Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bathrooms and Kitchens: ROI on Equity for Homeowners

It’s no secret to both real estate agents and astute homeowners alike that there are two main areas of the home that are gold mines for ROI (Return On Investment) when you’re talking home equity. The kitchen is one, and bathrooms are the other.

Kitchens as Family Gathering Places

Kitchens were the main family gathering place in the old days for a couple of reasons. First, there was the big table right in the middle to sit around while enjoying a cup of java and a slice of pie.

If you are lucky enough to have an older, well-built home, please consider refinishing vintage kitchen cabinets rather than scrapping them.

Secondly, in colder climates, that big wood-burning stove made it the obvious place to congregate. It was on anyway, baking the daily bread (or some more of all that pie)!

For a couple of decades, the family kitchen lost some popularity to the den or the living room. But in the past decade or so, the kitchen has reclaimed its rightful place, as architects have opened it up to the rest of the house, made it more spacious, and added central islands, butcher block countertops, and experimented with new materials such as concrete for countertops.

These are the reasons why real estate agents showcase kitchens to potential buyers.

Bathrooms – Intimate as well as Functional

But as I said, the bathroom is also a big ticket room. Bathrooms are both intimate and functional. What can you, as a DIY warrior do for a bathroom makeover? Many things.

Tile is the most popular wall finish for tub and shower surrounds, with ceramic tile being the favorite. Tile is also the most highly recommended flooring material. Installing laminate flooring in bathrooms is inadvisable because of the water present there. Carpeting is a no-no for obvious reasons. Hardwood floors work well, if you have the inclination to pay close attention and keep them well sealed.

When planning a bathroom remodel, consider how much you can spend and what you want to accomplish. Want a new tile look but don’t want to go through all the mess and expense of a total demolition and installing bath tile again? Consider applying tile tattoos.

Removing that tired wallpaper and painting? Easy enough.

Bathroom Lighting – Incandescent Lighting is Being Phased Out

Lighting? Incandescent lighting is taking a popularity hit recently because of energy inefficiency. In fact, the President’s recent power bill set a time line for phasing out incandescent lighting. Why not look into installing LED lighting or low-voltage halogen lighting?

When making any bathroom wiring changes, check the local building code and know what you're doing.

Big changes or little changes, modernizing your kitchen or bath can reap big equity gains.

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