Home Renovation: What Project Should I Tackle First

renovationHome renovation is a huge project with many faces. If you do an anonymous poll, most homeowners will tell you that they have a love-hate relationship with home renovation. When done right, home renovation can transform the curb appeal of your home, while increasing its resale value. When done wrong, you can end up stretching your bank account and feeling completely disillusioned. The good news is that you can strategically plan for your home renovation project and prioritize creatively to alleviate the time, cost, and energy it requires.

Carefully Plan out of Your Budget | One of the fundamental question all homeowners should ask themselves is not “How much money do I have for this project?” but “How much money have I allocated for this project?” There’s a huge difference between having the money and having the money set aside. Too many homeowners begin their home renovation looking at the number in the bank account. What they need to do instead is to evaluate their income, expenses, and saving before coming up with a number they will be comfortable with.

Assess Your Home’s Condition | Practical homeowners understand that smart renovation strikes a healthy balance between aesthetics and performance. Because the function of your home will ultimately impact its efficiency, value, and comfort, Home Guides recommends homeowners to hire a licensed home inspector to professionally evaluate the condition of your home and identify areas in need of repair. For example, the EPA reports at least 10% of the homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. As a result, repairing leaky fixtures, damaged flooring, and improper ventilation can effectively lower your water bills, making your home eco-friendlier and more attractive to buyers.

Consider Energy Efficiency Upgrades | If you’re not planning to sell your home anytime sooner, then prioritizing your renovation needs base on energy efficiency is a smart move. When listing out Top 25 Biggest Renovating Mistakes, one of the mistakes named by HGTV — besides not doing your homework and settling for cheap materials — is failing to go green. According to Carey Evans from the American home improvement show Don’t Sweat It, “If you’re doing your renovation green, you’re really ahead of the market right now. So going green is a very smart investment.” From your roof to the windows around the house, homeowners can increase resale value and save plenty on their monthly energy expenditure.

Invest Your Money for Long-term Returns | No home renovation is created equal. Some can dramatically change the home’s resale value; others will have minimal impacts. As This Old House shares, while increasing the size of your home or the number of your rooms usually results in higher resale prices, putting a swimming pool in your backyard will yield little to no returns. This is because most buyers are reluctant to pay more for a house “just to acquire what they consider a maintenance bother.” When reporting findings from the Remodeling Magazine, HGTV also cautions against a major kitchen or bathroom remodeling. Instead, homeowners are recommended to tackle minor remodeling kitchen/bathroom projects and invest in better windows and siding.

Research to See What’s “Hot” |  Home renovation requires much research and planning. To make every penny counts, Bob Villa encourages homeowners to study market trend, think small, and avoid going overboard with fancy home improvement projects that can easily go out of fashion (like built-in aquariums and luxurious basements). So get out a pen and several pieces of paper to start the planning process.

Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov

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