If you follow Money magazine, you'll note with interest (as we did) that mixed in with the hard-core financial tips, advice, and money scion profiles are "softer" articles dedicated to the home and lifestyle issues. In tough economic times, we retreat a little and start to look at our home investments as sounder than when the market was flush and we could flip our homes like pancakes and continue moving up.
But now it's hunker-down time, and Money is telling us all about house wisdom - a move we applaud. Here are some of the tips that strongly resonated with us:
- Home repairs will get you the biggest returns on your dollar investments. Money notes that "while buyers might appreciate enhancements like Jacuzzis and Sub-Zeros, they won't tolerate a house with a leaky roof or antiquated plumbing." At closings, it's becoming more common for new home buyers to subtract from the purchase price both the costs of anticipated repairs and a penalty for the buyers having to make those repairs. Bottom line: make the repairs now before you sell and save penalties (not to mention enjoying the results of your repairs while you're living there).
- Here are the Big 3 home improvements that will have the best paybacks if and when you sell your home: finishing your basement (estimated project cost: $65,000 - per Remodeling magazine); attic conversion to a bed + bath combo (est. cost: $50,000); and replacing your roof (est. cost: $20,000).
- And then there are the Big 3 home improvements that are experiencing falling paybacks: luxe master suite addition (est. project cost: $226,000); complete kitchen remodeling (est. cost: $112,000); and new wood deck (est. cost: $11,000).
- Rather than putting in a media room with high-tech systems that will date quickly - here's the rule: new gadgets will always become obsolete - install cable and Ethernet ports into your rooms when you're opening up walls for a construction or remodeling project. That's only about $80 a room, and you'll be able to handle any new technology that comes along (the flashiest 3D flatscreen, for instance) and show that your house has modern wiring upgrades.
- We were fascinated by Money's advice not to undertake a major remodeling project if you're going to move from your home in less than 5 years. Five years is what you should wait after a big remodeling project. But start making your renovations and repairs right now as we're in a bargain home improvement climate. How so? Most contractors are needing the work now and you can sometimes get up to 40% off what you'd normally be paying. So this is the classic "buy low" financial advice, and Money is saying that now is the time to buy and make your improvements - if you're willing to sit tight for at least the next 5 years. Design2Share adds: improve and enjoy your home right now and give your family as much stability and happy memories as possible.
Now that Spring is here, be certain to check our Spring Home Checklist to keep everything in tip-top condition, and make sure our checklist becomes part of your home to-do list.