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It’s a New Year (and have a happy one!), and a great time to start planning out your year when it comes to home renovations. But, that decision-making process can be difficult in tougher economic times. So, how do you choose which projects to invest in? Well, maybe one place to start is in thinking about the projects that will add the most value.

To help you get a firmer hold on what those projects might be, here’s 30 year veteran in the home remodeling field Tracy Tesmer to widdle the list down to 5 projects to consider.

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During the housing boom of the early 2000s, homeowners could plan on getting the majority of their money back on most home improvement projects. These days as the housing market continues to struggle, even replacing a door knob can seem like a costly endeavor, causing homeowners to think more carefully about which remodeling projects are going to pay them back in the long run.

By choosing the right project to enhance your living space, you can not only enjoy them now, but a significant portion of the expense also can be passed on to future owners when they buy your house. Here are five suggestions with big “bank for the buck” that will help you decide what your next remodeling project should be:

1. Replacing an Entry Door

This easy, relatively low cost project that seems to keep popping up on everyone’s list as a must-do. Replacing your entry door with a new steel unit keeps out the cold in the winter and keeps the cool air in during the summer, keeping energy bills down, which everyone likes. As a bonus, by updating the look of your front door, you can also add curb appeal now and for the future.

2. New Wood Deck

If you live in the right climate, outdoor living spaces can be great investments. Depending on who you ask, new decks can give you up to a 75% return on your investment. Plus, you get to invite neighbors over to enjoy drinks on the new deck.

3. Attic Remodel

Although this is a big one in terms of money and time, an attic remodel is the cheapest way to transform unused attic space into a playroom, bedroom or office and get more living space in the home that you have. With many families sharing space with adult children or older parents, having more living space is paramount for everyone’s sanity.

4. Kitchen and Bathroom

Although remodeling these rooms can be at the high end of the spectrum, there are ways that you can do a mid-range remodel that will pay you back. In recent years, we have seen that replacing counter tops, kitchen sinks, and repainting kitchen counters are all good ways to add value and update without breaking the bank. If you are going to be in your home for more than five years, certainly get exactly what you want, but if resale is your top priority then be conscientious of choosing elements that have broad appeal and always stick to features and finishes that are common to your neighborhood.

5. New Windows

Besides keeping you warmer, and freshening up your home, new windows can be a major selling point. Windows have come a long way in the last 20 years, and modern windows do wonders for your monthly energy bill.
The key here is to let the Joneses be your guide. In today’s struggling economy you won’t get a return on your investment for that in-ground pool or that fancy chef’s kitchen, if none of your neighbors have it. Practice a little self-restraint in choosing projects that will pay you back by simply bringing your house up to date, lowering energy bills, and adding living space to your home.

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Thanks, Tracy!

Tracy Tesmer is founder of Tracy Tesmer Design • Build • Remodel • Repair, a Gainesville, GA bathroom remodeling company specializing in kitchen and home renovations in North, Ga.  Tracy has over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and hosts a weekly home improvement radio show on WDUN discussing home renovation in North, GA.

Cheers!

Rob.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.