Five tips to add resale value to your home

You will find lots of tips under the topic of adding value to your home. This is our own list of "top five" which we wrote with current trends in mind:

1. Invest in professional consultation before you make any major changes. A qualified interior designer, a trusted realtor, a contractor or home inspector - these people can all tell you if your plans are sound. You might think, for example, that putting in a corner fireplace would be perfect - until you talk to an interior designer or realtor. What's more, professionals can give you great suggestions. In the end, the money you invest in good advice will be well worth it.

2. Keep within your do-it-yourself limits. DIY is a huge industry, and the television shows can make it look easy. Your kitchen, however, is not the place to learn how to knock out a wall and install new plumbing. Amateur flaws will show up during a home inspection, and you may even discover your work is not up to code and has to be redone. Here again, use professionals to your best advantage. You can still save money by working with a professional, to do the jobs such as clean-up, buying supplies, etc. that are great cost-savers. DIY is wonderful - but make sure you DIR (Do it right!).

3. The "running water" rule still rules. You reap the greatest return on renovations of rooms that have running water - bathrooms and your kitchen.

4. Reduce energy costs. Heating and lighting costs will continue to escalate, and will become an increasingly bigger factor in home-buying decisions. Investing in insulation and other energy efficiencies will save you money immediately, and make you money when you sell your home.

5. Make the most of your yard. The home of the future will be expected to be a place to work from, not just come home to. People will be attracted to homes where the yard is also efficient and inviting. Trees and shrubs take years to mature, so now is the time to plan and plant (and again, the advice of landscaping professional can be well worth it).