At the end of that year as I wiped down my tacky Formica countertops and bathed in my 1950s seafoam green tub, I wondered if we had spent that money wisely.
If we had put our house up for sale, would potential buyers have really cared about the dry basement and reliable furnace?
$$$$$ - You’ll be making money before the sweat dries.
Act as your own contractor and designer, but know when to hire an expert.
Shabby shrubbery and a patchy lawn make people assume the inside of your house looks as bad as the outside.
"Keep improvements on par with the other homes in your neighborhood," says Pam O’Connor president of RELO/Leading Real Estate companies of the World.
Bathroom Update $$$$$ If you want to build real sweat equity, forget the bidet and the hand-blown sink when you remodel your existing bathroom (unless you live next door to Paris Hilton).
Keep the plumbing where it is and focus on updating outdated fixtures.
"In this market, I’ve seen sellers having to credit the buyer for a few thousands dollars to cover the cost of removing wallpaper and wall treatments," says Susan Huerta, an agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Clarksville, Maryland.
Home Office $$ If you work from home, converting a bedroom into a home office may be a necessity.
After talking to a slew of realtors, contractors and architects, the consensus was yes.
"If the roof is leaking, buyers won't get beyond that," says Ron Phipps with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R. "I don't care how awesome the kitchen is." According to Remodeling Magazine ( you're less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home maintenance such as new siding.
Garage to Family Room $ Converting a garage into a family room can backfire when it’s time to sell your home.