4 Home Improvement Projects with High Long-Term Return

When you’re making improvements to your home, you’re not just making your life better in the short term, you’re also making an investment in your future. Ideally, the increase in the value of your home will exceed the cost of the improvement. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way, but if you seek relatively low-cost improvements that require little to no maintenance, they should, at least, distinguish your house from similar homes! And, ideally, they also improve the energy efficiency of your house.

Here are four home remodel projects that can improve the resale value of your home. They’re excellent uses for your home equity line of credit (HELOC) and you may be able to save money by doing all or part of them yourself. By the way, don’t forget to consult your tax adviser to determine if those improvements qualify you for tax deductions!

1.) Replace the front door

There’s an old adage in real estate that suggests the features get tours, but the front porch gets sales. People make decisions on home-buying all the time by starting with a gut reaction and finding reasons to support it later. Why not start your home remodeling project with the first thing you interact with on your house: the front door. Upgrading an old, poorly-fitting front door with a newer energy-efficient model is a cheap, quick project that can instantly improve your home’s efficiency and aesthetic appeal. Best of all, hanging a door can be done in an afternoon!

With an average price of just over $1,200, including labor, an energy-efficient front door has an ROI of 98%! It’s also a chance to be creative. A new front door can add a splash of color, and window placements can break up a monotonous front profile.

2.) Do a Minor Kitchen Remodel

Replacing major appliances and installing new flooring is a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive task. The national average for spending here is $57,000, and the ROI for major kitchen remodeling isn’t great, at only 68%. Minor kitchen upgrades like repainting cabinets, installing a new tile backsplash, and energy-efficient cook-tops, are comparatively inexpensive. Just like the front door, these changes are mostly aesthetic, but people perceive a more modern-looking kitchen as being a better fit than the “retro” look.

This is also a chance to customize a place where you spend a remarkable amount of time. Having a kitchen look just the way you like it can make it easier and more enjoyable to cook. This will encourage you to eat more meals in, and energy-efficient appliances can lower your electric bills for the life of the home.

3.) Install or Expand a Wooden deck

Outdoor spaces are the American dream. Where else can a family sit and enjoy a frosty lemonade on a hot summer day? Watch the kids play in the yard while tending the grill? Why, on a beautiful wooden deck, of course!

Wooden deck additions were unpopular for years, as consumers see them as luxuries. During a recession, remodeling dollars tend to focus on needs, like kitchen and bedroom updates. But now that the economy is improving, more people are looking at decks as valuable extensions of their living space. The average cost, based on a 16 foot by 20 foot wooden deck, is $10,000. The average return on investment is just over 80%. This makes for a great way to increase outdoor living space and add value to your home, without spending an arm and a leg.

4.) Convert an Attic Space into a Bedroom

For most houses, the attic is an afterthought. It’s a place where unused craft projects and abandoned hobbies go to die. Consider turning that dead space into living space with a remodeling project! Turning an existing attic space into a spare bedroom or office can really add value. Complete with its own bathroom, which can be done for a slightly steeper price, and you’ve really got a great addition!

Nationally, the average cost is just over $50,000. That includes constructing a room, extending utilities to it (if adding a bathroom space), and adjusting the exterior of the house to accommodate the new space. However, this remodel provides a 77% return on investment in resale value, with the potential for more! If you have adult children or relatives visiting from out of town, an attic room can also be a wonderful guest room. You could even rent it out for additional income!

So what do you think? Will you be tackling any home improvement projects over the long weekend? Comment below!! Need additional ideas or financing? Contact us!
SOURCES:
http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2015/
http://www.mywindowworks.com/blog/p.130719000/curb-appeal-the-impact-of-a-new-front-door/
http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/decks/deck-addition-value/
http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/home-remodeling-projects-with-long-term-ROI/?cid=eo_sm_tw_mxm-social&sf7615387=1#
http://lifehacker.com/the-10-home-improvement-projects-with-the-highest-retur-1687978686

Twenty Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day — Without Breaking the Bank!

We all want to show our dads that we care on Father’s Day. Many people panic and run straight for the ties. But unless your Father is a necktie aficionado and you can land him the rarest of rare finds in men’s fashion, you may want to consider something else that shows how well you know and appreciate your Dad! Here are 20 ways you can honor your father this Father’s Day:

  1. Get fishing licenses for both of you and go fishing!
  2. College mascot-branded duct tape for the sports fan/handyman.
  3. Take in a minor league baseball game.
  4. Detail his car with a vinyl cleaner (Armor All) and a vacuum.
  5. Take a trip to the driving range together.
  6. Dust and sort his toolbox – don’t forget to label the wrenches and sockets!
  7. Tackle the mowing, raking, or other yard work.
  8. Personalized coffee mug – write on a blank mug with sharpies, bake at 450 for 30 minutes!
  9. Build your own BBQ rub or sauce using Dad’s favorite flavors.
  10. Give the grill a thorough cleaning.
  11. Clean and organize the shed or garage – it’s probably been on his to-do list all year!
  12. Grab a few of his favorite classic movies on DVD or Blu-Ray (but make sure he has a Blu-Ray player first!).
  13. Pick up a few cuts of meat and ask him to teach you how to grill them.
  14. Offer him a “tech tutorial” on how to better use a device he already owns.
  15. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity together – working with him to improve your community!
  16. Find a local historical site and arrange a walking tour.
  17. Build something with him – like a bird house or a spice rack.
  18. Pack a picnic lunch and head to a local park!
  19. Just spend time with him doing the things he likes to do.
  20. Put a new spin on the old necktie cliché – buy an old necktie at a thrift store, do a web search for “DIY Necktie Eyeglass case” and follow the instructions to make this unique gift. Buy a pair of sunglasses to put inside before you give it to him!

How to Have a Financially Productive Summer

A Little Q And A

Q: It’s summer, and the kids are off school. We’ve finally got some real vacation time. I don’t want the next few months to disintegrate into video games and trash TV. How can I use the time off to help my family financially?

A: Summer vacation is a quintessential American innovation. Nowhere else in the world do kids have months on end free from school or any other responsibility. On one hand, it’s great to spend more time with them. On the other, how do you keep them entertained without breaking the bank? Fortunately, there are a few ways to have the kind of summer break that builds memories without building debt. You can use these months to teach your children valuable lessons about financial responsibility, spend quality time together as a family, and save (or make!) a little money along the way. Try activities like these 5 for a fun, financially responsible summer!

1) Have a yard sale!

If there’s one lesson to impart to children about saving, it’s that less is more. It can be hard to impart that lesson with toys from birthdays and Christmas’s past crowding the closet, collecting dust. Encourage them to find one or two things per day that they could contribute to a yard sale, then have it at the end of the month. Involve your kids in as many aspects of the plan as possible. Ask them to help you advertise on Craigslist and other social media. Have them tell their friends or their friends’ parents about it. Show them how to do research to price items, and have them work the cash box. All of these are valuable skills that can help them with summer jobs in the future!

When the sale is done, have a conversation about what you can do with the money. It could go toward a family vacation, or into a savings account or college fund. Let them contribute ideas for fun things the family can do with the yard sale proceeds. This can be a chance to teach kids about budgeting while encouraging them not to hold on to things that don’t bring them joy.

2) Start a (very) small business!

One way children learn the value of hard work is to earn a wage for doing a job. Paying your kids an allowance to do a job is one way to do that, but certainly not the only one. Getting your kids to help with a very small business is a great way to let them see the rewards of hard work while making a little money on the side. Business services will vary, but demand for many services is higher in the summer. Businesses need window washers. Elderly neighbors may need help with weeding, mowing, planting, or other landscaping projects. Many people clean house in the summer and list old furniture for sale, which can be rehabilitated and resold for a profit. Any of these small projects would make a fun way to spend some time together this summer.

The business doesn’t need to make a lot of money to be valuable. In addition to quality time, your children can gain an appreciation for the hard work that goes into making a successful business. This could be a great addition to a college application essay or a resume for a first job.

3) Fix up the house!

There are tons of great, simple projects that you can tackle as a family to improve the efficiency of your home. Some of the easiest, like installing a new front door, can be done in an afternoon and improve the aesthetic appeal and insulation of your house. These are great projects to tackle as a family. Any repair or upgrade that you’ve been putting off can be a great summer project. Kids can earn a wage for their labor, or they can work in exchange for some privilege, like going to a sleepover at a friend’s house. Doing this kind of work can help them understand how much hard work goes into home ownership.

These little improvements can add up to significant savings. You’ll start feeling the benefits in lower electricity bills in the summer, and continue to feel them all year round. When you sell your house, these improvements will reflect in the higher value of your home.

4) Plant a garden!

Believe it or not, planting a garden is one of the most cost-effective things families can do together. For every dollar you spend in green bean seeds, you’ll get up to $75 back in fresh produce! You can pickle, dry, preserve or can the extras and sell them to friends and neighbors for an even better return! There are many ways to squeeze additional savings out of a garden. Instead of costly fertilizers, you can compost kitchen waste. You can find reclaimed wood, especially from pallets and shipping containers, to make raised beds. Save seeds from produce, and water with rain collectors.

Planting a garden doesn’t just save money. It can also be a way to encourage your family to eat more vegetables. Tending and caring for a patch of vegetables can be a great way to build responsibility and have fun outdoors this summer!

5) Plan a stay-cation!

The average cost of a family vacation is creeping up. For a family of 4, a week of vacation, excluding travel, costs $1,700! Even if you’re taking a road trip in a reasonably efficient family vehicle, that could easily amount to $2,000 or more. The best parts of a vacation are the shared experiences, and there’s no need to go too far to get those. Find a local festival or cultural event, and plan a vacation in your home town! Check out local historical sites and museums, eat out at nice restaurants, and come home to your own beds at night.

What’s more, a stay-cation can show your kids the rich culture of their surroundings. Use your stay-cation as a time to visit sites of personal interest, like where you and your partner met, or where their great grandparents went to school. They’ll appreciate the deeper knowledge of where they come from, and you can appreciate the togetherness… and the savings!

SOURCES:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/money-crashers-personal-finance/saving-money-summer_b_1414559.html
http://money.usnews.com/money/the-frugal-shopper/2014/08/25/4-diy-home-projects-that-will-save-you-money
http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/businessideas/a/fundsinthesun.htm