Monday, February 8, 2010

Top 10 Home Updates
These projects will bring the biggest return on investment if you sell your home
By Dona DeZube, | Published: 2/02/2009
.The secret to successful remodeling is to keep up with the Joneses -- but never to surpass them. Whether you want to make more money than you spend, or just recoup your remodeling expenses if you sell your home, know what's standard in the neighborhood.

Does everyone have laminate kitchen countertops? Splurge on granite and you'll be the envy of your friends, but you won't get your money back at resale. Is your home in a high-end neighborhood? Laminate countertops will save you money, but if you have to sell, high-end buyers will discount their offer because your kitchen isn't what they expect or simply not buy your home at all.

In markets where home prices are declining, remodeling decisions are particularly tough to make, especially if you're remodeling to get your home sold. If you don't update, your home may not attract buyers. However, if you do update, you may not be able to recoup what you spend. Seek advice from at least three experienced real estate agents before making any decisions.

Before you pick up a hammer, visit real estate open houses and new-home communities. Ask the builder to show you a spec home (that's an already built home without the model home's decorative features and upgrades). Then, compare your home to homes on the market to make sure your remodeling project is on par with the competition.

"The homes that sell in a buyer's market have four things in common: an in-demand location, the right price, a perfectly maintained exterior and updated kitchens and baths," says Susan Huerta, a Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate, Clarksville, Md.

To get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, try one of these 10 projects, which have the highest payoffs, according to Remodeling magazine's 2009 Cost vs. Value Report (CVR):

1.Spruce up or replace your siding.
2.Add a deck.
3.Tweak your kitchen.
4.Repair or replace windows.
5.Overhaul your kitchen.
6.Strip the bathroom.
7.Find cash in the attic.
8.Earn bucks from the basement.
9.Add space to add value.
10.Add low-cost landscaping.



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