Home Improvement Projects

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Experts share their ideas for the best approach to add value to your home.

Story by Ann Butenas

If you have recently purchased a home or have lived in your existing one for a while, there are a few ways to increase the value of your home, whether you intend to sell soon or you just want to remodel to gain the value in easier living.

Before you do anything, remember to start slowly. This is more of a marathon than a sprint. Make a list of things you would like to change and any updates you want to make. Consider how long you will be living in the home and speak with a Realtor if you plan to sell soon to devise a selling plan.

Then, categorize that list by cost, considering both time and money, always keeping your budget in mind. After reviewing your list, prioritize what is most important and then focus on tackling one area of the home at a time.

When you are ready, you may want to consult a professional who can guide you with experience, knowledge and expertise. Even if you are somewhat of a do-it-yourselfer, it never hurts to take into account some professional ideas, tips and suggestions. These three remodeling experts have a few ideas in mind.

Adding Value for Easier Living

Take a look at your master bathroom. Perhaps it is time to remove the bathtub. Most homeowners would agree that a larger shower instead of an over-sized, rarely-if-ever used bathtub would make greater use of the existing footprint in the bathroom. Most of these tubs frequently double as laundry hampers or plant storage, so as long as you have another tub in the home in another bathroom, you can do away with the master tub. Instead, focus on the multitude of shower fixture options, from hand shower accessories to full steam shower systems. Now you’re talking!

If you desire more open space but think you don’t have the space, think again.

“We find that homeowners continue to want the public areas of their homes to be open and inviting,” noted Mary Thompson of Architectural Craftsmen. “Removing walls can make a drastic difference in the way the space is used.”

Thompson suggests two things to keep in mind when eliminating walls.

“Determine if it’s a load bearing wall and then deal with it, and consider the best way to transition the flooring between the two spaces,” she explained.

Another way to add value to your home is to reconsider the location of the current laundry room, such as relocating it on the main level or near the master suite.

“Many homes built post-World War II have laundry facilities in the basement,” said Thompson. “But who wants to lug heavy laundry baskets up and down a full flight of stairs?”

Thus, it makes sense to have the washer and dryer closest to the place the laundry is created.  In many homes, an existing linen closet is the perfect place to put a stackable washer and dryer. A half-bathroom can also be converted into a laundry room. In other homes, Thompson and her crew have added on space for a mudroom/laundry room off of the garage.

The Secret is in High Quality Windows and Siding

Something as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint to your front door can make a vast improvement in the overall appeal of your home, adding to that desired curb appeal.

“Sometimes the best – and simplest – home improvement ideas can be found in the first things people notice as they approach a home,” said Jake Matthew, exterior remodeling expert with Total Home Remodeling.

When it comes to ideas to improve value to your home, Matthew’s thoughts instinctively turn to the exterior.

“We suggest installing higher end windows,” he noted, explaining while you will not get an immediate return on that investment, the value comes in with higher quality windows which essentially will never need to be replaced. “Fiberglass, aluminum clad, wood clad and vinyl windows seem to get a better return in the long run.”

Matthew focuses on the cost value aspect of such improvements and explained that a $10,000 investment on quality windows can make your home worth about $7,000 more.

“You can realize a boost in the return on your investment if you use higher end materials,” he explained.

As for siding, Matthew suggested LP SmartSide, an engineered product made to look like wood and backed with a 50-year warranty. Again, with this product, you won’t necessarily see a financial return for about 10 years.

In short, using higher quality materials tends to result in a greater resale value down the road as opposed to using mid-range products.

It’s Often in the Details

Bryan Delap, owner of All Under One Roof, seems to have a lot of exciting tricks up his sleeve when it comes to those creative home remodeling projects that can add value to your home. One of his favorites comes in the form of putting bonus rooms over garages.

After collaborating with a client who was growing weary of walking down to the laundry room located just off her garage, Delap suggested adding a laundry room in the attic space above the garage. After moving the laundry facilities up there, it allowed for appreciable expansion of the former laundry room, making it a combination of a mud room and pantry, which also includes a coat cabinet, keeping this active family organized.

As one who is passionate about the ergonomics of his remodeling designs, Delap enjoys installing taller vanities, creating more of a work station and adding cubbies and built-in work stations or credenzas alongside a blank wall.

“We recently converted a secretary desk into a wine bar,” he noted.

Taking that ergonomics into the kitchen, Delap is a fan of roll-out drawers and cabinets. Instead of kneeling or crouching down to grab stuff way in the back of a cabinet, you can simply pull out the tray that is affixed to a ball bearing slide. Another great idea is to incorporate stacked vanities into bathrooms, great for additional storage and ease of use.

“We lean towards organizing places within a home to focus on useful spaces,” Delap emphasized.

So, whether you are interested in adding value to your home to eventually sell it later on, or if you just want to add value to your home for easier living, an experienced expert in the remodeling trade can offer a wealth of ideas, helping you to separate your needs from your wants and prioritizing what’s most important to your lifestyle and future goals.

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