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Considering home improvements?

(BPT) – Perhaps your home is in pretty good shape – newish roof, well-maintained furnace and air-conditioning, and fresh paint throughout. Or maybe you’ve bought a brand-new house that’s move-in ready. Even though you don’t really need to do a thing to the home, you may still have the urge to update. But what can you do when everything is already just about perfect?

Engaging in some out-of-the-ordinary upgrades can enhance a home’s livability, your enjoyment of it and – in some cases – its resale value down the road. Before you settle on an upgrade, ask yourself these key questions:

* Will it improve the home’s livability?

* Will it improve the healthfulness or security of the home environment?

* Is it a special feature that appeals to your lifestyle?

* How difficult/easy will it be to maintain?

* Does it have hidden dollar value?

Here are some out-of-the-ordinary improvements that can increase enjoyment of a home while adding value:

Skylights

Skylights are a surprisingly affordable upgrade and it’s easy to see the lifestyle benefits they bring, including their ability to make both small and large areas seem even larger.

Skylights differentiate a home’s appearance while significantly increasing the amount of natural light that enters a room – a huge bonus in spaces where wall windows aren’t practical or desirable, such as master closets or baths where privacy is paramount. Energy Star-qualified, solar-powered, fresh-air skylights, like those from Velux America, also provide passive ventilation that improves indoor air quality. Fresh-air skylights operate with a programmable touch pad remote control that also manages energy efficiency boosting accessories like blinds. Available in designer colors and patterns, solar powered skylight blinds further allow homeowners to control the amount of light and warmth that enters or leaves the room through the skylight. Solar powered skylights and blinds, along with installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit. To learn more visit www.whyskylights.com.

Swimming pool

The value of a swimming pool is subjective, so the most important questions to answer are whether a pool will fit your lifestyle and if you’ll be up to maintaining it. Pools can be a great way to relax or get in some exercise, bond with the kids or enjoy play time with friends. But you’ll have to do some work for that fun, including regularly cleaning the pool, adding chemicals as needed and keeping the pump, lights, heater and other systems in good condition. You must also be aware of safety and take appropriate measures to protect children and pets when they’re near the pool.

Sunroom

A sunroom won’t improve your home’s energy efficiency the way a skylight can, but if the home has a great view or you relish communing with nature, a sunroom can help boost your mood. While some expert do-it-yourselfers may be able to tackle a sunroom addition on their own, most homeowners will want to work with a professional contractor to ensure the structure is sound, well-insulated, efficient and built to code.

Backup generator

While a backup generator is not a common home improvement, installing one could be beneficial if your home is in a storm-prone area where power outages occur regularly. A generator may also be an important home enhancement if you have critical electrical systems that must stay on, such as medical devices for a homebound patient.

When you’re considering upgrading a home, keep in mind that resale value isn’t the only consideration. It’s equally important that the upgrades make sense for the home and your lifestyle.