Buying a house is a major responsibility — and an investment. Yet, many Americans — about 70% — haven’t come up with a plan to make sure they can accomplish their home investments and savings goals. That means there’s not much of a strategy around how to invest in your home. Here are some home investment tips for new homeowners that will help improve the value of the home.
At the top of any list of home investment tips is to think about location before you commit to anything. It is one of the most important elements in determining the value of your home. And this doesn’t simply involve whether it’s a good or bad neighborhood, because that can change. There are a variety of factors to consider, including schooling and potential for growth. You should do your research to find out if it’s a popular spot for development and how many people are moving in and out of this area, and why. You should find out about whether public transportation is readily available and ease of access to amenities such as parks, grocery stores and entertainment options, such as movie theaters. Even when you’ve pinpointed a neighborhood, seek out the lowest-priced house if you can. That way, there’s much more room for value growth.
Kitchen remodels are the most common type of home renovation. If you’ve purchased an older home, chances are that the cabinets could use an update. If you’re starting from scratch, think about a design that will utilize the space well, including corners. Older cabinets usually have standard hinges, but you can update them with soft-close models which keep the doors from slamming shut. If you update those cabinets, it could be one of those home investment tips that can add value to your home. Another common update in a kitchen is the oven. Older models aren’t often as energy efficient as newer ones. Of course, the choice in the stove that you make depends largely on your tastes and how much time you plan to spend cooking. You’ll also need to find out if you have an electric or gas oven. Updating your electric oven is not as complicated — it’s as simple as plugging it in. But if you decide to switch out your gas oven, you may need some help from an expert specializing in gas line installations.
Updating your kitchen backsplash is another good way to add value to your house, and some personality to the room. Right now mosaic tiles are popular, so it’s a safe choice that future home buyers might like. You can construct these yourself, tile by tile, or you can purchase the backsplash tile by the sheet for quicker installation from your nearest home improvement store.
The average kitchen upgrade costs around $25,000, according to Home Advisor s calculator. Real estate experts say that the impression of a staged kitchen on a potential homeowner is second in importance only to the living room space. So any money spent updating your kitchen can be key when it’s time for you to sell.
One of the first home projects new homeowners tackle are often the bathrooms. No two homeowners have the same taste in them. If you’re purchasing an older home, this is especially true. Some home investment tips for the bathroom:
- Consider updating your plumbing if possible. Should you need emergency plumbing, it could be difficult to find someone who can work on older models, so this can save you time and money in the future. You should also upgrade your sinks and bathtubs to modernize your bathroom, and even your toilets. Updated bathrooms and fixtures are a sure way to make your house more valuable.
- Have a plumber take a look at your pipes when you buy, even if you don’t notice anything wrong yet. By the time you notice it, it’s likely going to be a costly fix. If you can catch it before that point, that’s the ideal outcome.
- If you’re thinking about adding wallpaper, think some more. Wallpaper choice can provide a sort of time stamp that tells when it was mounted, and sometimes, those choices don’t hold up. And if the next buyer doesn’t like your choice, it’s not as simple as painting over a color you don’t like, either. It can be time-consuming, messy and ultimately costly to remove wallpaper. If you want to change your walls, paint them, and consider wall decals if you really want to change it up.
Check Your Heating and Ventilation System
Did you know that a recent survey of home buyers showed that 84% of home buyers said that heating and cooling expenses were the most important factors considered as they chose a home?
That’s why if you ask an HVAC company about home investment tips, one thing they would likely recommend is updating the system if you’re in an older home. This can lead to some tough financial decisions. Lots of old homes, especially in the northern part of the country, do not have a central air system. That means that you have to handle heating and air for each room. You might think it’s cheaper to buy a fan or heater for each room. But the money spent on a central air system will add value to your home and in the long run, it will be worth it.
If you’re flipping a home, you might be buying a house that needs a lot of work. In that situation, it’s advantageous to do the work yourself. But there are times when you’ll need home investment tips from professionals. For example, if you find water staining on the ceiling or the wall, it might not be wise to simply hire a water damage restoration service. There’s likely some underlying plumbing issues that should be addressed.
Another popular choice for updates for a new homeowner is the flooring. You might need to replace it altogether if there are obvious signs of wear, such as cracks, severe stains, sunken portions of the floor or water damage. To make sure it’s done right, you should find a professional service that specializes in flooring installation. They can give you home investment tips that can help you decide the most cost-effective choices. If you need to replace a carpet due to age, or if you know the previous owner had pets, that can be a less expensive option. Having your carpet regularly cleaned can also help extend its life span. One thing that new homeowners often want to change out are lighting fixtures. Again, this often comes down to a matter of taste. Choosing lighting systems that use LED lights is a good home investment tip to remember, as incandescent lights are not as energy efficient.No matter your budget size for lights, you should be able to find something that fits the personality of your home. You probably shouldn’t install them yourself — get a certified electrical contractor or service for that part. But it will be worth it — you can save up to $300 a year in energy costs.
Landscaping and Outdoor Updates
If your new home has doors that have seen better days, it’s essential to invest in new ones. It can save you money down the line in energy costs. There are all kinds of options for doors. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests fiberglass or metal doors for efficiency. To ensure you’re keeping air from escaping your door, you might consider storm door installation as well. Storm doors can help protect the main door from the elements as well. It might be necessary to invest in quality windows as well. Old windows can also cause heat to escape from your home. It can cost $300-$500 to replace a window, but it can save you eventually in energy costs. If your windows aren’t old enough to require replacement, it might be enough to repair them with caulking or another sealing agent.
If you seek out home repair veterans for home investment tips, they’d probably tell you to be prepared to invest in your roof. A leaky roof can lead to all kinds of problems, so if there are issues that need to be addressed, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later. Ongoing roof problems can lead to issues with outer walls, so it can create a type of domino effect. If you determine that you need to replace your roof, there are several options that can also help save in energy costs, such as metal and solar roofs. Look for a construction company that specializes in roof installation services for cost estimates. In general, roof repair can cost anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot to replace. That can add up anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. Your homeowners insurance policy might be able to cover some of those repair costs.
Another essential home remodeling component is landscaping. One temptation a homeowner might face, especially if it has a large back yard, is installing a pool. If you’re in a warmer climate, having a pool might be worth the investment. And this doesn’t mean simply the financial investment — pools need regular maintenance. You can learn how to maintain it yourself, or consider a pool service. If you’re not sure about what size pool you want, consult a custom pool builder. Some builders also provide regular upkeep for an additional rate. According to Home Guide, installing a pool can cost anywhere from $28,000 to $52,000, depending on your location and the pool’s size. Real estate professionals say that a pool can add 5-8% of value to a home. So if your home is worth $500,000, for example, adding a pool can add between $25,000 and $40,000.
If you have a house with a pool you don’t want, however, it can be tricky. Even buried, an underground pool that isn’t covered correctly can cause foundation problems if it’s close to your house. This is a situation where it’s worth it to budget funding for a professional construction company to assist in demolition.
Is Expansion a Good Idea?
While it’s true that larger houses tend to sell for more money, one of the best home investment tips to remember is that home expansion is expensive, too. You need to ask yourself if the changes you make to add a room to your house is worth it. These costs can add up quickly: you’ll likely need electrical work done, or adjustments to heating and air.
The higher the cost, the less likely you are to get all of your money back. So before you break out the sledgehammer, consult your calculator. If you can get a significant amount of your investment back, then choosing to add rooms can still work out for you.
As we’ve seen, there are a lot of home investment tips that can add value to your home. Not only do you need to be strategic about the projects you embark upon, but you also need to think about how you’ll pay for them. If you’re lucky enough to be able to cover your home improvements with cash, that’s ideal. But there are still other options.
You can consider personal loans, government loans or refinancing your home. One of the most popular and secure ways of borrow money for home improvement are home equity line of credit, or HELOC. These loans have low interest rates and might be ideal for ongoing work on your home. Still, choosing to borrow money is a serious decision and you need to do the math to determine whether this is a sensible path for you to take. You should consider consulting a financial expert in making this decision as well.
As you continue to plan, create a monthly budget so that you have a good idea of what you’re spending and that you’re able to pace your projects as needed. Home ownership is an exciting adventure and these home investment tips will help you make the best choices for your situation.