6 Home Renovations That Actually SAVE You Money

Dear Rich Lifer,

We once read somewhere that Lowes and Home Depot actually saw a surge in sales for the month of May compared to last year… 

What does that tell you? 

It can mean a lot of things, but a good guess is people are tired of looking at the color of their walls… 

If your honey-do list is anything like most, you probably have some quarantine projects you need to tackle. 

Before you make a trip to your local building center, take a look at a few suggestions. 

Typically, renovations and savings are two words rarely found in the same sentence. That’s because the average home remodel recoups less than two-thirds of the cost at sale.

However, there are some home upgrades that you can make, or hire someone to make, that will end up saving you money in the long run. 

Here are six home renovations that actually put money back in your wallet… 

Upgrading to a smart thermostat

This is an upgrade you’ll wish you’d made sooner. The average cost of a smart thermostat with installation is around $500 – $550. 

A hefty price compared to your old school dial thermostat. But here’s why it’s worth it: average savings are $130 – $145 per year with a smart thermostat. Your smart thermostat will have paid for itself in less than 4 years.

The best part about smart thermostats is they do the “thinking” for you. Smart thermostats can turn off when no one is home, target temperatures to only occupied rooms and even learn how you want your house cooled and heated over time. 

There are several different models to choose from but the best brands are still Ecobee and Nest. Smart thermostats also allow you to control the climate of your entire house through your smartphone, whether you’re at home or not.

Installing a home security system

According to a study out of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, approximately 83 percent of burglars say they would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60 percent said they would seek an alternative target if there was an alarm on-site. 

When you consider the average value of items stolen from U.S. residences is $2,251, installing a security system is a wise investment. 

Plus, with the accelerated push toward online shopping and contact-less delivery, having a camera at your front door will come in handy. 

A security system and installation will cost you $600 – $1200. And around $30 per month for a monitoring plan. 

What if your house never gets burglarized? You’ll still save money by reducing your home insurance policy. 

Whole house fan (AKA attic fan)

If you live in a warm climate and your house has an attic, a whole house fan is a must. They take about 5-6 hours to install, but the benefits far outweigh the labor. 

Whole house fans are typically installed in your attic and work by pulling air in through your windows and out through the attic vents. 

An attic fan will run you $380 – $450. But the energy savings on your AC bill will be worth every penny. 

You also get the added benefit of a cool breeze through your whole home and most house fans can sync with smart home automation systems, offering you even more control. 

Smarter lighting 

“Smart” lighting comes in all shapes and sizes, from energy-efficient light bulbs – like LEDs, CFLs, and halogen incandescents – to automated lighting systems. 

The average cost of a starter system for smart lighting is $50 – $200. The benefits of smart lighting are twofold: superior control and analytics. 

If you forget to turn off the lights after you’ve left the house, no problem, you can open an app on your phone, tap a button and they’re off. 

Smart home automation will also analyze your lighting usage, giving you feedback and insights to further reduce your energy bill. 

Changing over your lighting to smart lighting should save you $75 per year. Not bad for changing a few lightbulbs.

Rooftop solar system 

Solar panels got a bad rap years ago when they didn’t deliver what they promised.

People spent thousands of dollars in hopes of saving thousands but the payoff never came. The good news is solar panels have made strides since then. 

Prices have gone down considerably and their ability to capture the sun’s photons and convert them to electricity is becoming a lot more efficient. 

Payback is also getting shorter – the average rooftop solar system will pay back a homeowner in seven and a half years. 

The average cost of installing solar panels is $12,500, after tax credit. Lifetime savings will range between $15,000 – $43,000 depending on your state. 

Another bonus is the U.S. Department of Energy found that solar panels add an average of $15,000 to a home’s value. 

Gutter maintenance

This isn’t the sexiest of home renovation projects, but if water leaks into your basement or foundation, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to repair. 

Making sure your gutters are cleaned annually and routing properly to prevent water from eroding your home is a must. The average gutter repair will set you back $170 – $490. 

If you need to install new gutters, you’re looking at spending $545 – $1300. But like I said, keeping your gutters in top shape is a small price to pay for what could happen if you neglect them. 

If you’re wondering what project should move to the top of your to-do list, this is the one. 

To a richer life,

The Rich Life Roadmap Team


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