Home Improvement How

The images on this page show examples of council homes before and after improvement work. One of the biggest hurdles for many would-be buyers is getting approved for a mortgage loan (see mortgage rates in your area). There’s a significant amount of paperwork involved, Espersen says. This includes having a loan officer review your recent tax returns and banking statements, and possibly having to clear up any mishaps on your credit report. What you won’t usually see on camera is someone struggling for 60 days to get approved for a loan, only to be turned down because the criteria have changed,” he adds.

Luxury upgrades. While no one wants to see the absolute cheapest renovations in a home, the highest-quality upgrades often don’t have the return of mid-range ones, unless you’re in a very high-end home. Marble floors in the bathroom or custom cabinets in the kitchen may be nice, but you shouldn’t assume buyers will pay proportionately for these luxuries.

Each year, the magazine surveys contractors about the costs for a host of common projects and asks Realtors to estimate how much each of those projects adds to a house. You can’t exactly take the results to the bank, because there are a host of other factors that will affect your payback, from how badly your house needs the work to how common such updates are in your neighborhood. Still, the numbers are handy to keep in mind if you’re investing in a project and also think you may sell within a few years.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the project. It just means you shouldn’t expect it to add value to your home and should anticipate that your home may be more difficult to sell as a result. For example, while a soundproof music studio might be your dream come true, it won’t be practical for a young family looking for an extra bedroom for their new baby. These types of buyers won’t pay the premium it cost you to build the studio and they may be turned off by it.

While it is a common misconception that ceiling fans reduce room temperatures, the evapotranspiration effects of moving air over human skin can help occupants to feel cooler even at higher temperatures. When properly located and used, ceiling fans can save from 4 to 8 percent on air conditioning costs. Just like the no cost actions, these low cost actions only save energy and money in relation to our behaviors. So be sure to flip the switches off when you leave the room or you’ll be paying to light empty spaces and to move air across unused furniture.