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Affordable home renovation projects

Date posted:  9/25/15 09:30:00 AM A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a home's look.

After brutal winter weather kept many home renovation projects on the sidelines, Americans are taking to the warm temperatures and looking for the best home improvement projects that can add value to their home. That's why the phone never stopped ringing this spring and summer at Regency Home Remodeling, a Chicago-based remodeling agency.

PJ Ryan, president of Regency Home Remodeling, told the Daily Herald that more people are turning to home rehab plans instead of house hunting.

"People are opting to stay in their houses longer instead of moving up to a larger home, so they are upgrading them," Ryan said. "They are choosing to make improvements that they have been putting off, like renovating their kitchen or a bathroom."

Some of the most sought-after home improvements from Regency include installing replacement windows, a new roof, building decks and porches, finishing basements and attics, building room additions, and renovating kitchen and baths.

But what renovation is right for your home? Generally, it's a good rule of thumb to find a rehab project that adds value and accessibility to your home.

Upgrading your kitchen space
According to Timothy Dahl, editor and founder of the home-renovation blog Charles & Hudson, the kitchen is the most important room in every home.

Dahl told MSN that one of the easiest ways to make a kitchen look more aesthetically pleasing is by redoing the cabinets. He said that while some people decide to buy all new cabinets, it can be more cost efficient for homeowners to resurface or repaint old cabinets.

"Paint is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to freshen up your home and add zip to it," Elizabeth Blakeslee, an agent with Coldwell Banker, told MSN.

Dahl said when choosing paint, white and neutral colors tend to work best for most kitchen spaces. Once you've completed this simple step, Dahl reminded homeowners not to forget the hardware - the knobs and handles - installed on the cabinet doors.

"It's an accent that people notice," said Dahl, noting that homeowners should try to pick hardware that is contemporary and simple.

He recommended that people stay away from brass, brightly colored glass or anything decorated with flowers and birds. Instead, he said brushed nickel is something that never looks out of place.
Homeowners looking to tackle a major kitchen rehab - which can cost up to $75,000, according to Better Homes and Gardens - should consider a home equity line of credit. This line of credit asks homeowners to put their homes down as collateral for a line of credit that can be used for renovations, a down payment on a car or student loan repayment.

Clean up the basement and garage
While additional square footage will never hurt a home's value, adding extra space to a home can be very costly. That's why Dahl recommends that homeowners do everything they can to spruce up their garage or basement.

For the garage, Dahl said that organizing items and getting them off the floor will appeal to homebuyers if you are trying to sell the property. Adequate lighting and clean floors in a tidy garage or basement can go a long way in persuading prospective homebuyers that a particular home offers enough space, according to Dahl.

If you don't have a basement, some people are finding success adding outdoor living spaces, which tend to be a much cheaper home improvement project than adding an extra bedroom or converting an attic into livable space.