Home Improvement DIY

With house prices and energy costs rising both nationally and globally, improving the energy efficiency of your existing home presents an opportunity to ‘future proof’ your investment. PeachtreeRemodeling magazine, in its “Cost Versus Value Report,” offers a region-by-region market analysis of specific projects and the paybacks of each in terms of selling your home. An example: Replacing old windows with vinyl models at a cost of $11,066 increased the resale value by $7,920. So, 71.8 percent of the expense is recouped. Older houses can often have a separate toilet and bathroom, which can put buyers off, so if this is the case in your home, you might consider installing a toilet inside the bathroom, if you have the space.

But that doesn’t really matter to Washington, D.C., homeowner Emma Chanlett-Avery. She and her husband are remodeling their Washington home, enlarging their current kitchen, adding on a family room and a master suite above the addition. They moved in five years ago, and they want more space for their two young children. Cost versus value wasn’t really a driver in their design plans.

Putting stainless steel appliances in your kitchen or imported tiles in your entryway may do little to increase the value of your home if the bathrooms are still vinyl-floored and the shag carpeting in the bedrooms is leftover from the ’60s. Upgrades should be consistent to maintain a similar style and quality throughout the home. A home that has a beautifully remodelled and modern kitchen can be viewed as a work in project if the bathrooms remain functionally obsolete. The remodel, therefore, might not fetch as high a return as if the rest of the home were brought up to the same level. High-quality upgrades generally increase the value of high-end homes, but not necessarily mid-range houses where the upgrade may be inconsistent with the rest of the home.

Unfortunately, most home improvements do not pay for themselves. If you can’t afford to finance the project in full with cash, know the different ways you can finance your home improvement without putting your home at risk. Also, if you know the difference between tax breaks you get for home repairs or home improvements , you can make the proper deductions at tax time and get some money back from your project. Similarly, if you’re paying private mortgage insurance, home improvements that increase the value of your home could help you eliminate that cost , which, although it doesn’t raise funds for your project, can reduce your housing expenses overall.

It’s the question every handy homeowner getting ready to embark on a renovation asks themselves: How much can I actually do myself? If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, it may be more than you think. Curbed spoke with experts including DIY home renovators, contractors, and architects to determine the realistic DIY projects in your house, and what is better left to the professionals.