You decided to work on your house.  You saved up for it.  The entire family knows there is work to do and there are changes to make.  But where do you start?  And how do you prioritize?

The good news is there is no wrong answer, and everyone’s priorities are different.  The bad news is there could be an endless list of possibilities to consider.

Maintenance

As a responsible homeowner, you should probably first evaluate the condition of your home and make sure there aren’t needed repairs to make.  That small roof leak now can become an expensive disaster later if ignored too long.  Not fun or pretty, but safe and dry.  Things like the water heater or roof will wear out over time, so make sure you are saving up for the higher priced maintenance items.  A well-maintained home will retain its value better too.

Fun

Next, think about your family and your lifestyle – does your family love to be outdoors? Would you spend more time in your backyard if it wasn’t a muddy mess? Does the deck show too many signs of wear? Is it even usable in the baking hot sun?  Do you need spaces for everyone to hang out and not trip over each other, or do you need a gathering space?

Functionality

Do you live in an older home with no storage and have a creepy unfinished basement?  Or do you just have awkward spaces that need help?  In our home, for instance, the laundry room was so awkward and tiny that we had to sort and manage our laundry in the living room and down the hallway…….not a pretty sight!

Frivolity

Have you always wanted a full-size basketball court in your backyard?  Or does your family dream of owning salt water pool with an attached hot tub?  What are your thoughts about an outdoor kitchen?  Would a twelve car garage make it easier for you to remodel those old cars and keep up with your hobbies?  Is Fido begging for a dog washing station?  Frivolity, after all, is in the eye of the beholder, and if your dog loves to swim in the nearby lake, a dog washing station is a functional necessity!!

How it All Fits into the Budget

Clearly, there are lots of choices when it comes to investing in your home, and there are many paths to get there.   You could start by listing your top priorities and then rank them by which are most important to you.  Next, you may want to think about how long you will be in your home and whether you can recoup your investment if you sell.  (That is important for some people and not so important to others.)  Finally, see how many of your projects fit your current budget.

As you are deciding, next think about how to allocate those hard-earned dollars across your projects – maybe you have enough to remodel two bathrooms instead of one if you select nice – but not custom – vanity sets that are popular at big box stores and online right now.  But maybe you have really expensive taste and would rather do one bathroom at a time and get all custom, high-end finishes.  Maybe you are handy and can get even more done within your budget by doing some of the work yourself.

The point is, there are lots of ways to improve your home, and there are really no wrong paths for deciding how to prioritize.  What works for you may not work for your friend or your neighbor.  The goal is to live better in your home, and only you and your family best know how to do that.

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