There are many reasons to be frugal when high unemployment is the norm and the business sector does not expand because of market uncertainty.
So with respect to home improvement, this means focusing like a laser beam on remodels that contribute to your homes resale value and will make the most on your investment. Lets look at some projects not to take on.
Dont Make a Room Addition
Thinking about a room addition? An extra room is always welcome with growing families (or if that kid just wont move out). Its an essential part of your property value and your resale value.
But that said, it makes more fiscal logic to finish a basement, turn your garage into a home office, or transition your attic space into another bedroom.
Why? A physical home extension involves foundations, exterior framing, insulation, the upgrade on the HVAC system, siding and extensions to your roof. It just makes more sense to make over existing space.
Dont Focus on Luxury Kitchen Makeovers
Updating a kitchen will always increase the value of a home. The problem is that it is tempting to focus on the fancy rather than the functional. But in a down economy, it behooves homeowners to shoot for for comfort and function.
Granite countertops are nice but they have been losing a bit in popularity lately because prospective home buyers simply are not willing to shell out the money on such amenities. Formica and butcherblock countertops will give you more bang for the buck.
Steer Clear of Costly Bathroom Fixtures
Whirlpool spa bathtubs sales are also slumping. They simply cost too much to fill, heat, and circulate the water. Plus, they take up a lot of valuable space.
With other bathroom fixtures, such as faucets, toilets, and the like, it is tempting to save money buying and installing big box store China-made crap brands. But in the long run they will cost you more money because they dont last and replacement parts are hard to come by.
Instead, go for high-quality brands that use real brass like Kohler, Chicago Faucets, and Price Pfister. You just dont have to shell out the big bucks for the fancy cosmetic models. Even the lower price good brand fixtures are better than the best no-name brands.
Dont Go Overboard on Home Electronics
Big home theaters wont get you much of a return unless you are selling to someone who has money to burn. They certainly provide a nice way to relax and they had their period of popularity.
In reality, for most of us they simply waste space and eat up a remodeling budget that could be put to better use. Just go for the hi definition a nice wide screen TV, a comfortable couch, and a couple of Lazy Boy chairs.
Is Home Automation Worth the Money?
Science fiction-type home automation is actually gaining in popularity as our contraptions learn to link up with our smart phones. I suspect that like any emerging technology, it might be prudent to wait until things are standardized and prices come down.
On the other hand, things like 7-day programmable thermostats are a proven technology and will save you a bundle of cash on utility bills over time.
Hot Tubs and Pools
Hot tub purchases are going through a tepid phase. While its true that hot tubs make more fiscal sense than installing a swimming pool, but just like bathroom whirlpools, they usually are not used enough to justify buying one. And then there is always the issue of maintenance cost to consider.