5 New Home Improvements for the New Year!

With the coming of the new year comes questions of resolutions and plans. For many homeowners, New Years brings talk of upcoming home renovation projects. If you are considering a home renovation or upgrade, remember to choose your projects wisely. Some projects will have more of an impact on a home's value than others, so if the possibility of selling is in your future, you want to make the right choice.

1. Go Green!

Going green is no longer just a trend. It's a change that is here to stay, and 2014 might be the year for you to go green around your home. Whether you start small, like choosing low VOC paint when you repaint that room or installing water-saving showerheads, or make a bigger change, like swapping out carpeting for sustainable bamboo flooring or adding more energy-efficient windows, these changes can make a big difference in your carbon footprint. If you are planning to sell in the near future, potential buyers will be impressed with your use of eco-friendly products in your home.

2. Upgrade Appliances

Did you know that a dishwasher built before 1994 wastes over 10 gallons of water with every cycle? Even if your dishwasher isn't quite that old, it could likely be more efficient. As you consider ways to improve efficiency in your home, consider upgrading to more efficient appliances. This will add value to your home and help lower your energy bills at the same time.

Shopping for an efficient appliance is challenging, so do your homework before you go. Energy Star rates appliances each year for efficiency, and the website ranks appliances each year for their energy efficiency. Remember that new standards for refrigerator efficiency take effect in 2014, so upgrading your fridge in the coming year will automatically mean adding an energy efficient option to your home. Don't forget the dishwasher as you upgrade. Upgrading to a newer Energy Star dishwasher, like the Kenmore Elite 12783, which boasts both quiet operations and low water use, will make homes more appealing.

3. Plant a Garden

As natural, sustainable living continues to grow in popularity, so does the desire to have a place to grow your own organic food. When spring rolls around, consider investing in a garden. Not only will your family be able to enjoy the benefits of your harvest, but any buyers who are concerned about healthy living will be attracted to your home as they see the place where they can grow their own healthy food once they buy it. Choose a sunny spot, till up the soil and plant some basic veggies to get started.

4. Make the Kitchen Pretty

Kitchens sell homes. If your kitchen is struggling a bit, make some cosmetic changes in addition to the appliances you upgrade. New countertops, refinished cabinets and upgraded flooring will make your home more appealing to every buyer who comes through the door. Remember, this is often the most scrutinized room in a home, so make it, literally, shine.

5. Add a Deck

Outdoor entertaining is becoming quite popular, and outdoor living spaces are gaining interest. Adding a deck can cost around $10,000, but you will get much of the investment back in resale value. Homeowners who add decks have an average of 85 percent return on investment. By adding a deck, you can enjoy some quiet evenings outdoors with your family, even while seeing more interest and a higher value when selling your home.

Whether you choose to make a big change, like adding a deck, or stick with something smaller, like planting a garden, keep your potential resale value in mind whenever you make these changes. You will be glad you did when the time for selling your home rolls around.