For most of us, our home is our single largest and most important investment in the future. It’s also where you live, work, play, and spend time with your family. In other words, keeping it in great condition so that it holds its value is everything. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the home upgrades that pay off in the long run—as well as some changes you can make today to start saving money right away.
Start saving with improved energy-efficiency
Some major upgrades to your home—such as remodeling your kitchen or bathroom—only start to pay off when you sell or refinance. That’s what’s great about efficiency upgrades: they can help lower your utility bills right away, and keep them low for many, many years to come. Here are a few places to start:
- Attic Insulation: In both the summer and winter, much of the cooled or heated air produced in your home is lost through the ceiling, attic, and roof. As this air is lost, your furnace and air conditioner have to work harder to keep up with demand, sending your cooling and heating costs skyrocketing. By adding more attic insulation, you can cut down significantly on this waste and, in turn, cut your bills by as much as 20%!
- HVAC Systems: As you might expect, your home’s air conditioner and furnace play a major role in what your monthly utility bills ultimately look like. A seasonal tune-up—in the spring for your AC unit and again in the fall for your heating system—is a great place to start: it’ll make your HVAC systems more efficient while also reducing your risk of a breakdown. However, if your cooling and heating systems are getting up there in age, you might also want to think about replacing them. Call a locally trusted air conditioning repair and installation company to get a quote and idea of just how much a new, efficient system can save you.
- Install a smart thermostat: By allowing you to program your home’s cooling and heating in advance, smart thermostats set your home up for around-the-clock energy savings. In fact, a smart thermostat can cut your energy bills by as much as 10%! As an added financial bonus, many utility companies offer rebates and special incentives for homeowners who make the switch. Ask yours if this is the case.
Make high-ROI home upgrades
Once you’ve completed your efficiency upgrades and other essential projects, you can turn your attention to those high-ROI (return on investment) home upgrades we mentioned earlier. In general, kitchen and master bathroom remodels have the highest ROIs: renovating your kitchen and bathroom not only adds lasting value to your home, but also improves its curb appeal. The key here—as is the case with all remodeling projects—is to stay within your budget without sacrificing the quality of the materials or contractors you hire. You can accomplish this by:
- Limiting the scope of the project: In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew. In the kitchen, focus on countertops and cabinets first before moving on to replacing the appliances and accessories. For the bathroom remodel, you can generally save the most money by keeping all the plumbing fixtures in their current places and just remodeling around them.
- Leverage your connections: One of the benefits of hiring an experienced contractor is that they’ll often have resources that you, as a homeowner, would not have access to otherwise. This includes special, wholesale sources for materials such as granite and quartz countertops, cabinets, and floor tile. This ensures you get what you need for your project without the temptation to buy the cheapest materials out there.
Invest in your home
Whether you’re making an addition to your home that will add lasting value or you’re just taking care of seasonal maintenance, investing time and money into your home typically pays off in the long run. To get even more ideas, check out this new infographic.