4 Clean, Green, Affordable Home Upgrades for 2017
Today’s blog post is contributed by Elizabeth Trach, a guest contributor. Please see the contributor’s details at the end of this post.
Owning a home can be a very rewarding investment. While you can’t control the local housing market or global economic forces, you can make smart investments in maintaining and upgrading your home to increase its value. Knowing which home improvement projects are likely to bring the greatest ROI can help you choose which areas of your house to update in the coming year.
In addition to increasing your home’s resale value, “green” renovations can also help cut your energy costs from the moment you complete them, putting more money in your pocket right away. You can use the money you save on your energy bills to help pay down debt or make even more improvements in the future — talk about a win-win for homeowners and home sellers alike.
If you’re not sure where to start, these four affordable green projects are good bets to make your house both more efficient and more valuable.
1. Add Insulation
If your house is older and lacks sufficient insulation, retrofitting it to stop drafts and hold in the heat is one of the most cost-effective renovations you can make, according to the 2016 Cost vs. Value study. Whether you blow insulation into empty wall cavities or DIY additional insulation in your attic, you’ll cut your heating and cooling bills instantly. Depending on what state you live in, you may be eligible for rebates for green home improvements (you can check your eligibility status on Energy.gov).
2. Replace Doors & Windows
Removing drafty older windows and exterior doors can not only improve your home’s appearance, but it will also help create a much tighter seal to button up your house. Windows have come a long way in recent years, and double-pane windows with Low-E glass are now the standard. Replacing your front door with a better insulated one can keep your house tight and improve its curb appeal — something that will boost its overall resale value.
3. Replace Toilets
Older toilets use much more water than newer models, so replacing your toilet — as part of a full bathroom remodel or as a simple upgrade on its own — can save you between 20% to 60% on your water bill, according to the EPA. Not only that, but simply changing the style and/or color of the toilet can make it feel like the bathroom has gone through a larger upgrade.
4. Reface Kitchen Cabinets
If your kitchen needs a facelift, but an entire remodel isn’t in the budget right now, consider replacing only the cabinet doors and drawer fronts instead of ripping out the cabinets entirely. If your cabinets are made of wood and you like the style of the doors, you could also have them refinished or painted instead. Either project will be far more affordable than a full kitchen remodel and will be unlikely to raise your property taxes. It’s also better for the environment to reuse what you have to help keep waste out of landfills.
Funding Your Upgrades
Even if you’re doing a small renovation or upgrade, you’ll first want to look at your budget and make sure you can truly afford it. After all, a new cabinet door or window isn’t worth going into debt over. Once you’re certain you can pay for your project, you may want to consider using a rewards credit card to pay for the items, as these larger purchases can really help you rack up rewards. So, not only will you see the perks that come from your upgrades by reduced energy bills, but also in the form of cash back, travel rewards or whatever benefits you get from your plastic.
Reusing and Recycling
One last consideration to make: Donating your still usable items to a place, like Habitat’s ReStore, that can either use them as are or with a few repairs. Donating things like windows, lighting fixtures or other hardware may even be tax deductible, adding even more rewards to your green update.
Elizabeth Trach is a professional writer and editor for Credit.com. In addition to scrupulously saving her pennies, she also sings in a band, grows almost all her own food, and occasionally even cooks it. You can catch up on all her adventures in extreme gardening at Port Potager.
Photo credit: Gaelle Marcel