Maximum Value Home Exterior Projects: Windows

Learn how your home's windows can up its efficiency (and lower your bills!) as well as add to its selling value.

Today's windows are designed to blend technology and style so you can bring out your home's unique architectural features as well as reduce your monthly utility costs. Windows are a smart way to update a home’s exterior no matter how old or new the home might be.

CURRENT TREND

  • Energy efficiency. Whether you live in a historical or modern day abode, installing windows that are specifically created as low-E, or energy efficient, will immediately update the look of your home as well as increase home value by cutting heating and air conditioning costs. The payback period for energy efficient units ranges from two years to 10 years-- not bad when you realize how much money is literally flying out your outdated windows each month.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

According to appraisal expert Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, proportion is key in determining the size of your windows. When replacing windows to update a space or adding windows as part of a remodel or new addition, consider overall square footage, ceiling height and architectural style.

“The biggest mistake,” says Sellers, "is going with that knee-jerk reaction to get the biggest and best thing out there because people think it will bring back the biggest return when it comes time to sell.”

Understand where you are in the market, and choose a window replacement or addition that maximizes your home value and gives you the best return on investment. If you spend more than you really need to, you end up losing money.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: Vinyl windows are the most popular replacement windows and are available in various prices, styles and energy efficiency ratings. Made of sturdy, impact-resistant PVC, these windows absorb heat very well and prevent condensation from forming that can harm your home. Color selection is limited, but if you are content with simple clean lines and style, then vinyl windows are great options.
  • Mid-Range: Fiberglass windows are considered an upgrade from vinyl. They are more durable, energy efficient and easier to maintain. Because they are more expensive, it will take longer for the initial cost to pay for itself. But if you're a homeowner who desires quality and efficiency, fiberglass windows are well worth the investment, especially if you plan to stay in the home for several years.
  • High-End: Wood frame windows are featured in historical homes and are not as easy to maintain as vinyl and fiberglass windows, but if you prefer the original and timeless appeal of wood frames, you may be willing to spend more to get the look you want. Wood is an excellent insulator, so energy efficiency comes naturally with this material. Remember that yearly maintenance is required to keep the wood frames in top shape.
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