Smart Ways to Put Your Tax Refund Into Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/15/17 10:00 AM

Topics: Economy Home Ownership

Getting a check back this year? According to the IRS, the average refund is just over $3,000. Before you start planning your refund-funded shopping spree, think of the many ways you could invest that return into one of your biggest tax deductions – your home. We’ve compiled some smart, value-adding and lower-cost ways to use that refund check toward your house.


Improve Your Energy Efficiency

You know how you have to spend money to make money? Well, you also need to spend money to save money. Any home improvement that will make your home more energy efficient is a project worth completing. Some energy-efficient improvements that will pay for themselves in the long run include:

  • Getting a smart thermostat. Smart home devices, like The Nest Thermostat, self-program and then self-pay. By learning your temperature preferences, The Nest automatically adjusts and can even tell when no one is home. Through daily energy history reports, users can see how much energy they are using and what they can do to use less. Boasting 10-12% savings on heating and 15% on cooling, this thermostat can pay for itself in less than two years.
  • Adding insulation. Attic insulation was the number one home improvement for cost vs. resale value, according to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report.
  • Sealing ductwork. If you’re a victim of skyrocketing energy bills, faulty ductwork might be your problem. According to Energy Star, 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through your duct system is lost due to leaking or poorly connected ducts.
  • Installing ceiling fans. While a ceiling fan won’t actually make the temperature in your home cooler or warmer, they help to regulate airflow, making it feel cooler or warmer (depending on the fan’s direction).

Spend on Curb Appeal

Any home improvement dollars spent on the curbside view of your home are usually smart. In fact, seven of the top 10 remodeling projects for 2017 with the highest return of investment were

  • Cover exposed foundation. Stone veneer is a great way to add architectural interest to your home and cover exposed foundation.
  • Replace your garage door. Your garage door is also a big component of your curb appeal. Not looking to invest in a new door? See our tips on transforming your garage door without replacing it.
  • Replace your front door. A steel entry door replacement packs a low cost and an average of 90.7 percent cost recoup upon resale. Not sure which front door is right for you? Check out our guide here.
  • Landscape. According to the National Association of REALTORS, a $400-$600 investment in your landscaping can amount to a $1,500-$2,000 investment when selling your home. Save some of your tax return for spring landscaping projects like laying new mulch, planting shrubs, trees and perennials, and buying the tools you need to get your lawn looking in its best shape, like an edger.

Replace Flooring

Ninety-four percent of real estate pros recommend investing in your flooring, according to This Old House. Whether you’re tired of stain-treating carpet, your allergies have been acting up or you just need something more low maintenance and durable, there are several flooring types that can cater to your needs without eating up your entire tax return.

Minor Kitchen or Bathroom Remodel

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, so it is usually a smart investment to keep those areas up-to-date and well maintained. Here are some small-budget DIY ideas that will transform the look of your kitchen and bath.

For Kitchens

  • Paint your cabinetry.
  • Replace cabinet hardware.
  • Add a backsplash.
  • Replace your sink fixture.
  • Add under-cabinet lighting.
  • Add statement lighting over your island and/or dining room table.

For Bathrooms

  • Paint (keep in mind that lighter colors make your bathroom appear larger and increase lighting).
  • Replace vanity hardware.
  • Add storage with a mounted wall cabinet or shelving above the toilet.
  • Add vertical light fixtures or sconces on both sides of the mirror. A common lighting mistake is relying solely on overhead fixtures.

For more ways to add value to your home, follow us on Pinterest and subscribe to our blog! Looking for a way to finance some larger home renovations or remodeling projects this year? Download our free Rehab & Construction Guide for ways to incorporate the costs of your improvements into your mortgage.

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide

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