairly short time span.
How to Get Started
Replacing your front door is a relatively simple project, and is often a viable DIY affair for an owner who is interested in taking on the task. You don’t need to be a master carpenter, as most units will come pre-hung in a weather-stripped frame.
Begin by selecting the right door for your needs. As mentioned above, an Energy Star certified door will give you the greatest savings on your utility bill. If security is a motivating factor, you’ll be best served by a model that swings outwards rather than inward. This makes it difficult for a would-be intruder to force entry by prying the door open at the frame. Visit your local home supply store and take a look at what’s available. Remember to bring your doorway’s measurements along with you.
Once home and back at your current door, you’ll need to tap the hinge pins out with a hammer. Next, carefully swing it open and life it off the frame. Pry the trim loose from the frame with a putty knife or a pry bar. Finally, remove the jambs. You should be left with a bare, open doorway ready to receive your replacement model.
Leaving the job to a professional is a viable alternative as well. Under most normal circumstances, installation should be a single-day endeavor. If you don’t have a go-to handyman, try asking friends and family for recommendations.
A sprawling hardwood deck is often seen as a bit of a luxury, and may not be the first project on your radar. But as the recession ends, deck additions are resurging in popularity across America, and with good reason.
Why Build A Wood Deck?
A wide, open deck can really make your house feel more like home. There’s little as comforting as laying back in a deck chair with a panoramic view of the landscape or just the sky and clouds above. The deck offers a place to hold gatherings, to tend flowers or just to sit around and read. You’ll have one of the most popular properties around.
These are benefits everyone can enjoy, including future buyers. You’ll be able to raise your asking price considerably with a well-designed deck, and as we’ll see below, the return on investment is pretty stellar.
Return on Investment
Wood decks are among the cheapest ways to expand your effective living area, often at pennies on the dollar when compared to full-fledged home additions. Even so, their ability to hold value over the long term offers another benefit.
The 2015 Cost vs. Value Report found the addition of a wooden deck to offer an average return on investment of 80.5 percent — a figure well above that of bathroom remodeling, roofing replacement or other common projects. Future buyers appreciate the aesthetics of a well-constructed deck, as well as the recreation space and the fact that the work has already been done for them. And since there’s no need to heat or cool these additions unlike an indoor expansion, they should have little-to-no impact on the monthly utility bill.
Any “outdoors living” style of project looks poised to hold its value, as our love for fresh air and sunlight at the homestead trends upwards. You’ll easily sell the image of enjoying future BBQs, lounging in the warmth or perhaps even using a hot tub!
How to Get Started
The most adventurous DIY-ers may be willing to tackle this project without professional assistance, although the help of a few strong friends is welcome. Create a solid plan that incorporates every beam, slice and angle necessary to bring your dream deck to fruition. The aid of a computer with drafting software may be helpful.
Any home supply store should be able to provide lumber and additional tools that you may need. This won’t be a weekend project: You’ll need to dig and install supports (possibly including the pouring of concrete), make the cuts, and establish a solid frame first.
Those not building their own should start by finding an architect or engineer to help draw up some plans, and perhaps to offer advice on the lumber choice. As always, friends and family members are a great source of recommendations. A general contractor shouldn’t have a difficult time putting those plans to life: You’ll likely only need to pay for basic labor and supplies.
The time it takes to finish will vary greatly with the scale of the project, but anywhere from one to three weeks is a good general estimate. Your contractor should be able to give more detailed information.
Another common, current trend in home renovation is the attic bedroom remodel. It’s a great way to increase the amount of usable room in your house, and allows you to sidestep a lot of cost and zoning issues that would pop up if you were to instead build an entirely new add-on.
Why Convert Your Attic Into a Bedroom?
You may have a growing family in need of additional living space. You may love the idea of a warm and dazzling skylight brightening your room each morning. Or perhaps you’d simply like to free up your existing bedroom to serve as a home office.
Attic conversions saw a surge in popularity a few years back, thanks in part to the recent recession making move-up houses feel less affordable. Rather than dropping big money on a new home and moving expenses, why not reclaim an existing area that probably doesn’t see much use? Now that so many skilled handymen and utility specialists have gained familiarity with this kind of project, there has never been a better time to remodel your own attic.
What’s more, it’ll prompt you to reevaluate how much of the “junk” you’ve been storing up there is really necessary — and what you’re better off selling, donating or tossing. When starting spring cleaning, sometimes we all need a little kick in the pants.
Return on Investment
Converting your existing attic into a bedroom is an incredibly economical way to increase living space. Rather than increasing the overall footprint of the building, you’ll be using pre-existing walls, floors and ceilings. This keeps remodeling costs under control and non-prohibitive, though there are a few considerations you’ll have to keep in mind.
Most attics are not originally designed to support human residence, so some changes should aim to make the room feel comfortable and livable. Your project expenses will likely include running new electric wires, improving airflow and insulation and perhaps even better soundproofing the space. If you hope to include a private bathroom alongside the bedroom, plumbing will be an additional undertaking.
Finally, note that residential building codes in your area will likely require your new bedroom to be reachable via a standard staircase. If your attic only features ladder access, start thinking about where you may be able to install new stairs: Closet conversions are one popular option. Spiral staircases are typically more space-efficient than more traditional straight runs, although the initial cost may be somewhat higher.
An attic bedroom remodel doesn’t merely expand your home in an affordable way: It also holds its value quite strongly. The 2015 Cost vs. Value Report estimates that those who undertake this project will recoup around 77.2 percent of the initial investment cost. So if you’re in real need of extra space, attic conversion is a financially sound — and much lower stress — alternative to buying an entirely new home.
How to Get Started
Transforming an attic is a more simple process than building an entirely new room from the ground up, but it still generally requires minor structural changes. And as with any modifications to the structure of your home, including a few licensed professionals in the process is highly recommended.
Consult with an electrician to determine whether your current electric setup can handle the demands of an additional bedroom. They can also assist in running new wires. An HVAC specialist will help you to arrange proper heating and cooling of the new space, which will be essential for comfort. Structural engineers can assess the strength of your floor joists, and ensure that they’ll support a full set of furniture. A plumber is essential if your plans include a new bathroom.
Finally, don’t forget about windows. Many attics won’t have any initially, but they’re essential for natural light, comfort and air circulation. Fortunately, windows aren’t terribly expensive to install, and the unique shape and location of the room gives you a chance to flex your creative muscle. Why not try an expansive dormer window or let the sun in with a well-placed skylight? With a little imagination, you can design a room that’s the envy of your friends and family.
A revamped kitchen is the dream of many homeowners, especially those who have been using the same cooking area for a while and are starting to find it boring or outdated. But kitchens are more than just a place to prepare dinner: They’re a gathering place for friends and family, and a reflection of our own tastes (no pun intended).
Fortunately, freshening up that stale space can be more affordable than you’d ever imagined. Kitchen remodels hold their value well, and they’re sure to catch the eye of neighbors and visitors. You’ll feel recharged every morning in your new environment with the satisfaction of a smartly made investment.
Why Remodel Your Kitchen?
Don’t underestimate the emotional impact that a revamped kitchen can provide. This is often the heart of a home. It’s one of the first rooms your guests will see, and a place where family members will congregate frequently. And you’re not the only ones who will appreciate it.
A kitchen can easily make or break the sale of any house. When you remodel yours, you’ll not only create a wonderful space to spend the coming years, but also make it irresistible to future buyers.
Return on Investment
The amount of sustained value you get from a kitchen remodel will depend on the scope of the project. The 2015 Cost vs. Value Report found minor kitchen remodels to
deliver an ROI of around 79.3 percent while major overhauls came in a bit lower, at 67.8 percent. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, you may wish to stick to changes on a smaller scale.
The addition of a tile backsplash or a stylish new countertop is often enough to have a powerful effect on the room’s atmosphere and won’t break the bank. You can even change the tone simply by sanding down and refinishing cabinet doors with a different stain color. Going all-out with fancy faucet heads and ornate cabinet knobs, while appealing to some, won’t have nearly the same overall impact — not to mention future buyers might not share your taste in accessories.
A spacious and modern kitchen is appealing to both owners and buyers alike, so don’t rule out total reinvention either: Just recognize which features are likely to hold their value best.
How to Get Started
Kitchen renovations are not a one-man job. You’ll likely need to coordinate with several different specialists depending on what exactly you want done. Surface fabricators can help measure, cut and install new countertops, while an appliance specialist can make recommendations for stovetops, ovens and refrigerators that meet your budget as well as neighborhood trends (this can be essential for resale value). Cabinet professionals will ensure a perfect fit, installation and aesthetic. And don’t forget the invaluable advice an interior designer could offer.
Neighbors and other friends or family members in your area may have local pros to endorse. Start asking around for suggestions. Most of these specialists will offer free initial consultations, so you’ll get a chance to see who you best click with.
For a total reinvention, you may also need to find a plumber, electrician or even an architect. This may sound overwhelming, and it’s true that a larger-scale kitchen remodel is a massive undertaking that could well run into the tens of thousands of dollars. But as long as you spend that money wisely, you can expect to recoup the great majority down the line.
Take Action Today
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of great and easy ways to increase the value of your home. You could be enjoying life to the fullest, while simultaneously saving big on energy bills and impressing future buyers. Why wait any longer to get started?
If you’re searching for garage door replacement in Chicago’s southwest suburbs, look no further. A-All Style Garage Door makes it easy, with fast and friendly service, competitive pricing and a commitment to quality installations. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate.