For many homeowners, home improvements just happen. They happen when something breaks, when guests are coming and the worn carpet is embarrassing, or perhaps when you just want to freshen your home and your attitude with a new coat of paint.

To make the best use of your money and the wisest investments for your home, why not become more intentional about home improvements in 2011?

The Equifax Personal Finance Blog is your first stop for making your plans.

Real estate expert Ilyce Glink recently posted an article entitled, “

How to Plan for Next Year’s Home Improvement Projects.” Her first recommendation is to make a wish list of the projects you would like to complete in 2011, then prioritize them according to what you would most like to do.

Unfortunately, you don’t just make a wish list and start working. You’ve got to consider costs, too. Glink recommends estimating the amount of money you’ll have available for home improvement projects in 2011, then developing a budget for each of the items on your list. She points out that many projects can be scaled back if money is tight.

If the number one item on your list is expensive and you realize you can accomplish numbers two, three and four for approximately the same cost, you may decide to skip or postpone the project you once felt was more important. Or, you may decide number one really is valuable enough to take your entire budget and put the others off for another time. Either way, you’ve been intentional about the money you’re spending and the work you’re doing on your home, so you’re less likely to have regrets.

One very important point Glink makes: if you’re planning to sell your home in 2011, invest only in projects that will add value to your home. If you need help determining which projects those are, you may want to go ahead and start talking with a real estate agent with experience in your neighborhood and your price point.

We would love to hear what projects you’re planning for your home in 2011. Is this the year to undertake your dream project, or are you maintaining for now? Visit the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog to see more of Glink’s suggestions for your home, then report back here to let us know what you’ve decided.

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