One of the most important, and often costly, investments comes when home owners decide it’s time to renovate. While many home improvement projects such as painting can be done by the property owner, other projects are either too time consuming or complicated for the average person.

When it comes time to hire a contractor, Michael Channell, owner of Michael’s Custom Construction, has advice for homeowners.

“Never hire the first contractor you speak with, even if it’s me,” he said. “Always meet face-to-face before deciding.”

Channell said checking the reviews will help consumers narrow their choices for a contractor, and stated the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best one for property owners.

He recommends quality materials for home renovation projects because they last longer, look better and add to a home’s value.

People typically want to know how soon work can begin, the quality of materials and how much money they can save.

Much of Channell’s home renovation work is new floors, with tile and vinyl plank among the most popular choices. Energy-efficient windows and doors, air conditioners and water heaters are also good investments that will save on energy costs, he said.

Realtor Melinda Lively Laager, with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, said home owners need to consider the return on their investment when they plan a home improvement project.

She said vinyl plank flooring is especially popular among home owners who want a great look that is also durable.

Vinyl plank looks like wood,” she said. “You would be amazed at the number of people who are using this. It’s popular because of its durability.

Darker wood tones are also popular in flooring improvements, she said.

Laager said minor kitchen remodels are among the wiser investments. Home owners typicality see an 80.5 percent return on their investment, she said.

On the other hand, a major kitchen remodel including custom wood cabinets, stone countertops and energy-efficient appliances could cost as much as $66,000 with only a 62 percent return upon resale, she said.

A patio addition, where families can grill, dine and entertain, is another good way to invest in a home improvement project.

It is also an investment that gives home owners a lot of satisfaction. A survey shows 81 percent of people with a patio or deck have a greater desire to be home.

While an in-ground pool is appealing to many, it does bring less of a return on investment. An 18-foot by 36-foot swimming pool costs more than $57,000, with a 42 percent return on resale.

Also a master suite upgrade, with a median cost of $125,000 can expect a return of 52 percent.

Adding closet space is also a renovation that will make it easier to sell a home in the future, Channell said. But a lot of it has to do with the layout of a house, he said. It’s also possible a wall will have to be knocked out to add closet space, but it is more difficult to sell a house that has a severe lack of closet space.

“I believe closet space is important,” he said. “A lot of people are paying attention.”