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Improvement projects to consider during the housing crisis

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ June 16, 2011

It comes as no real surprise to those of us who own homes that today's housing crisis-which began in 2006-has now officially been called the worst since the Great Depression. According to CNBC, prices have plummeted by 33 percent, some three percent deeper than the plunge in the late 1920s. Foreclosures continue to depress housing prices as more homes drop into the market.

Consequently, most homeowners who once planned on selling their homes are now resigned to living in them. Now the real issue for owners is how to best maintain the investments they have and repair any damage or weak spots before they're deep into a major restoration dilemma.

What to do now in remodeling and repairs

Ilyce Glink at CBS Moneywatch reports the home remodeling trend for 2011 is "tackling small projects while you wait to do the really big remodeling project that's on your list." Glink recommends that homeowners consider small-bath remodeling, sprucing up interiors, or retrofitting your home with green improvements. All things equal, buyers have the luxury of shopping for energy efficient homes.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry suggests that you use your time and money resourcefully now to install new Energy Star-rated appliances, increase the functionality in your rooms, spiff up your decor and make small-scale kitchen and bath renovations. If your appliances are more than a decade old, chances are excellent that more efficient, cost-saving replacements are on the market.

If you are adding or modifying space, consider making your rooms accessible to universal uses to broaden the appeal to eventual buyers. For example, create a room that doubles as a home office, den or guest bedroom.

During a downturn, you may want to invest in building a quality set of tools if you plan on doing your own repairs and modifications. There's lasting value in buying durable, high-end products for your most-used tools.

Curb appeal still matters

Everything counts toward gaining the competitive edge in a buyer's market. With summer here, you may want to patch up gutters, paint your exteriors, add a new entry door or deep clean your siding and decks. If you're dedicated to selling your home now, you may want to bring in a lawncare contractor to spruce up your curb appeal before going on the market.

You don't want red flags that distinguish your home as a poor choice among the ample supply of houses on the market in the neighborhood.

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