Springtime is here and Chicago residents have been spending a lot of time indoors, looking at the upgrades, improvements, and renovations they want to tackle, but can’t or don’t want to on their own, such as updating family spaces, adding a home office, painting the exterior, or simply washing the windows.
Recent statistics show that most homes in the U.S. are in need of some updates and improvements – 80% of the 137 million homes in the country are at least 20 years old, while 40% are 50 years old or older.
But which improvement projects provide the best return on investment, either through savings on insurance or utilities costs, or by increasing a home’s value?
According to Consumer Reports, the following improvement projects can help reduce the cost of your homeowner’s insurance:
1. Invest in a security system
2. Replacing or repairing the roof
3. Updating major systems – including heating, plumbing and electrical
4. Installing sensors that detect smoke, gas, or extreme temperature changes
5. Adding a generator
If you plan to sell your home in the next few years, some upgrades yield the highest return on investment in increasing the value of your home. Professionals recommend replacing the following:
1. Garage door
4. Front door
Another high-return upgrade is adding manufactured stone veneer to the front of your home. It yields a 95% return on the cost of the update.
Selecting a trusted vendor to help with these projects can be tricky. While friends and family can be a good referral source, your needs may be very different from theirs. And many guidebooks and online referral services only list companies that have paid to be part of the guide, regardless of their track record or reviews.
This spring, Chicago homeowners will, for the first time, have access to a free guide of top-rated, local home service professionals in dozens of specialties, including kitchen or basement remodeling, deck building, and landscaping. Five Star Rated is different from other guides because the initial research is already done. Five Star Rated looks for companies that measure up to a high standard of consistent, exceptional service, and only companies that pass a review process are invited to participate in the Five Star Rated Program.
Choosing a professional from Five Star Rated comes with an added benefit – the Five Star Guarantee. Projects completed by a verified service provider are guaranteed by Five Star Rated if the work is not satisfactory.
The Five Star Rated directory was mailed to Chicago-area residents last week, and is also available through a free, interactive online directory.