Remodeling projects can be intimidating for many homeowners. These undertakings can cost a lot of money, and an unforeseen surprise could lead to a number of complications that get in the way of the finished product.

Therefore, homeowners should consult a home inspection professional prior to starting any major renovation. This way, they'll have a total understanding about the state of their properties and where any roadblocks could pop up. It may also be beneficial to figure out which projects have the biggest return on investment, in order to plan ahead and pick the most efficient upgrades.

Remodeling value back on the rise

According to Hanley Wood's 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, the value of remodeling as a whole is on the rise after several years of decline. This annual report covers 35 different home improvements, and highlights which ones make for the smartest financial investments.

At the top of the list for the biggest improvements to value were the back-up power generator, attic bedroom, deck addition and entry door replacement, Hanley Wood explained. Of note was the fact that several expensive options had a substantial return on investment, such as a bedroom or basement remodel. These both experienced a fair increase from 2013 to 2014. In addition, replacement projects were also found to be extremely cost-effective when compared to more expensive remodels. A steel entry door took the top spot there, as it has since the report began in 2009.

Severe weather contributes to changing trends

The popularity of many improvement projects shifts depending on outside factors, such as the weather. For example, the back-up power generator had the most value in Hanley Wood's recent report, and this may be because of homeowners' concerns over unpredictable weather.

Thankfully, there are a number of steps one could take to safely prepare a home for strong weather events. According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, homeowners should make sure a home is winterized before the storm strikes. This could include adding insulation in the walls and attic, caulking doors and windows and putting in weather stripping where needed.

In addition, frozen pipes are a big problem in cold weather. FEMA noted that these can be insulated as well, using old newspapers or custom-made insulation. Running the water at a drip will also help, and this can be done during particularly cold nights or when the residents are gone. 

Most importantly, a home inspection could provide valuable insight into a home surrounding severe weather. A professional can point out problem areas, or offer crucial tips on how to upgrade the property.