(ARA) – If you’re like most Americans, then your greatest asset is your home. But with recent declines in home values, it may be time to consider options for preserving your home’s value. Since the value of your home is directly tied to its condition, there are steps you can take to help preserve that value.
Step 1: Where to Begin, Indoor vs. Outdoor
Preserving the value of your home can be achieved in many ways, but your home’s exterior should be your initial focus. Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report shows exterior and replacement projects bring the biggest return. Before you decide where to begin, you should consider the following:
* Budget -- set one and be realistic.
* Goals -- narrow your scope by determining exactly what you want to achieve.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Depending on the region of the country in which you live, the value you gain from exterior home improvement projects can vary widely. Consider this; a midrange siding replacement recovers 92 percent of its cost in the Northeast but only 77 percent in the Midwest, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. Exterior projects that typically recover cost well include a roof replacement and the addition of a deck.
The cost recouped on a given remodeling project also depends on the value of similar homes nearby and the rate at which property values are changing in the surrounding area. Even the availability and cost of new and existing homes in the immediate vicinity can be a factor.
You may want to consult with a local remodeler or real estate agent to learn more about the specific issues affecting the value of home improvements in your area.
Step 3: Pick a Project
Now that you’ve set a budget and completed your research, it’s time to select your project. A great place to start is your roof. “A roof used to be nothing more than protection for your home from the elements,” says Stephen McNally, vice president of sales and marketing for TAMKO Building Products, Inc. “Today homeowners look to their roof as a way to increase their home’s curb appeal and overall value.”
When selecting a roofing material it is important to remember the following:
* Performance is as important as curb appeal.
* Select a product that is backed by a solid warranty.
A majority of homeowners prefer asphalt shingles because they perform well and are typically the most cost effective option, but many alternatives are now available. One alternative growing in popularity, which could potentially increase the value of your home, is composite roofing.
Composite roofing products are typically backed by longer warranties, like the 50-year limited warranty available with Lamarite Slate composite shingles. These shingles create the authentic look of a classic slate roof without the high-cost and performance issues. Other alternatives include metal, rubber and concrete. Be sure to do your research before selecting a roofing material that will work for you.
Another potential exterior project is the addition of a deck. When selecting a decking material that will help preserve your home’s value, it’s important to think about the following:
* Durability -- you want a product that performs well and will last.
* Maintenance -- deck maintenance can be costly. Consider low-maintenance materials like composite (a combination of wood and plastic).
A natural wood deck can lead to costly, time-consuming, annual maintenance. Composite decks, which may cost more initially, generally never require painting or staining. After all, you should spend more time enjoying your deck than caring for it. Composites typically come with a longer warranty as well. For example, EverGrain-brand composites are backed by a 25-year limited warranty.
No matter what project you choose, maintaining the value of your greatest asset, your home, should be a top priority.
Courtesy of ARAcontent