If you're looking for more usable living space, finishing a basement or attic bonus room is almost always easier than adding square footage to your home. A finished existing area can be a versatile investment, affording you the space to add a bedroom, bathroom, recreational room, home office or even a second kitchen a la in-law suite style. Remodeling Magazine says a basement renovation pays back more than 70 percent of its cost at the time of resale.
Did You Know
Heating and cooling costs the average homeowner about $1,000 a year — nearly half the home's total energy bill, according to EnergyStar.gov. When researching new air conditioners, always look for the Energy Star label. If your air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an Energy Star-qualified model could reduce cooling costs by 30 percent.
Air conditioning is impractical outdoors, so investing in a backyard cooling product could be a necessity as much as an amenity. Evaporative coolers are a better option than misters that drench or oscillating fans that simply blow hot air around. The coolers lower temperatures by as much as 30 degrees and are powerful enough to cool an entire deck.