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The Most Valuable Home Improvements

If you're thinking about putting your house on the market, or if you want to remodel now with modifications that will pay off when you do sell, you should know what improvements will give you the greatest return on your investment.
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Most Valuable Home Improvements
Expect a good return on your investment for minor upgrades to your kitchen and bath.
No matter how strong or weak the market, making the right home improvements that will add equity to your house is a simple matter of knowing what buyers really value. That's hard for many homeowners because they tend to overvalue their own properties and make improvements that fit their personal tastes. Real estate experts agree that there is a system to making the right home improvements to encourage the sale of your house or increase its value. It comes down to three factors: understanding how much you must spend, setting realistic expectations about how much you will recoup for each improvement after the sale and determining the right improvements to make. Based on these results, you can make additions that are highly desirable and profitable when you sell your home.

Curb Appeal
The number-one area for improvement is curb appeal because how you present your home from the outside forms the first and most lasting impression with potential buyers. According to Remodeling magazine's "Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report 2006," the project that will bring the highest return on your investment is new vinyl siding. Nationwide, homeowners can expect a huge return on high-quality, low-maintenance vinyl siding. For homes that can benefit from higher-cost, upscale building products, like foam-backed vinyl siding, the return approaches 90 percent.

Like siding, replacement windows add to curb appeal and speak to the quality of your home right from the street. New windows are sharp-looking, energy-efficient and easy to operate. They add to your home's equity and are second only to new siding in return-on-investment.

In terms of additions that bring a big return, adding a second story if you have a one-story home is worth the investment. The project itself may be daunting, but its impact is huge. Likewise, a new deck improves the exterior appeal of the home and adds outdoor living space. To capitalize on this asset, realtors suggest staging the deck with furniture, a grill and potted plants.

Best Upgrades for Interior Space
Bathrooms are still the number-one place to recoup expenditures in your home. Half-baths are very important in public living areas of the home. If you do not have a guest half-bath, the investment of adding one will certainly bring a return when you sell the home. Realtors advise that you treat this room as a visitors' space with high-end finishes and furnishings. Another popular bath addition is the secondary half-bath, or the family half-bath, which is different from the half-bath used primarily for guests. It is usually located near the back of the house or off the kitchen. Unlike the guest half-bath, this space should be practical for washing up after play or yard work with easy-to-clean finishes and flooring.

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