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Home Remodeling Projects That Make Sense in a Bad Economy

When home prices were soaring, homeowners didn't have to put much thought into which home remodeling projects gave them the most bang for the buck. Remodeling your kitchen? Sub-Zero frigs all around! Redoing the bathroom? Heck, why not add one of those indoor lap pools too!

No matter what the homeowner did, it all seemed to pay off when the home's price rose 20% a year.

Fast-forward to 2008. With home prices dropping daily, homeowners are being forced to be pickier than ever about which home remodeling projects they want to tackle.

A rule of thumb when picking your home improvement plan: If you will be in your home at least 3 to 5 more years, consider remodeling upgrades that will make your family more comfortable. If it makes your family more comfortable, chances are that those same improvements will appeal to the next family who will buy your home.

Here are some good remodeling projects for your family's enjoyment, and your home's resale value.

Kitchen remodeling has usually been a great investment for any home. Just make sure you don't "over-improve" the home. If other homes in your neighborhood don't have marble countertops, don't install them. Home values are largely based on neighboring homes. Cabinet, counter, floor and appliance upgrades – so long as they match the home and the neighborhood -- will still bring value several years from now.

Upgrading the master bath with new stone tiles, mirrors, light fixtures and flooring will create a spa-like appearance that doesn't have to cost a ton of money, and it improves the value of any home.

Consider energy-efficient appliances, windows and doors when it's time to upgrade. "Green" remodeling will only become more important in the future, and could be a deciding factor in the sale of a home.

Improve the outdoor spaces for family living. Decks, flagstone patios and even old-fashioned porches always add value. The more livable a space, the higher the demand.
If you're in the unenviable position of placing your home for sale in the near future, there are some easy and cheap projects that will make your home easier to sell.

  • Replace flooring. New carpeting or wood laminate flooring can make an entire space look new. If you can't replace the flooring, hire a truck mounted professional cleaning service to clean all the carpets and hardwood floors in your home.
  • Paint the entire interior a light, neutral shade. Keeping the color the same in every room of the home will create the illusion of more space. Also make sure you freshen up the paint on trim and doors as well.
  • Improve the bath with easy do-it-yourself projects. Paint the cabinets, install tile floors, and upgrade the lighting.
  • Create curb appeal by cleaning up and cutting back excess plant growth, adding flowering planters or repainting the front door.

No matter what shape the housing market is in, there are always ways to improve the value of your largest investment ... your home. Making wise choices can maximize the financial payoff and create a more comfortable home for you and your family.

Your Next Move:

Make Your Home Improvement Project 'Green'

Decks, Fences and Porches: A Guide on Getting the Best Person for the Job

How to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodeling

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden author and is a home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com. Visit her for more home and garden ideas at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com or http://www.DecoratingYourSmallSpace.com.

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In the Press

A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

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