Very few people today have the loose cash or great credit available to fund a big home remodeling job, so more modest projects, such as replacing front door or windows, upgrading siding are more in line and will deliver bigger results, especially if you are selling your home.
Compared to a complete remodel, standard replacement projects can cost less and will produce a better overall return on investment. In 2013, many such homeowners are recouping up to 70% of the cost of smaller-scale remodeling/replacement projects prior to the home sale. Other core remodeling projects, like additions, are recouping about 60% on average.
We have researched and listed nine home-improvement projects below that will give you the greatest ROI – all for about $1,000 or less. Keep in mind that the majority of the prices quoted here are national averages. Your actual cost can vary based on the overall scope of the work, the quality and cost of the materials used and the experience/cost of your contractor.
Installing weather stripping to your exterior doorways and caulking your windows makes your home more energy-efficient by sealing out major sources of air leaks. This cuts down your heating bills in winter and also your cooling bills during the summer months.
Many homeowners or DIY'ers can handle a standard caulking job, which will run you about $50 including materials. You need a caulk gun and about 12 caulk cartridges, (case). If you are not a handy man, you can always hire someone to do the work for about $150, on average, which should include all materials and labor.
Applying weather stripping to an exterior door's threshold will cost around $65; if you do it yourself, or hire a professional who can do it for around $100 per door.
Adding under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen illuminates work your prep surfaces a huge turn on for buyers. This project is a little more involved because of the wiring involved to connect multiple fixtures, so you may want to hire a pro for this project. The average cost for a professional electrician to install three 14-inch surface-mounted lighting fixtures that plug into an existing receptacle is about $145. A qualified pro can easily handle this minor project, because no hard wiring is necessary inside the walls. The cost and complexity is higher if a receptacle is required.
A full-scale kitchen remodel/renovation averages about $50,000. You can make some small improvements to revive your kitchen.
Updating the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers is cost-effective and doesn't require a professional to come in to do the work.
Swapping out the outdated hardware will give your cabinets an instant facelift. Depending on the finish you chose it will cost about $5 to $10 per handle.
Crown molding is an inexpensive way to enhance a living room without a lavish cost. Hire a professional carpenter to install crown molding where the walls meet the ceiling. A 12-by-20-foot room costs about $350. That's the national average for 70 linear feet of installed finger-joint pine crown molding. Adding chair rail molding attached to walls at the height of a chair back also gives the room a nice finished look.
We also suggest painting the walls a different shade above and below the chair-rail molding to make the room remarkable.
Chair rail molding and crown molding is a very nice upgrade, but if your remodeling budget is fixed, utilize your resources on the kitchen and bathrooms first.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are by far the most popular tiles to use as a backsplash. Fact is; ceramic tile costs less. At leading home centers, you can buy ceramic tile for as little as $1.12 per square foot. Porcelain tile starts at $3.65 per square foot.
The cost to hire a professional tile contractor to install a 10-foot-long, 12-inch-high ceramic tile backsplash is about $390. That includes around six hours worth of labor and materials such as the tiles, moisture-resistant adhesive and the grout. A skilled homeowner should be able to complete the project themselves for less money, while a professional will produce a better job.
If you have a small home with about five to eight front windows without shutters, consider adding some to improve the curb appeal. On a $1,000 budget, you'll likely only be able to afford vinyl shutters, which start at $21 per pair at local home centers; wooden shutters start at $46 per pair. You'll spend the remainder of your $1,000 budget having a professional install them, or save by doing them yourself.
If you already have exterior shutters, apply a fresh coat of paint to give them a new look. The cost of hiring a painter to update exterior shutters varies by geographical location, but it should be less than $1,000, depending on the quality of the paint and other materials used, such as primer. The average cost of painting 16 shutters for eight windows on the East coast starts around $600.00. On the west coast it's a bit higher averaging around $650.00.
Consider swapping the existing fixtures in your bathrooms; items include the toilet, faucets and shower head, sink and counter tops.
Get an updated look and feel in your bathrooms and also save money on your water bill. Replacing an old toilet with an efficient model, for example, can save the average family about $110 a year on your water bill.
At local home centers you can buy a WaterSense-rated, two-piece toilet for as little as $140. A high-efficiency faucet for the sink starts around $32.00, and a tub faucet and shower-head combo starts at $50.00.
Hiring a licensed plumber to replace your old toilet with a new one will cost $460.00, on average. Changing a single-control faucet on a bathroom sink costs around $250, and replacing a shower head costs $155. Having all three installed at the same time adds as much as $875.
Professional home-stagers recommend painting the interior a neutral color, such as taupe, beige or cream to make spaces feel larger. A whole-house paint job is expensive. On average, a homeowner will spend $2,000 to $3,000 to paint the entire interior of a house.
It is best to focus on the high visibility areas in your home such as the front door/entry area, kitchen, bathrooms and living room/family room.
Painting is another project that many homeowners can complete themselves to lower project costs. Remember to factor in all required items such as paint, primer, painters' tape, brushes and rollers when setting up your budget. Costs can vary; a gallon of Behr paint can cost considerably times less than a gallon of Benjamin Moore. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Homeowners receive the highest payback from this renovation project when they sell their home. By replacing your front door with a new insulated steel door results in a nearly an 86% return on the investment. That is, by far the best ROI for any project in this newsletter. The average cost for a replacement insulated steel entry door is roughly $1,145.00, slightly above our target budget, but you are likely to make back most of that expenditure when you sell your home.
The one home improvement project with the lowest return at resale is a home-office remodel, which returns less than 44% of the original outlay.