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Channel Guide 2017
Need help with your home improvement project?   Welcome Home's team of experts find new tools and demonstrate basic home repairs and how-to projects.    
In selecting a project, some home improvements pay off by increasing your home’s value , while others will do little to improve it. In general, updating your kitchen and bathrooms are always smart investments and offer the best home improvement value.
 
Remodeling Your Kitchen
The kitchen is the most important room in the house since it’s where much of the family interaction occurs. The average return-on-investment for improvements to the kitchen ranges from about 80 percent to 93 percent with average costs at $15,000 and up. If you don’t know where to start, try adding new tile flooring, re-facing old cabinets, and/or updating appliances to new energy efficient models.
 
Remodeling Your Bathroom
Bathroom renovations can yield a return of between 85 percent to 90 percent, with costs starting around $10,000. Adding a new bathroom can return as much as 85 percent, especially if you only have one bathroom to start with. And since it’s more difficult to sell a home with only one bathroom, adding a second bath can make your home significantly easier to sell. Some good improvements include installing double sinks, tile floors and new bath fixtures and faucets.
 
Other Good Home Improvements
Making home improvements can be a big undertaking. Larger improvements could include adding a fireplace, building a deck or patio, or adding a new heating or cooling system. However, you don’t have to spend huge bucks to upgrade the look of your home. Smaller, less expensive improvements could include replacing old doors or installing a ceiling fan. Cosmetic improvements can also go a long way in the minds of prospective buyers.
 
A Little Paint Goes a Long Way
When it comes to how much you spend on a kitchen remodel, prices can run the gamut, from $5,000 to $75,000, or more. Get the biggest bang for your buck on a kitchen remodel by looking at color. Fresh paint, in modern colors, can go a long way towards updating the look of your kitchen. Plus, paint is relatively cheap.
You might want to consider using low-VOC paint; this makes your kitchen more eco-friendly, and helps your family avoid breathing in dangerous chemicals, like benzene, that off-gas from regular fresh paint.
 
Energy-Efficient Appliances
Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Energy Star-rated appliances are better for the environment, and they also help you save money, because they use less energy. Potential buyers often look for ways to save money when shopping for a new home.
 
Bathroom Addition
If your home only has one bathroom, you can recoup a large chunk of your investment by adding another one. Welcome Home estimates that you can recoup 80%-130% of whatever you spend adding a bathroom.
When it comes to finding room in your house for an extra bathroom, take a look at any extra rooms or underutilized spaces. Consider other spaces, such as closets or areas under the stairs, too. If you want a half-bath you need at least 18 square feet. If you want a full bath, including a stand-up shower, you need at least 30 square feet. If you want a bathtub, make sure you have at least 35 square feet to work with for a bathroom addition. See these bathroom design and remodeling ideas to get you started.
 
Like any project, the cost of adding a bathroom depends largely on the types of additions and accessories you want to use, and the cost of each of these items.  Make sure to shop around.
 
Reinventing a Room
Adding more square footage to your home with a new room can be an incredibly expensive project. Although you can recoup some of your investment, anywhere from 50%-83%, this project’s costs can quickly spin wildly out of control. Be careful - projects that start off with a $15,000 budget quickly turn into $30,000 or more when homeowners and contractors run into unexpected problems.
 
Adding Energy-Efficient Windows
These days, buyers shop for homes with energy efficiency in mind. Old, drafty single-pane windows are a major turn off. Energy Star claims that adding Energy Star-rated windows can save you up to $500 a year in heating and cooling costs by making your home more energy efficient.
According to HGTV, you can expect to recoup 60%-90% of your costs when you invest in energy-efficient windows. You can also receive a green energy tax credit of 10% for this upgrade, as long as you install Energy Star-rated windows. You might also qualify for additional credits from your state, or even your utility company.
 
Learn more about available offers and rebates in your area by visiting the Energy Star Rebate Finder. They have a searchable database that gives you specific information for your state. Just make sure you check “windows” so you get product-specific information.   Energy Star estimates that the average cost of window replacement in an average-sized home costs $7,500-$10,000, or more. If the new windows save you several hundred dollars a year, and you recoup a tax credit, you can eventually recoup your investment.
 
Deck Addition
Adding a deck increases the value of your home. Outdoor living spaces have become more desirable, especially since more people stay home for vacation (i.e. referred to as a staycation). If you make your deck and your backyard more appealing, your house will be more appealing to prospective buyers when you decide to sell.  Homeowners recoup 65%-90% of their investment by adding a deck.   
The cost of adding a deck to your home varies widely. Everything depends on its size, and how many bells and whistles you want added, like built-in seating, multiple stairs, built-in flower pots, and the size of the deck. Decks can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $10,000, or more. Again, it all depends on the design and materials used.
 
As you might guess, you can save a huge chunk of the cost, usually half, by doing the work yourself. Keep in mind, however, that deck construction isn’t easy. You need specific tools, such as a bandsaw, and the cost of the tools can be very expensive, especially if you don’t plan to use them again.
 
If you decide to hire a contractor, shop around before you choose someone to work with. Make sure you get at least three quotes, with specifics, from the contractors you interview. Thoroughly check references for the contractors before you agree to a contract or work order, and watch out for home improvement repair scams. Sites like Angie’s List can ensure you hire a contractor you can trust.
 
Energy-Efficient Insulation
If your home lacks basic insulation, and has old doors that let in plenty of hot and cold air, home inspectors working with potential buyers will include this in their reports. Homes that haven’t been modified with energy efficiency in mind cost more to live in and maintain.
 
Updating your home to save energy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and can make your home more appealing to potential buyers. You can save $2,500 or more each year just by making some changes. For example, you can add extra insulation to your attic for $200 or less, and this small change can save you hundreds each year on your utility bill.
 
Seal cracks around the house to save even more money on energy costs, and to make your home more appealing to buyers. The U.S. Department of Energy (USDE) estimates that the average house has enough leaks to equal a 3×3 foot hole in the wall. You can find leaks in your home during the winter. Anytime you feel a draft or cold spot, you’re in an area that leaks air. You can purchase a thermal leak detector for $40 or less (e.g. Black & Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector). These handheld devices alert you to temperature differences around your home. This then allows you to add caulk or insulation where you need it the most.
 
You can often discover leaks, and areas that need more insulation, in these areas:
 
•Around doors and windows
•Around electrical sockets and light switches
•In recessed lighting
•Around the attic hatch
•In the basement
•Anywhere ducts or wires go outside the house
 
Another easy retrofit is to use CFL light bulbs in all light fixtures. CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and each one saves, on average, $40 in energy over the course of its lifetime. You also save on cooling costs because CFLs emit 75% less heat than traditional bulbs. You can easily calculate how much you can save simply by counting the number of lights you have in your home.
 
You can also install a programmable thermostat. Most buyers expect to see programmable thermostats these days, and they can save you money. Energy Star estimates that installing a programmable thermostat will save the average homeowner $180 per year in heating and cooling costs.
 
If you need to replace your hot water heater, consider spending a bit extra to purchase a high-efficiency water heater. Savvy home buyers know these water heaters can really trim energy bills. If you use less than 41 gallons of water each day in your household, a tankless water heater saves you 24%-34% on your water heating costs. If you use more, count on a savings of 8%-14%.