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Making your house more efficient, adding square footage, upgrading the kitchen or bath and installing smart-home technology can help increase its value.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of U.S. homeowners believe the value of their home will continue to rise over the next 10 years, according to a NerdWallet survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,400 homeowners in August 2018.

That may be optimistic, considering that some factors that determine what a house is worth, like its location and the popularity of that market, are out of your control.

If, like 70% of American homeowners, you believe your house is your biggest asset, taking care of it is probably a top priority. The good news is, keeping up with repairs and making smart improvements are both proven ways to increase home value over time.

Whether you want to build equity or get top dollar when you sell, use the tips below to raise the value of your home.


1. Make it more attractive

Curb appeal — how your home looks from the street — is your first chance to make a good impression, says James Murrett, president of the Appraisal Institute, a professional association for real estate appraisers. A home’s exterior needs to make a prospective buyer want to walk through the front door.

Make sure existing landscaping is well-maintained. If your yard seems dull in comparison with your neighbors, consider planting flowers or repainting the front door.

Once the exterior looks good, focus on the kitchen and bathroom. When these two rooms are outdated, they can keep a property from reaching its highest valuation, Lori Noble, a senior residential appraiser (SRA) in Charleston, West Virginia, said in an email.

And you don’t have to spring for heated towel racks or marble floors, either. A minor kitchen remodel recoups 81% of its cost in added value on average, versus 53% for an upscale kitchen remodel with stone countertops, custom cabinets and commercial-grade appliances, according to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Report.”

The same is true for bathrooms; a midrange remodel — new flooring and a few updated fixtures — delivers a 70% return on investment, while an upscale bathroom remodel — heated flooring, custom cabinets and designer fixtures — sees 56% on average.

2. Make it low-maintenance

Since many home buyers worry about buying a home that will need constant maintenance, replacing a major component before putting it up for sale — like the furnace, water heater or even the roof — may calm fears of an emergency repair in the near future and help get you a higher price.

Improvements that make things easy to clean and maintain may also increase home value. Consider replacing easily stained carpet with hardwood floors or replace high-maintenance wood siding with vinyl siding.

3. Make it more efficient

Energy conservation features can have a significant impact on home value, depending on what area of the country you’re in, Joanne Theunissen, chair of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers, said in an email. Energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs) allow borrowers to take on additional debt to cover both the purchase of the home as well as energy-efficient upgrades. EEMs can also offer lower mortgage rates to increase purchasing power, according to

Consider double-paned windows, enhanced attic insulation, LED lighting and efficient appliances as a way to increase home value and entice energy-conscious buyers.

If you’re willing to go bigger, put solar panels on the roof. Thirty-nine percent of agents surveyed recently by the National Association of Realtors said solar panels increased perceived property value. But since solar panels are a big financial and structural commitment, they only make sense if you’re hoping to increase value over the long term, not looking for a quick boost in resale value.

Schedule an assessment with a certified energy auditor or your utility company to determine where your home is wasting energy and which upgrades will save you the most money.


4. Make it bigger

“Square footage has a huge impact on value,” Angie Martin, director of operations at Hales and Associates in Overland Park, Kansas, said in an email. Price per square foot is one way she helps clients compare homes that are similar in style and upgrades.

Bigger homes often command higher values, and even if an appraiser doesn’t officially acknowledge the full value of added space, a buyer will likely notice.

Adding a room is the obvious way to make your house bigger, but you can also create additional living space by finishing the basement or building a deck.

5. Make it smarter

Safety-enhancing gadgets top the list of “smart” technologies buyers want in their new homes, according to a 2018 survey by Coldwell Banker. These safe and smart devices include thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks and lighting.

While smart tech doesn’t always increase home value, it does add appeal, Tavia Galvin, a licensed Realtor in Arvada, Colorado, said in an email.

Those who see themselves as “techies” are more likely to pay more for these items, Martin said.

Unlike replacing the roof or renovating the bathroom, you can usually install these devices yourself for about $1,000 or less.

How to pay for improvements that increase value

When thinking about how to increase home value, root your expectations in reality. Updates rarely recoup 100% of their cost, but they can make your family more comfortable and even help your home sell faster.

If you can’t pay for home improvements in cash, be sure to choose the right method of financing for you.

Credit card: Putting home renovations on a credit card may be OK as long as you’ll be able to pay off the entire balance in a short amount of time.

Personal loan: If you don’t have enough equity for a home equity loan or HELOC, consider a personal loan. The interest rate will be higher than home-equity-based financing, but lower than a credit card in most cases.

Home equity loan or line of credit: These second mortgages turn your home’s equity into easily accessible funds. Home equity loans pay out in a lump sum while home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are a line of financing you can borrow against over time. Both home equity loans and HELOCs have interest rates, fees, monthly payments and tax advantages to consider.

Cash-out refinance: This popular refinance option may be a good fit if you want to tap equity but don’t fancy a second mortgage. Of the 36% of homeowners who reported taking a cash-out refinance in the NerdWallet survey, over half (52%) used the funds for home improvements and repairs. A cash-out refinance doesn’t make sense if your equity is limited or current cash-out mortgage rates are higher than your existing rate.Explore all of these financing options with our home improvement financing calculator.



-Beth Buczynski, mortgages editor at NerdWallet


Understanding the cost of your roof

When preparing your estimate, roofing contractors consider many variables that are specific to your roof, your preferences, your budget and goals, and even where you live.

How roof costs are determined

While you ultimately need to know the overall price of your new roof, roofing contractors get to that estimate by adding up several factors. To deliver accurate cost estimate, roofing contractors do the following:

  1. Measure the roof – Most measurements are obtained digitally, using satellite imagery or drone technology, and include the slope, peaks and overall complexity of the roof.
  2. Do an inspection – With a thorough roof inspection, contractors are able to assess the condition of your roof and determine the project scope.
  3. Recommend products – Next, your contractor will outline the best roofing system materials for your project (shingles, ventilation and accessories) and warranty options.
  4. Calculate costs – With the information above, your contractor can bring all the costs together: labor, materials, warranty, and applicable fees and services (permits, preparation, clean up).

Key factors that impact roof quotes

The size of your roof is the most significant cost factor. Divide the square footage by 100 to get the approximate roofing square number for your estimate. A cost “per square” usually includes both materials and installation. According to the U.S. Census, the average residential roof in the United States is 17 squares, or approximately 1700 square feet.

Asphalt shingles are the most popular and least expensive type of residential roofing material. A metal roof, or roofs made with wood, slate, clay or solar tiles typically cost more. Roofs made from these other materials may have other benefits, like providing solar power to your home for example, but there are other trade-offs you will want to consider.

Steeper roofs require more need for staging, safety precautions and will likely take longer to install. The pitch also determines the type of underlayment needed for the highest level of fire safety. Roofing contractors also calculate features like chimneys, skylights and ventilation pipes that they need to work around, and complexities like the number of facets–or faces–the roof has.

You can expect to pay a different amount for a roof replacement depending on where you live in the U.S. Cost fluctuations may reflect the general cost of living differences in each region, and possibly the different material needs, or local code requirements, based on varying climates and other factors

Considerations for your new roof

  • Be sure to get more than one estimate and compare the details closely. See our tips choosing the right roofer here.
  • The lowest estimate may not be the best choice – costs will be higher for higher levels of installation quality, product durability and warranty protection.
  • Insurance may cover some or all of your costs if your roof sustained damage from a storm. Check with your agent before signing a contract with a roofer.
  • If you are in a storm market, paying for a stronger warranty now may save you a lot of money later. Learn about GAF Enhanced Warranties here.
  • Remember – in addition to protecting your family and belongings, your roof can represent up to 40% of curb appeal and contribute to the value of your home, too!

How to pay for your new roof

A roof that protects your home deserves a payment plan that protects your wallet. Consider using one or more of these common payment options.

Monthly Payments

A monthly payment plan can help you fit your roofing project into your household budget. Check with your contractor to see what their financing packages look like. Many have relationships with lenders and may be able to offer an interest-free period or other deals.

Credit Cards

You might not have considered a credit card as a way to pay for a major home improvement. But your personal line of credit may offer a convenient payment option for your roofing project. After checking your credit card terms, talk to your contractor about cards they’re set up to accept.


Be sure to read your policy carefully or check with an insurance broker or attorney to see what deductibles, limits and exclusions may apply. Your policy, for instance, might not cover a roof that has deteriorated due to age or neglect. Then talk to an experienced roofing contractor. They work with insurance companies all the time, and may be able to answer many of your questions.

– Blog Source:


If you just bought a house, you may be shocked to discover it doesn’t have gutters. How did you overlook this during the inspection? Now you’re left with the task of installing gutters and downspouts. Depending on the size of your house, a full-blown gutter installation could cost several thousand dollars. But since clogged rain gutters can cause serious damage, should you even bother installing them? Why does a house need gutters, anyway?

This seems like a logical train of thought, but the reason clogged gutters cause damage is because they let water flow over the sides, where it pools all around the foundation. If you don’t have gutters and downspouts to direct runoff away from your home, this will happen every time it rains. Here are four reasons to install gutters on your new house.


Homes built to code are situated on a slight slope to guide runoff away from the foundation. If rain flows off your roof because you have no gutters, the water causes massive erosion, washing away more and more soil each time it rains. This causes your carefully sloped landscape to wear down, allowing runoff to flow toward your home instead of away from it.

Erosion also causes the foundation to settle. Eventually, you may start to notice uneven floors and cracked walls and chimneys as a result.


Many homeowners enjoy planting flowers and shrubs right next to the house. This creates a pleasing aesthetic and can act as a windbreaker to guard against blustery winter weather. If soil erosion occurs because you don’t have gutters, your garden could literally wash away.

Even if erosion is minimal, puddles of water will form in your garden bed and drown your plants. Melting snow will also drip down and freeze overnight into solid sheets of ice that could kill evergreen shrubs.


When soil is saturated with water, it becomes incredibly heavy. This means the water running off your roof and pooling around the house places tremendous pressure on the foundation. Over time, this may cause basement walls to push inward or crack.

Tiny cracks in your foundation walls allow water to flow in and flood your basement. Even if the amount of water entering doesn’t appear substantial, this excessive moisture promotes mold growth, which could become a health hazard.


When rainwater carries leaves, dirt, and tiny asphalt shingle particles down the siding, this results in unsightly staining. Your home looks dreary and unkempt when this happens, negatively impacting your curb appeal.

The effects aren’t purely aesthetic, either. Over time, streams of rainwater can begin to rot your siding, especially if it’s made of wood. Rotten siding looks unappealing, but more importantly, it creates holes that invite pests into your home. If enough water seeps through the siding, it could affect your home’s structural integrity and become extremely expensive and difficult to fix.


What roof damage looks like and how to determine if you need a roof repair or replacement.

Repair or replace?

If your roof isn’t very old and you spot a few loose or damaged shingles, you may be able to just replace them. But for broader or more extensive damage, it may be time for a new roof. The key is a regular roof inspection so you know what’s going on up there.

What roof damage looks like? Roof damage comes in all forms. Know what to look for.

Attic leaks
Check your attic after severe weather. A leak could mean some shingles are damaged, the underlayment — a protective barrier between your shingles and the plywood of your roof — has failed, or flashing — the material that seals joints on your roof — has deteriorated.

Blistering or peeling paint
Poor ventilation may cause moisture to get trapped in your house, which may cause exterior paint to peel and blister.

Ceiling and wall stains
Leaks from outside the house or moisture trapped inside it can cause stains and possibly mold or mildew.

Sheathing decay
Another issue with poor ventilation and moisture in your layers of roofing materials is the decay of sheathing — also called decking — which is the layer of plywood that forms the foundation of your roof. If you notice a sagging ceiling, broken gutters, leaks or missing patches of shingles, your sheathing may be damaged.

Shingle damage
When shingles reach the end of their useful life, you may notice they fall off or become cracked, brittle or curled, which means it may be time for a new roof.

Dark streaks
It may look like dirt, but dark stains on your shingles may be moss, lichen, or blue-green algae. This may not require a new roof, but if and when you do replace your shingles, ask for StainGuard® and StainGuard® Plus protection, which are available on many GAF shingles.

How to do roof inspection

Conducting routine inspections of your roof — especially if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather — can help you prevent exterior damage from creating interior problems.

Start inside

  • Look around your attic for signs of leaks, dark spots, holes, or sagging sheathing
  • Check your ceilings for stains, mold or mildew

Step outside

If you’re comfortable climbing a ladder, you can see your roof up close. If not, you can do a relatively thorough inspection from the ground, using binoculars.

  • Clean leaves and debris out of gutters and downspouts, check them for sagging or leaks
  • Look in hidden areas, like the underside of eaves and fascia — the board that connects the roof to the outer walls of your house — for rotting or signs of animal infestation

Head to the street

  • From this distance, look for dark spots, missing shingles or sagging
  • See if the exterior paint is blistering or peeling
  • If you live in an area with icy or snowy winters, keep an eye out for ice dams — ridges of ice that form at the edge of your roof — because if water can’t drain off the roof, it may leak into your home

Examine the roof

  • Check for cracked, torn, warped or missing shingles and popped or rusted nails
  • Look for open seams or joints and make sure roof vents aren’t covered or clogged
  • Note areas that sag or appear unsound
  • Make sure pipes and roof penetrations, like your chimney or skylights, are sealed and don’t have any exposed nails
  • Make sure flashing, which is used to seal joints and keep water off of them, is not damaged or providing inadequate coverage

Keep an eye on your roof

  • Know how old your roof is. If you didn’t install it and you’re not sure, check the inspection report from when you purchased your home. You can also ask a roofing company or building inspector to look at the roof and estimate its age and condition.
  • Spot-check your roof twice a year, once in spring, once in fall. Use a ladder to access it and look for trouble spots, but also check your attic for damage. Not feeling up to it? Reaching out to a professional roofing contractor for help inspecting is always the best option.
  • Watch the homes around you — they experience the same weather yours does and were likely built around the same time. If your neighbors are getting new roofs, do a roof inspection to see if your home needs one too.
  • After a significant weather event, like heavy winds or a hail storm, check for exterior damage as soon as it’s safe.

– Blog source – GAF U.S.


The global pandemic has greatly impacted the construction industry – in a previous post, Capitology blog discussed how the higher risk of exposure has led to more cases of COVID-19 for construction workers. However, staffing shortages are not the only impact the virus has had on the industry.

As reported by Zachary Phillips for ConstructionDive, material shortages persist throughout construction. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI), which gauges the outlook for and confidence in the industry on a quarterly basis, improved from Q3 to Q4 of 2020, it’s still far below the pre-pandemic level.

“According to the report, 71% of contractors surveyed are facing at least one material shortage,” reports Phillips. “Lumber was the most-cited material shortage (31%), followed by steel or electrical supplies other than copper wire (11%) and lighting supplies (10%).”

Lumber shortages are of the greatest concern, increasing from 11% in the previous quarter. In an effort to address the shortage, the U.S. Department of Commerce lowered tariffs from 20% to 9% on Canadian-imported lumber.

According to the Q4 2020 CCI, 41% of contractors say less availability of building materials is a severe consequence of COVID-19, and 68% anticipate that construction delays will continue into the spring of 2021.

On top of the shortages, many materials having gone up in price, including fuel, copper, steel, aluminum, and most drastically, steel and lumber.

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America reported in early December that, “readers have forwarded letters from mills and suppliers in the past week that announced price increases—some for the second or third time this fall.”

These trends are expected to continue in 2021, impacting not only cost, but lead times, reports Phillips. The CCI report shared that 83% of contractors reported product delays and 71% were having a difficult time meeting schedule requirements.

However, the construction outlook isn’t entirely bleak. The CCI reported that contractors are “cautiously optimistic” about medium- and longer-term projects. Market trends also show a “moderate-to-high confidence in new business opportunities and steady revenue and profit expectations.”

When looking out over the next 12 months, a large percentage of contractors, 85%, report a “moderate to high level of confidence” in new construction business, according to the CCI. Sentiments about financing are also improving, with overall confidence in maintaining and obtaining financing increasing from Q3 to Q4 of 2020.

– Capitol Technology University Blog


Gutters do so much for our homes. They direct water away from the roof so mold doesn’t grow, and also funnel water away from the soil surrounding the home so the foundation isn’t damaged. However, many gutters will clog, become separated from the home, or even promote mold growth due to being installed poorly or crafted from low-quality materials.

The following 6 signs you may need new gutters.

Cracks and Splits

Cracked gutters allow water and debris to seep through. While larger cracks are more visible also be aware although smaller cracks may not look like much they will grow over time. This happens more quickly particularly if you live in a freeze/thaw climate where water turning to ice will expand inside the crack and cause it to split open wider. Larger cracks and splits should be dealt with right away to help keep your gutters functioning normally.

Sagging Gutters

Gutters beginning to sag and pull away from the house is another sign it’s time to replace them. Gutters usually only sag when they become too heavy or too full of water to remain in their correct position. If there is sagging, it means they are not functioning properly.

Cracking or Peeling Paint

Malfunctioning gutters can ruin the paint on your home. When checking your exterior siding, look for any bubbled up or peeled away paint. This means there may be excess moisture. Be sure to check the condition of the nearest gutter. If painted gutters are peeling as well, then you very likely have a leak.

Water and Mildew around the Foundation

One of the ways gutters help protect your home is by channeling the water away from the foundation. If you start to notice signs of water there, such as pools and puddles of water or mildew and algae growth, this could be a sign your gutters are not functioning properly.

Water Damage around the Gutters

When inspecting your gutters it’s best to wait for a sunny day. This aides in seeing any water stains, rotting fascia, mildew or puddles. These are signs of water damage around and beneath your gutters.

Rust or Orange Areas

If your home’s gutters are made of galvanized steel, their protective coating can come off over time and rust. This creates an orange coloring around some of the areas of the gutters or where the gutter joins the house.


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