Home Improvement – A Big Decision


There are many reasons for a home improvement project. Your plan might be as simple as painting a few rooms, as large as adding on additional living areas, or somewhere in between. Before beginning the project, it’s a good idea to determine the cost and the return on your investment. Investing in your home is a two-fold approach – to improve your environment and to increase the value.


Large indoor projects such as remodeling the kitchen (including new appliances), knocking a wall out to create one large room instead of two small ones, or replacing flooring and windows, will most likely require a significant outlay of funds. Likewise, if you want to enjoy the outdoors more this summer, you might be planning to add a deck and/or patio which can require a large investment.


According to Quicken Loans, there are a few questions to ask yourself prior to starting your project:


  • How long am I going to stay in this home?
  • How much money can I spend without racking up exorbitant credit card bills or seriously affecting my savings accounts?
  • Why am I considering this improvement – is it a need or a want?


Planning your home improvement


Begin by walking through your home, taking an inventory of everything that you want to change. To help you determine what to address first, note “need” or “want” next to each item. Repairing leaking plumbing (a need) would certainly be addressed before painting your bedroom (want). Group the needs and wants, prioritize the items, then tackle each project accordingly.


For those that don’t require immediate attention, you might want to prioritize by length of project or by cost. Some can be broken down into segments. For example, new windows are a major expense, so if you need 12 windows replaced, you might want to do just 4 at a time so they can be budgeted more easily. Though this will take longer to complete your project(s), it will benefit your budget and possibly allow for smaller, less costly projects to be completed also.


Be mindful of your budget


The first step in the decision-making process is to determine your budget. There is no reason to plan a huge project if there is no possible way to afford it. Can you do it yourself, or will you need to hire professionals? Get estimates on all materials if you’re a DIYer; if you’ll need to hire a professional, request at least two quotes that include materials and labor. Don’t forget to also determine the time frame. One quote might be less than the other, but if you’re having a deck or patio built, you most likely want it completed before November.


Is it a wise investment?


If you plan to sell your home within a few years, only make improvements that will either make your house easier to sell or bring you a higher selling price. Do some research and talk to a realtor for advice before beginning your major projects.


If you plan to remain in your home for many years, focus your projects on comfort, efficiency, and creating a home that fits your lifestyle. Focus on cosmetic improvements, such as new furniture, area rugs, and appliances, around national holidays, when stores are more likely to offer sale prices and financing options. Watch for special offers throughout the year as well, and plan your purchases accordingly.


When your new items arrive, be sure to add them to your home inventory so your records remain up to date.