A kitchen makeover can yield major pay-offs—and we’re not talking about a super-deluxe renovation, either. According to Remodeling Magazine, a $15,000 update—say, new appliances, a paint job, and perhaps new countertops—can pay off up to 92 percent. So you can reap the benefits of an upgraded kitchen without having a major project take over your home.
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- 10 Decisions Homeowners Never Regret
10 Decisions Homeowners Never Regret
Update the Kitchen
Add a Mudroom
A utilitarian space to store shoes, coats, and backpacks may not be glamorous, but it certainly keeps your home neater and makes daily comings and goings easier. Consider carving out a bit of space near your back door, or even adding a bump-out to accommodate an organized entry.
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Schedule a Home Energy Audit
Here’s an easy one that can add up to major savings over time: book a visit from a home-energy auditor. The assessor finds inefficiencies in your energy use and where heat or cooled air may be escaping. In addition, a home auditor will teach you about the best ways to fix any issues that might get discovered. The best part is that these audits are often free, and fix-it measures may be eligible for rebates.
Older houses often come with drafty, sticky, or otherwise troublesome windows. While not an inexpensive job, window replacement pays off in energy savings and definitely boosts home value. Plus, you’ll love throwing open your new windows in springtime, with no broken latches or warped sashes to get in your way.
Add Outdoor Living Space
Your yard is a bonus living room, so make the most of it by adding a screened porch, patio, or deck. Such features often cost less than you imagine, and they add functionality and resale appeal. Plus, an outdoor living space will increase your own enjoyment of your property.
Hire Your Own Inspector
Before you close on that new house, it’s worth the time and expense to vet and hire an inspector. It’s fine to use the guy suggested by the seller or his realtor, but with such a major purchase you’ll always be glad you secured a second, impartial opinion before you signed on the dotted line.
Finish the Basement
Maximizing the usable square footage of your home is a smart move in an escalating real-estate market. You can transform that dim cavern below your feet into a fabulous game room, home gym, or playroom. To take it to the next level, consider adding a bathroom—provided the plumbing is already in place it would be an easy project to tackle.
Related: Sell High: Top 7 Value-Boosting Home Renovations
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Revamp Electrical Systems
Invest in Landscaping
It may be a few years until you can appreciate the benefits, but adding trees and shrubs to your yard adds to your home’s curb appeal and value—and shade trees can cut energy costs, as well. Get bids from a few different landscapers, ask them for a guarantee to replace any plants that don’t do well in the first year, and choose items that thrive in your neighborhood. Soon you'll have the nicest looking yard on the block.
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Spruce Up the Bathroom
After kitchens, bathrooms give the most payback on your renovation dollar—plus, you use them all the time, so you’ll never second-guess giving them an upgrade. For a timeless look, choose durable black or white flooring and surfaces. And invest in a high-quality toilet—you’ll always be glad you did!
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