http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/05/09/take-steps-to-preserve-the-value-of-your-home


Danville Express

Real Estate - May 9, 2008

Take steps to preserve the value of your home

If you're like most Americans, then your greatest asset is your home. But with recent declines in home values, it may be time to consider options for preserving your home's value. Since the value of your home is directly tied to its condition, there are steps you can take to help preserve that value.

Step 1: Where to begin, indoor vs. outdoor

Preserving the value of your home can be achieved in many ways, but your home's exterior should be your initial focus. Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report shows exterior and replacement projects bring the biggest return. Before you decide where to begin, you should consider the following:

* Budget - set one and be realistic.

* Goals - narrow your scope by determining exactly what you want to achieve.

Step 2: Do your research

Depending on where you live, the value you gain from exterior home improvement projects can vary widely. Exterior projects that typically recover cost well include a roof replacement and the addition of a deck.

You may want to consult with a local remodeler or real estate agent to learn more about the specific issues affecting the value of home improvements in your area.

Step 3: Pick a project

Now that you've set a budget and completed your research, it's time to select your project. A great place to start is your roof.

"A roof used to be nothing more than protection for your home from the elements," says Stephen McNally, vice president of sales and marketing for TAMKO Building Products Inc. "Today homeowners look to their roof as a way to increase their home's curb appeal and overall value."

When selecting a roofing material it is important to remember the following:

* Performance is as important as curb appeal.

* Select a product that is backed by a solid warranty.

A majority of homeowners prefer asphalt shingles because they perform well and are typically the most cost effective option, but many alternatives are now available. One alternative growing in popularity, which could potentially increase the value of your home, is composite roofing.

Composite roofing products are typically backed by longer warranties. Some shingles create the authentic look of a classic slate roof without the high-cost and performance issues. Other alternatives include metal, rubber, concrete and tile. Be sure to do your research before selecting a roofing material that will work for you. With tile, make sure your house can bear the weight.

Another potential exterior project is the addition of a deck. When selecting a decking material that will help preserve your home's value, it's important to think about the following:

* Durability - you want a product that performs well and will last.

* Maintenance - deck maintenance can be costly. Consider low-maintenance materials like composite (a combination of wood and plastic).

A natural wood deck can lead to costly, time-consuming, annual maintenance. Composite decks, which may cost more initially, generally never require painting or staining. After all, you should spend more time enjoying your deck than caring for it. Composites typically come with a longer warranty as well.

No matter what project you choose, maintaining the value of your greatest asset, your home, should be a top priority.

--Courtesy of ARAcontent

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