8 Home Upgrades to Make You Proud

Steel Entry Door
A new door restores your street cred and means fewer air leaks (money savings!). Plus, the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® found you can recover a median of 75% of your project cost. The job runs about $2,000 — less if you DIY. In terms of happiness and satisfaction, consumers responding to the survey gave the project a Joy Score of 9.7 (out of 10).

Wood Deck
One up your favorite alfresco restaurant by creating your own twilight dining experience with a deck. At a cost of $25 to $35 per square foot, a wood deck adds lots of living area at a fraction of the price of a full-on addition. Your new deck is bound to be a breath of fresh air, especially if you’ve got a smallish-size house.

Attic Conversion
Want a guest bedroom? Take a look at your attic. It’s an unused space that’s already framed and ready to be oh, so much more. Big project? Sure, but there’s a big fat feeling of satisfaction once you’re done. Homeowners who turned their attic into usable space gave the project a 9.8 (on a scale of 10) in NAR’s “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” in terms of happiness and satisfaction.

Garage Door Replacement
It’s amazing what a good haircut can do for your personal appearance, isn’t it? It’s one of the first things people notice about you. Your garage door is often the first thing you and your guests see. Imagine the difference a new one could make for your home’s good looks. Financially, it makes a ton of sense, too. A new two-car, steel, insulated garage door costs around $2,300, installed. You might get back almost 90% of that cost at resale, according to the “Report.”

Fiber-Cement Siding
If regular maintenance is your Achilles’ heel, fiber-cement siding is for you. It fends off termites, moisture, rot, and fire. It’s stable and doesn’t flex, so you can nix frequent repainting from your to-do list. You’ll pay $6 to $11 per square foot. And the word on the street? Your fellow homeowners gave it a Joy Score of 10 out of 10 in the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report.”

Replacement Windows
You’ll have a new outlook on life — or at least your yard — when you ditch old windows for fierce new energy-efficient models. Opt for low-E coatings and argon gas insulation to max out energy savings. Homeowners who responded to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” cited energy efficiency as the top reason they chose to upgrade their windows. Tip: New windows are pricey — around $500 a pop. If your windows are leaky but generally OK, your best bet is likely good ol’ (money-wise) caulk.

Vinyl Siding
Here’s another low-care option. Vinyl siding is lightweight, low cost, and by far the most popular choice for siding replacement jobs. Colorfast formulas and seamless installations help vinyl look better than ever, and insulated vinyl helps cut energy costs. But take care when choosing your siding installer — almost one in four people responding to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” said if they could do it over again, they’d use a different pro.

Kitchen Update
Would your kitchen end up on a “Buzzfeed” list of worst kitchens? Reclaim your dignity with a kitchen spruce-up that includes new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, along with new appliances, a new countertop, and new flooring. By leaving cabinets in place, you’ll save 50% of the cost of new cabs, plus you won’t have to pay a plumber hundreds of dollars to move pipes.

For information on buying or selling in Santa Barbara, contact Real Estate Expert Karen Spechler.

By John Riha, Houselogic