Home may be where the heart is, but it can also be where the money is. In fact, for most families, a home is the most valuable asset and the greatest source of generational wealth. That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t things you can do to help increase the value of your home both for today and for years to come.
Eco-friendly home renovations, for example, can not only add to your property’s resale value but can also reduce your home’s monthly expenses. Best of all, these renovations enable you to save money while also helping to save the planet.
In today’s tough economic times, it can seem unwise or downright impossible to take on a home renovation. However, with a bit of creativity and commitment, it is possible to fund the kinds of smart renovations that will pay dividends in the end.
For example, you might take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), borrowing against the value of your home to make strategic home improvements even when money is tight. This type of loan will enable you to begin recouping your investment immediately. Renovations designed to reduce energy consumption, for instance, can dramatically and immediately begin reducing your monthly energy costs.
Major Upgrades, Major Impact
It can be scary to undertake large renovations, especially when you are borrowing against your home to do so. However, if you’re judicious in the projects you choose, you can produce a major environmental impact while also generating significant savings.
For instance, if you live in a sun-drenched climate, such as the desert southwest, installing solar panels on your home can be a terrific way to slash your home’s energy consumption. That means you’re reducing your home’s carbon footprint while fattening up your wallet. If you live in a more temperate climate where solar panels may not be ideal, however, don’t despair. You still have a lot of options.
Perhaps your best will be to swap your old appliances for energy-efficient ones. Appliances that are ENERGY STAR-certified, for example, are guaranteed to meet the rigorous standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. By eliminating your old energy-hogging appliances, you’re going to produce fewer greenhouse emissions and incur much lower energy costs.
Small Projects Work, Too
If you’re not quite ready to take on a more ambitious renovation project, you can still make small, strategic changes to reduce your energy consumption, make your home more sustainable, and enjoy significant cost savings.
For example, one of the greatest sources of energy waste comes from the failure to properly seal and insulate your home. Doors and windows that are not well-insulated or have gaps can produce drafts. This means that your heating and cooling system will have to work far harder and consume much more energy than is necessary.
To put an end to the leaks that are both sucking energy and draining your wallet, consider replacing old doors and sealing door and window frames. It’s also a good idea to re-insulate your home, focusing in particular on problem areas such as attics and basements.
This isn’t just going to make your home more energy efficient and reduce energy costs, but it’s also likely to substantially increase the value of your home. The investment of money and labor will pay off by making your home more marketable should you ever choose to sell. At the same time, it can give you more borrowing power should you choose in the future to take out a loan against the value of your home.
Another modest but profitable renovation involves the transition to smart technologies. For example, installing programmable lights and thermostats enables you to control lighting and temperature based on need. Smart thermostats, for example, can be programmed to reduce heating and cooling settings when no one is home, powering up to your desired settings an hour or so before you return. This means that you will always return home at the end of the day to a perfectly heated or cooled house without wasting energy and money maintaining ideal temperatures in an empty house.
Similarly, by installing low-flow toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers, you can substantially reduce the amount of water the appliances consume. This means you’re protecting the environment by conserving water while slashing your utility bills.
Home renovations can feel like a costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive endeavor. It may even seem like an unwise investment of money and effort in these challenging times. The reality, however, is that the right renovations can yield significant returns on your investment while making your home more environmentally friendly. From installing solar panels to re-insulating your home, strategic changes large and small can mean a big difference — both to Mother Earth and to your bank account.
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