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How to Prioritize Home Improvement Projects

Structural Issues First; Aesthetic Issues Second

© 2016 by Vicki Riviera; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

A living room in sunlight; photo courtesy Ella Andrews

All homeowners desire a perfect home. However, home improvement projects don’t come cheap and they require a great deal of planning, effort, and time. If, like most, you aren’t fortunate enough to be living in the home of your dreams presently, you’ll need to spend some time as well as money to bring your home up to your expectations.

Yes, that is a daunting thought and you might be concerned about budgeting the needed improvements, but in truth it’s money worth spending. Your home will be not only sport more curb appeal and be more functional, but your home equity will rise.

Roofing and Flooring—Structurally Sound and Attractive

Generally, a new roof is not a top home improvement priority unless the current one is in bad shape. However, if you need to re-roof, this is the time to determine whether a conventional composition shingle or a metal roof best fits your needs. Each has its pros and cons.

Your roof is a critical component of your home because if it’s faulty, upgrades of everything beneath it will be a waste of money as soon as the rain comes. In addition to periodic preventive maintenance tasks for your roof, inspections should be performed at least twice a year.

Although your flooring should be aesthetically passable, it is more important that it is structurally sound as well. Cracks in a concrete slabs signal possible slab foundation damage. This repair needs to be given a priority.

If you are not on a slab foundation then you have OSB or plywood subfloors secured to floor joists. Possible damage areas are bathrooms and kitchens because of water spills. Generally, it is not difficult to repair a plywood subfloor.

Other than structural issues, you have many choices with floor coverings. Carpet is always popular. Tile is durable and easy to maintain. Laminate is a great substitute for traditional hardwood floors and makes for a great DIY project.

Bathroom and Kitchen Remodels

Your bathrooms and kitchen improvements top the list in boosting home equity; most real estate agents agree on this point. The two main reasons for this are that both areas are highly functional and popular style can change frequently. For best return on investment, these areas should be your second top priority.

I’s true that updating your kitchen or bathroom can be expensive and not everyone can budget for extensive remodeling of these rooms. Keep in mind however that there are ways to keep your costs down.

For example, you don’t have to invest in designer fixtures. You can plan to make your purchases on major holidays when plumbing fixtures, energy-saving appliances, and lighting fixtures are on sale.

Although you will need to hire professional contractors for some tasks in order to comply with local building codes, there are many things you can do yourself. Most homeowners are capable of hanging wallpaper and painting.

Another thing to consider is that many Energy Star appliances qualify for energy tax credits. Always check in advance because the federal tax rules can change on a yearly basis.

Make the Most of Your Remodeling Budget

Needed repairs are your first considerations when prioritizing home improvements but your budget also plays a huge role.

Understandably your budget will have a certain limit, that’s just reality. Your creativity shouldn’t. Not everything will set you back thousands of dollars these days. Consider some DIY remodeling. You might be surprised at the impressive results this can give to your home while stretching your budget.

Finally, when prioritizing home improvements, first list must-haves, next list wanted items. Next, determine how much you can commit to your budget bucket (allowing for contingencies). Finally, decide on how much of the work you can do yourself and how much you must hire pros for.

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