These Home Projects Pay You Back Big

The images on this page show examples of council homes before and after improvement work. The basics are always more important than fancy new fittings and fixtures. A beautiful new kitchen and bathroom will add no value if the roof is leaking or rising damp is a problem, for example. It is the basic improvements that will provide the greatest return on a home’s value. Homeowners who are considering selling in the next year or so need to start any home improvements by tackling problems with the home’s structure or systems such as the plumbing before installing a Jacuzzi, for example.

A disabled facilities grant will be no more than £30,000 in England and £36,000 in Wales. However, your local authority can top up this up, as it can give you other help with home improvements (see under the heading Help with home improvements). The amount of grant you get depends on your income and savings, unless the work is to meet the needs of a disabled person under 16, or in some cases, over 16 but under 19.

However, to get access to these rebates, you must first pay for and complete a home-energy audit—a test that will tell you how energy efficient your home is (or isn’t) and then provide a list of upgrades. The audit is done in two parts (before and after) and can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000, depending on your city, your home and the company you use. Once you’ve completed and paid for these improvements, you can submit receipts and paperwork to various rebate programs. Depending on what you’ve done, you could get as much as $10,000 back, just keep in mind it could take up to a year for the money to come in.

In today’s housing market, every dollar counts. Sullivan reminds would-be investors that there are a number of factors to consider before pursuing a house flip, starting with location and thorough knowledge of the property. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t make it a good deal,” he warns. One plus to look for: curb appeal really does help to sell homes. You’ll need to determine the fine line between investing too much in a property and not doing enough, Sullivan advises. Finally, you’ll want to get the project done quickly because your carrying costs will grow and could potentially wipe out your profits, he adds. Some carrying costs include financing, insurance, taxes, and maintenance.

By 2040, there are expected to be almost 80 million seniors accounting for 21 percent of the population. The existing housing stock isn’t equipped to safely accommodate that many older people—too many steep staircases, narrow walker-­unfriendly doorways, and slippery step-in bathtubs and showers. Forward-thinking homeowners are making necessary improvements to their home now—and those changes will benefit people of all ages, not just seniors. According to a 2015 survey by ­HomeAdvisor, 56 percent of homeowners who hired a pro for aging-related projects were younger than 65, and 10 percent were younger than 50.