4 ideas to make your tax refund go further

By Dave Zitting, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Apr 24th, 2013 @ 10:31am

SALT LAKE CITY — This time of year, there is a lot to look forward to. We get to watch the buds come out on the trees, see our favorite college basketball teams compete in the NCAA tournament (congrats Louisville!), and many look forward to receiving tax return checks. Ah, spring.

It can be easy to think of ways to spend that tax return money before the check ever makes it to our bank account. But I'd like to suggest a way to spend your tax return that will make it return again: investing in your home.

Each year, Remodeling Magazine publishes a Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report that details how much different projects cost and how much you can expect recuperate when you resell. From that, I've put together a list of four different projects with information about their costs and projected recuperation values. By recuperating a percentage of the cost when you resell, you're essentially getting to spend this year's tax return again. Not a bad idea, right?

Now, your tax return might not cover the entirety of these projects, but it could be that last bit you needed to start your next project. Or it could be what starts a savings fund for a future home repair project. Either way, I've got some thoughts on letting you spend at least 60 percent of your 2013 tax refund again:

Garage Door Replacement; Estimated Cost: $1,500

Older garage doors can not only be an eyesore, but they can also detract from your home's ability to regulate temperatures, as well. To get rid of an old garage door and replace it with a new one that is better insulated and sealed, you can not only improve the look and curb appeal of your home, but its performance too. According to the Remodeling Cost vs. Value report, in Salt Lake City with an investment of $1,445, you can expect a resale value of $1,000 which is a 69 percent recuperation of your cost!

Window Replacement; Estimated Cost: $9,500

Old windows can be both aesthetically problematic and can cause homeowners grief with drafts, rattles and they can be hard to open or close. My family loves to have the windows open in the spring and fall, but we definitely want them shut and sealed in the summer and winter. Remodeling Magazine's report shows that in SLC if you replace 10 3-by-5-foot vinyl windows for a cost of $9,454, you could expect a $6,537 resale value, recuperating 69 percent of the cost.

Deck Addition; Estimated Cost: $14,000

Does your family spend a lot of time outside? Or would you if you had a nice deck for an outdoor table and chairs? Perhaps a spot for a hammock? The report notes that to add a 16-by-20-foot composite deck with a bench, stairs and railing for $14,664, you could expect a $9,613 resale value, which comes out to 65 percent of your cost recouped.

Roof Replacement; Estimated Cost: $17,500

Roof replacements are one of the less gratifying projects because it's often not something you pay much attention to when it's properly functioning. But, when it's not, your roof can cause huge amount of destruction to the interior of your home. If it's time to reroof your home, take a look at these numbers from the Remodeling Cost Vs. Value Report: to remove old roofing and replace it costs around $17,601 with a projected $10,934 resale value. That is a more than 62 percent recuperation of your cost - not to mention the costs you'll save by preventing interior damage.

Now, there are many more projects in the report - everything from the addition of a new master suite to a kitchen remodel, so I encourage you to check it out. But begin to think about ways to continue investing in your home. Especially as we see home values rise again, it's smart to nurture that investment to prepare ourselves for the best possible position when we are ready to sell.

So, assess your home's needs, make a plan and grab a hammer. It's time to make the most of your tax return!

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