One of the best things about owning your home is that the money you invest in it adds to its value. This means that not only do you get to enjoy any upgrades you decide to make, but if you sell your home down the line, you’ll recoup your costs (and perhaps profit from it).
Some upgrades are always worth making. They make your life better while you’re living there. Future home-buyers love them too, so your home will likely sell quickly at the asking price if you decide to put it on the market.
Here are some of the best ways to invest in your home.
High Quality Flooring
High quality, hard wearing floors are always a smart move. They look great, are easy to clean and last a very long time if they’re looked after.
Take solid wood, for example. This can last up to a hundred years if cared for in the right way. It can be sanded down every few years to remove any scratches, scuffs or marks making it look as good as new. Wood looks classic and will suit any decor. It’s the sort of thing that will never go out of style.
Otherwise, natural stone like marble or granite also makes a good choice.
While these can be costly upfront, you most definitely save yourself money in the long run. In fact, you might never need to put another type of flooring down for as long as you live!
Hard flooring can be made cozy with large rugs. If you choose a neutral color it will work with any of your decor choices over the years. These will add value to your home, and will also be desirable for home-buyers who will also be aware of how low maintenance and long lasting they are.
Carpets might be cozy, but they can wear quickly and look shabby. Not to mention they can harbor all kinds of things you probably don’t want in your home. The average carpet contains vomit, feces, bacteria and all kinds of decomposing insects that can cause health issues – even if you vacuum and clean regularly. Ew! No wonder buyers prefer hard floors. No one wants to inherit your old carpets and whatever is hiding in them.
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Good Windows and Doors
Top spec windows and doors are desirable for a number of reasons.
First, they look nice and can make the home look more appealing from the outside. If you’re giving the outside a facelift by painting it, having it rendered or adding panels, new windows can really finish off the look.
Newer windows and doors are also good from a home security perspective. They can be fitted with extra panels of glazing which makes them harder to smash or gain access through. The frames will also be made of more robust materials that are harder to wedge open. Newer doors will have the best quality locks on the market, again making it difficult for a criminal to gain access.
Finally, these upgrades can also save you on your gas and electricity bill. Windows that are newer tend to be more energy efficient, they stop the warm air from inside getting out which means you spend less on your fuel bill (not to mention this is good for the environment – another thing that many modern home-buyers will be looking for).
Windows and doors can essentially ‘pay for themselves’ after a few years since your bills will be cheaper. Even if you move before then, you can recoup your costs by increasing your house price since they will make it more valuable. So either way, you have nothing to lose.
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A Modern, Neutral Kitchen
As the saying goes, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s such an important room when you’re cooking for a family (or even just yourself). You need a pleasing, well thought out space. For many, it’s a place to entertain friends, and if your kitchen and dining room are combined it’s the place you’ll eat your meals too.
A good kitchen can make life so much easier for yourself. With everything properly laid out there’s no need to rummage around because the things you need are all accessible.
If you plan on selling later on, you’ll of course want a kitchen that will appeal to both yourself as well as future buyers. For this reason, go with something modern, neutral and a ‘safe’ choice. High quality plain white cupboards and granite or wooden tops for example will appeal to just about everyone. It doesn’t mean your kitchen has to look boring, you can always add color, texture and interest with accessories that are easily removed when it comes time to sell.
If your home is likely to appeal to families, you’ll want a family kitchen.
If it’s a small apartment, you’ll want to make the most of every nook and cranny with the space. You can browse Pinterest or Amazon for ideas, or work with a kitchen designer who can bring your vision to life in a practical way.
Another thing that will improve your home, as well as add to its value, is improving the outside areas.
A garden, deck or yard is essentially another ‘room’ in your home to enjoy when the weather is mild. It’s a chance to entertain friends, spend time with family or just relax.
Again, it makes sense to consider your type of property and who it will most appeal to.
Having a nice lawn makes sense if you have a family home. You could add color and curb-appeal by having in raised beds, planters or potted plants in a part of your yard where they won’t get trampled.
If you’re in a bungalow, a low maintenance garden might be a smart move, especially if your home will appeal to older adults. Pea gravel and areas with low maintenance plants will make it look smart and interesting.
If you have a large garden, you could go a step further and add a garden room or a sun room. These are fully insulated and can be used as guest rooms, hobby rooms, teenage hangouts or home offices, depending on what you need. They’re cheaper to put up than regular extensions and you might not need permission or permits to add one. (Be sure to check, though!)
Having this extra bit of space can be helpful for your family and is certainly something that future buyers are going to appreciate.
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.