7 Most Profitable Home Renovations

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The LendingTree.com '7 for 7' is a snappy, weekly column that came from the idea of providing visitors to LendingTree.com "seven smart borrowing tips to get you through the week." It then became the "Daily Candy" of the financial world providing readers a fun outlet that helps navigate tough money and budget decisions from the very big to the very small. Today's '7 for 7' shares smart ways to renovate your home and be profitable.

People are probably going to spend less money fixing up their homes this year, according to April 2008 report by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. But you didn't need a bunch of folks with PhD's to tell you that. With declining consumer confidence, it's no surprise that homeowners are paring down their home improvement plans. But even on a lean budget, remodeling can be a great investment if it's done wisely. Here are 7 home renovations that are likely to give you the greatest return:

1. Kitchen
The kitchen has overtaken the family room as the heart of the home in recent years, and that's why it's always a good renovation bet, according to Remodeling Magazine's annual "Cost vs. Value" survey. Adding new, energy efficient appliances can pay off in the form of lower utility bills as well as greater resale value.

2. Bathroom
Even just adding new faucets, light fixtures and a fresh coat of paint can help fix up a tired bathroom. In fact, while you might enjoy upscale extras such as heated towel bars and floors and high-tech showerheads, they'll likely yield less return on your investment.

3. Deck addition
Decks are a cost-effective way to add to the footprint of your home, making it feel larger for not a lot of money. Consider using more expensive but maintenance-free composite material instead of traditional redwood decking.

4. Siding replacement
This major facelift is consistently ranked among the top projects for return on your investment. If your home's exterior is looking a little dated, new siding can boost curb appeal tremendously.

5. Window replacement
If a siding replacement is an extreme makeover, consider window replacement an eyelift - which can largely pay for itself upon resale.

6. Attic bedroom addition
An unfinished walkup attic can be like free money waiting to be claimed. Turn that space into a cozy master retreat and boost your home value instantly.

7. Whatever makes you happiest
Life's not all about making money, is it? People are spending much of their free time at home these days, so if a home improvement project makes your house more comfortable for you and your family, that can be priceless.


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