Monday, February 4, 2013

Small changes can have an impact on your home's resale value

One of the reasons people tackle home improvement projects is to enhance the home’s resale value. And since spring is the time to sell, winter presents a marvelous opportunity to get some of these projects done.

So what can you do to improve your home’s resale value?

A new pool or patio would be nice but it’s still too cold to be tackling anything outside (not to mention a little more money than one might have budgeted for winter improvements).
One of the most recent improvements made around our home was the installation of a new eco-friendly furnace. It has already improved the quality of air in our home and we’ve been told it will make a difference in our energy bills. However, it is a big appliance and rather costly. Instead consider upgrading some of the smaller appliances in your house including the washer and dryer or refrigerator. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, today’s energy-efficient refrigerators will use less than half the energy of models made as recently as 15 years ago.

There’s also the convenience of having ice and fresh water available at all times. If you do plan to install a new refrigerator, be sure to ask the salesperson about a filter for the water line to ensure it is fresh water that you’re getting.

Another affordable way to improve your home is to add more insulation. Take a walk upstairs and check for areas in the rafters where insulation can be added or replaced. What’s nice about this job is it does not require any major reconstruction or demolition and the results are almost immediate. As soon as you add the insulation your home will start to feel warmer and allow you to keep the thermostat down to a reasonable/affordable setting.

How about installing some high-efficiency water fixtures? You wanted to get rid of that ratty old shower head anyway, right? According to the United States Geological Survey’s Water Science School, it’s generally accepted that the average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water each day. Showers can be especially wasteful since the older shower heads use as much as 5 gallons per minute or 50 gallons of water per 10-minute shower. A modern showerhead has a flow rate of approximately 1.5 gallons per minute are less taxing on your water heater, thus reducing your water and energy consumption. Homeowners also can consider installing high-efficiency toilets that are designed to use as little as 1.3 gallons of water per flush (compared to the older models which use 5 gallons per flush).  Making these changes will not only improve your home’s resale value but the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that installing energy-efficient appliances and water fixtures would save the country more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion annually.

Lastly, consider a new thermostat, one that is programmable. Today’s technology not only allows you to control the temperatures in the home – but record personal preferences and usage to determine the best course of action for heating and cooling your home. If your house is empty all week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., why not lower the heat during that time? Temperatures can also be adjusted room-by-room. If someone is away at school all week and no one is using the room, close the door and turn down the heat until the room is in use again.

Send your comments or home and garden tips to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com; @ginaljoseph

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