Home improvements are expensive--no doubt about it. My husband, Bob, has a very well-respected home remodeling company, Ardent Home Services. He is often called upon to help friends, neighbors and clients decide how much to spend on their updates. Kitchens and baths seem to be okay; people generally know if they are staying, or looking to re-sell, and budget accordingly. It gets trickier when they have to do more maintenance oriented projects.
Windows are always a challenge. You know you need to replace your windows; the seals have failed, the wind blows both indoors and out, your energy bills are outrageous. You can do your windows cheaply, or you can spend quite a bit on this project. My million dollar house clients expect more wood and less vinyl...that is just the way it is.
In one neighborhood that comes to mind, homes went from being nice homes in a nice neighborhood to 'million dollar homes' over the course of 7 or 8 years. The decision that you make for a mid-range home might be very different than the one you make for your million dollar home.
I also see this with decks...cheap materials, pedestrian plan don't reflect a million dollar home. Spend a little more to enjoy your home and reap the benefits when it is time to sell.
I am a realist, and recognize that just because the value of the home has gone up, that does not translate in to increased income. I am simply advocating that if you are fortunate to have a choice, you should pick accordingly.
Bottom line, pick your options for the house you live in--not the house you bought.
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