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Four Best-Buy Home Upgrades

Comfort and value now and late

You’ve got a long list of home remodeling projects. Which goes to the top of the list? Prioritize by choosing projects that make life more comfortable now and improve your home’s value in the future.
    These score on both standards.

Insulate the Attic
    For an affordable home project with a superb return on investment, start at the very top of your home and insulate your attic. This upgrade offers a 116 percent return on investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report.
    Insulation also reduces energy bills now while improving home comfort.

Add a Deck
    To improve home value significantly and take better advantage of every square inch of your property, extend your living space outdoors.
    A deck is a dramatic addition that makes a statement. For a sound return on your investment, build with wood. Wood offers a 75 percent return, as opposed to composite material, which only offers a 64 percent return, according to the same Remodeling Magazine Report.
    Balance the maintenance costs of deck upkeep — staining, pressure washing and furnishing — by doing it yourself.

Dig a Pool
    Who doesn’t want a pool after sweltering through the summer of 2016? Adding an in-ground concrete pool is a big investment that can give you the comfort of your own backyard oasis. In our part of the world, it can increase your home value from five to 10 percent.
    Plan ahead now for spring installation of an in-ground concrete pool.
    “Right now, while temperatures are reliably above freezing, you can schedule many renovations, including replastering, tile or coping work and deck repairs or replacement,” says Kip Seyfferth of Catalina Pool Builders in Severna Park, serving all of Chesapeake Country.

Warm up with a Fireplace
    Make your home a hot property. New homebuyers ranked fireplaces as the No. 1 most desired decorative appearance product in a new home, according to a National Association of Home Builders survey.
    “A fireplace can give you the competitive advantage you need to sell your home faster and at a higher value,” says Andy Tesch, brand director for Heat & Glo, an industry-leading fireplace manufacturer.
    Options abound to make a fireplace a possibility in any room of the house — including kitchens and bathrooms, or even outdoors. And there’s a fireplace to fit your style and needs, whether you’re going for a contemporary look, want authentic masonry styling with the functionality of gas or seek a focal point for your outdoor space.
    Already have a fireplace? Upgrade and save dollars and energy with an efficient gas insert.
    “Traditional wood fireplaces add a lot of charm to a home,” says Tesch. “But they are inefficient, even when they are not in use.”    
    Gas inserts using energy-saving FireBrick technology are efficient alternatives. They are also cleaner, creating no ash, soot or smoke.