Prioritizing Home Improvement: What can Wait vs. What to Start Today

As a homeowner I know that there are a million things that we would like to change about our houses. These ideas range from changing the style of toilet paper holders to knocking down a frivolous wall between the living room and the kitchen. With so many projects running in and out of consciousness, it can be hard to effectively decide which ones take precedent over the others.

Home Improvement

Make a List and Check it Twice
Your first step to prioritizing home improvement is always to make a list. Spreadsheets work nicely for this step of planning because items can easily be moved into groups with respect to: the type of project, location in the house, and necessity. Document every project you can think of so you don’t have them all rattling loosely around in your head. Projects are much easier, when written down, to compare to one another.


Once you have grouped the projects together, you need to consider how to pay for them. Don’t plan for superficial makeovers if you don’t have the money to spare. On the other hand, if funds are tight and repairs are necessary for the well-being of your family, then you may want to investigate if you qualify for special circumstances such as the HUD 184 or VA Cash-Out Refinancing.

You have determined that you can put together the necessary funds for one or more home improvement projects. Now safety takes priority over all else. Think about it this way: If you have a compromised home or injury to a member of your family, then it’s not going to matter much that you just put in that nice shower in the bathroom.

This checklist from Total Home Inspection is a great resource for starting to independently check your home for problem areas. If you don’t feel 100% competent to complete a thorough inspection yourself, then it would be well worth it to hire a professional from a home inspection company. It will save you money in the long run and it’s the smartest decision for your most important investment.

Ensure Longevity
Once you have prioritized for budget and safety you need to make certain that you are not throwing your money away on something that you will have to change in a few years. The best home improvements are the ones that will last the life of the home.

  • Increase the value of your home. This should always be on your mind when spending money on your home. Make sure you are getting your money back on your refurbishments if you plan on selling in the future.
  • Don’t spend resources on fleeting trends. This will cause your home to fall out of fashion fast and force you to renovate the same features all over again. Some styles never go out of style so it’s often best to stick with them.
  • Start from the bones and work outward. It does you no good to put on new wallpaper if you know that the sheet rock is damaged. Structural investments are always the best in the long run.
  • Do it right the first time. Aside from being the most important thing my father ever taught me, this is crucial when planning home projects. Invest a bit more money on the highest quality products you can. Also take your time while working. It is so much more rewarding knowing that you gave a job everything you had to offer.

Get Going Now
Often the most precious resource is time. There’s no time like the present to get moving on your home improvement. Every home is different so only you can decide which improvements are best for you. Get that spreadsheet filled out and start deciding which investments you will make on your home!

Erin Emanuel