My house is a little bit older and needs some upgrades. I’m on a budget and I'm trying to prioritize my projects. What are some things I can do that will add value to my home, but won’t cost a lot of money?
A good way to start is identifying improvements you can afford now that will also save you money in the long run. A programmable thermostat, for example, usually costs less than $100 dollars. You can install and program it yourself, and the savings on your utility bills will pay back the expense in less than a year. Having a home energy audit is the best way to identify energy-saving improvements that will pay off the fastest. But be careful of companies whose audit is tied to the sale of their products. Instead, see if your utility company offers a free or low-cost home energy audit or find a qualified auditor on www.resnet.us. You can also add value to your home by choosing projects that offer the greatest return on investment at resale. Just so you know, the cost recouped is hardly ever as much as you spend, but certain projects pay off better than others. Some of the lower-cost improvements that rank highly for resale have to do with improving your home’s curb appeal. Consider replacing your front door and garage door, for example, or painting your home’s exterior. Take care of maintenance issues that may detract from the value of your home if not addressed. A new roof, for example, may not be your idea of a low-cost home improvement, but if you’re trying to sell your home the roof needs to be in good condition. No matter what your priorities, see our collection of helpful budgeting advice to help you pay for it.