April brings many lovely things: warmer temperatures, flowers beginning to bloom, and hopefully a check from Uncle Sam once you’ve filed your taxes. It’s enough to make you giddy with possibilities — no matter the size of your refund. “While it’s typically not sufficient to fund major home improvement projects such as a new addition or a kitchen renovation, it can often provide enough cash to accomplish a wide range of home up-fits and improvements,” says Leigh McAlpin, principal of Dwelling Interiors & Design in Charleston, SC. Here’s how to use your refund to refurbish or enhance your home.
Your tax refund feels like found money, doesn’t it? Here’s how to use it to spruce up your living space.
Posted by Michelle Hainer on Trulia
Sure, you could blow your refund on a vacation or new TV. But why not reinvest in your home instead?
Are you getting a tax refund this year? The average refund is about $3,000 — enough to reinvest in your home.
Whether you’re expecting a few hundred dollars back or a few thousand, put some of it to work with these suggestions.
Pay down debts
With home prices continuing to creep upward and interest rates still remarkably low, you may have taken out a home equity loan to fund a remodeling project or two. A lot of consumers have!
Why not apply your tax refund toward this loan or pay down other debts (especially high interest debt like credit cards)?
Want to add a backsplash, paint a room, clean up the yard, replace your bathroom sink, or repair a leaky faucet? Go for it! Chances are, your refund will cover these types of small projects — and more.
And you’re getting a two-for-one: you’re both improving your living experience, and adding value at the same time.
Boost your energy efficiency
No matter how big or small your refund check is, there are all sorts of things you can do, at varying price points, to make your home more energy efficient — from buying energy-efficient appliances to adding extra layers of insulation.
Storm doors are just a few hundred dollars, and can be a great investment if you have an older front door. Purchasing a low-flow showerhead or installing a programmable thermostat are other affordable options.
Buy flood insurance
The federal government offers coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program at an average cost of about $700 per year. That’s a small price to pay for a problem that can be big. After all, anywhere it rains, it can flood, and your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover it. (It typically only covers damage that comes from the top down — such as rain and wind damage, but not rising water and flooding.)
Stop taking chances, and buy yourself peace of mind. Premiums vary depending on your property’s flood risk. To get an estimate in your area, visit FloodSmart.gov.
Posted by Vera Gibbons on Zillow
If you happen to get a tax refund check from your state government or Uncle Sam, you have a great opportunity to invest it in home improvements and increase the equity in your home.
To find those projects that give the most bang for your buck, we checked the 2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report, a collaboration between several research teams including REALTOR Magazine and the National Association of REALTORS® that compares the average cost and resale value of 35 popular remodeling projects across 101 American cities. Here are its findings:
1. Replace the Front Door
Adding a sleek-looking, new front door can boost your home’s curb appeal as well as improve its insulation while toughening up its security. Buying and installing a new steel entry door costs $1,162 and has a return-on-investment (ROI) of 96.6%.
2. Add a Deck
Deck additions now have the best ROI since 2007. A 16-by-20-foot wood deck addition will run you about $9,540 but will return about 87.4% of its cost after resale. If you already have a deck, you could add some extras, such as an outdoor fireplace.
3. Add a Bed and Bath to Your Attic
An extra bedroom can substantially increase your home’s value. So while it’s not cheap—turning an attic into a 15-by-15-foot bedroom with a 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower will cost, on average, about $49,400—you can expect a decent ROI of 84%. If you choose to forgo the bathroom, the job will be cheaper but the ROI may not be as high, since there is value in not having to go downstairs for a bathroom (The report doesn’t offer a cost vs. value analysis without it).
4. Replace the Garage Door
Replacing that rickety garage door with a smooth-moving, modernized one is an inexpensive addition with an average cost of about $1,530 and an estimated ROI of 83.7%. While the garage might not rank high on your list of things to fix, remember that more than three out of every four homebuyers purchase a home with a garage.
5. Tweak Your Kitchen
Kitchen remodeling is predicted to be the most common renovation that homemakers will decide to make in 2014. However, you don’t need to do a full-blown kitchen redo for a solid investment. Leave the old cabinets but replace the doors and drawers; pop in some new energy-efficient appliances; and install a new, modestly priced sink. Replace old countertops, touch up the paint and fix cracked flooring. The cost for this type of mid-range remodeling is $18,856, and is estimated to have an ROI of 82.7%.
6. Replace Windows
Not only can replacing windows earn a solid ROI, you can also cut down on your heating and cooling bills and earn energy tax credits with energy-efficient models. The cost to replace 10 standard windows with insulated wood replacements is about $10,900, with a 79.3% ROI, according to the Cost Vs. Value report. If you’re going with vinyl windows, the job will cost about $9,980 and has an estimated ROI of 78.7%.
This article was originally published by Angela Colley on Realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.