Your Home Is Worth More Than You Think!
When it comes to real estate, things actually aren't so bad here in Denver. Our guide to the myths and realities of the local market will show you why. Plus: How to refinance your mortgage, remodel on a budget, and rehab your IRA with real estate investments.
How to Get the Best Return on Investment from Your Remodeling Project
Thanks to cable standbys like HGTV and the DIY Network, popular interest in home renovation projects was booming before the housing crisis hit. Even in the wake of the downturn, the National Association of Realtors released a report recently that showed the value of homeowners' investments in remodeling declined in 2008 only about half as much as the overall decrease in home prices nationally. So it still pays to remodel—but given people's desire to monitor their finances more closely these days, it's useful to know what types of changes can offer something beyond mere cosmetic upgrades.
Start by going green—especially if you're working on a tight budget. "If you're going to live in your home for even a year, increasing energy efficiency is the best thing you can do," says Barbara Baker, owner of I Am Enterprises Construction, a company that buys, renovates, and resells houses, primarily in northwest Denver. "Get an energy audit with Xcel Energy or any of the companies that offer them, and put in new insulation, doors, and windows."
When making more visually pleasing changes, compare materials' cost versus their relative durability. Fiber-cement siding can be preferable to vinyl or aluminum, and cement countertops will save money over marble or granite. Home-improvement experts also suggest avoiding anything too trendy or bold, especially when the last thing you want to do is start all over again once the fad has faded.
Xcel's Insulation Rebate program covers 20 percent of the cost of insulation and air-sealing upgrades, or $300—whichever is less—for certain energy-efficient improvements. Installation must occur between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010, to qualify.