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The value that you hold in your home is one of the most important reasons why you would choose to own a house instead of renting one.  However, declining house values and an unstable economy mean that you must take care to protect your home investment.  Renovating and improving your home can add value to it, and ensure that you don’t end up caught in negative equity.

Here is a quick look at some of the best home improvements you can make, in terms of adding long term value to your home.

1.    Kitchen Updates
The kitchen is, as far as most buyers are concerned, the most important room in your house.  If your kitchen looks shabby, or the appliances are incredibly old and outdated, then your home will lose value in the eyes of most buyers.  Updating your kitchen is a cheap way to boost your home’s value.  If you’re on a tight budget, then resurfacing counters and replacing cupboard doors is a quick and easy way to boost the value of your home.

2.    Flooring
The more resilient and long-lasting the flooring in your home is, the more valuable it will be to buyers.  If you have room in your budget, consider wood, tile, or stone flooring for the main rooms in your home.  If your current carpet is seriously worn or dated, then replacing it with low-end vinyl or plain carpeting will add some value, but it offers a lower return on investment than more high-end flooring options.

3.    Home Extensions
Extensions and conservatories make great updates to almost any house, although you should speak with your real estate agent before you make any major additions to your home.  It is possible to “over upgrade” a home compared to other houses in the same area, so if you don’t see many conservatories in your local area, that may be why.

If you’re investing in a conservatory, think carefully about heating and insulation.  At a minimum, you will want UPVC windows with double or triple glazing, and to have the conservatory wired up to your local heating system.  Standalone electric heaters may seem cheaper in the short term, but they cost a lot more to run.

4.    Going Green
If you’re lacking basic eco-friendly updates such as water-saving plumbing fixtures and roof insulation, then you should definitely invest in these before you put your home on the market.  They’re relatively inexpensive, will offer instant return in terms of reduced utility bills, and are incredibly appealing to buyers.

5.    Kerb Appeal
All the interior updates in the world won’t help you to sell your home if the exterior looks unkempt or uncared for.  A well-manicured lawn, attractive landscaping and cleanly swept and weeded driveways will make your home far more appealing to buyers.  In terms of adding value to your property, looking after the exterior is one of the best things that you can do – all it costs is time, so the return on investment is huge.

This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Stormclad, the home improvement experts. Please visit their site for more info on UPVC windows and conservatories. Photo: P. Flintandco