home improvement project

There are a number of reasons to be frugal during times of high unemployment and less expansion of a business sector leery of proposed tax increases across the board. When it comes to home improvement, this translates into focusing on projects that add to home resale value and maximize return on investment. Here are 8 common ones to reconsider.

home remodeling

Don’t Add an Extra Room

Considering a room addition? An additional room is almost always a welcome remodeling project. After all, don’t real estate ads begin with x number of bedrooms, x number of baths? This just goes to show that it’s an essential part of the valuation of a home, both for resale value and homeowners’ insurance purposes.

But the bottom line is that it makes more economic sense to finish a basement, turn a garage into a home office, or convert an attic space into living quarters. Actually building an extension to a home is a much bigger financial investment because of foundations, exterior framing, the toll on the HVAC system, and roof extensions. Choose to improve what’s already existing.

Choose Practical Kitchen Makeovers

Upgrading to an overly-ornate kitchen. Since it’s common knowledge that the kitchen is one of the highest ROI areas of the home when it comes to a make-over, many homeowners go for “fancy” rather than functional. But when the dollars get tight, buyers would rather pay for comfort and function.

Avoid Costly Bathroom Fixtures

Whirlpool spa bathtubs are out. These may work for the idle rich, but with so many layoffs, people remaining on the payroll have fewer free hours because they are working more to take up the slack. So for one thing, there’s no time to use it, and secondly, it costs too much to fill, heat, and circulate the water.

Don’t Splurge on Home Elctronics

Dedicated home theaters don’t pay off in the long run. They’re fun and they certainly went through a period of popularity, but what a waste of space and a remodeling budget. It makes more sense to sink a fraction of the cost into a nice wide screen TV and a comfortable sofa.

Most Home Automation isn’t Thrifty

Science fiction-type home automation is just impractical. These upgrades really played well in futuristic science fiction novels and movies, but now that the technology has arrived, the convenience vs price factor is questionable. The exception? A 7-day programmable thermostat does make sense and will pay for itself rather quickly.

This is the Wrong Time to Install Hot Tubs and Pools

Hot tub sales are tepid. Hot tubs make more economic sense than putting in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, but like whirlpools, they don’t always get enough use to justify the cash outlay. Plus, there’s always the issue of maintenance cost.

So when considering adding a “treat” remodeling expense, building a deck may make more economic sense.