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List of Top Ten Best Home Improvement Projects

When you’re a homeowner, you know… you’re just never done. From simply updating décor to larger projects like additions, you’re always doing something to update or beautify your home. But, when finances are tight (like they are for everyone right now), you want your home improvement projects to not just beautify your home, you want to eventually get the best return on the investment. Even if you’re nowhere near thinking about selling your home, it’s not a bad idea to keep the option in mind when choosing your home improvement projects. In simple terms, your upgrades and fixes should work best for you.

We all know out of pocket money is hard to handle. So, our top ten list goes from least expensive to most so you can skim or read – depending on what you want to do to your home and your financial situation. Here are the top 10 home improvements you can make that will not only have the biggest impact but will help increase your home’s value.

  1. Simple Paint Jobs

If you’re looking for a super cost-effective way to still make a statement, for very little money and some elbow grease, painting both the outside and the inside of your home can really make a difference. It can make an older room look new and may save you from the much more costly new siding choice. Go ahead and give a room a nice pop of color on an accent wall that you want to stand out. Painting just the one wall may be all you need, but it can also give you the visual you need to see if you want the whole room that color. If you’re not the adventurous type, a slightly paler version or just a little darker version of what you already have on another wall will have the desired effect without being too out there.

2. Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a real thing and there’s something to be said for coming home to an inviting outdoor area! Trimming bushes and hedges as well as cutting back and pruning trees may take some time and effort, but it’s free! You can also make your outdoor areas look prettier with brightly colored potted plants that can be easy to take care of, trimming bushes and trees and cleaning up clutter will help with pests!

3. Change Hardware

Hardware on doors, cabinets, and drawers can seem simple and not really enough to make a difference, but you would be surprised by the choices that are out there now! Glass, metal, even different colors of hardware can all make a statement. A screwdriver or screw gun and a little time and you can make simple changes will really make a difference. A local handyman is also pretty cost effective. Just make sure you get one that is licensed. Get all the same or choose different ones per room! A little creativity goes a long way.

4. New Garage Door

An old, rusty, hard to open garage door is not only a pain in the back, but it will also hurt your curb appeal. A new garage door isn’t all that expensive and can make your home look way more inviting – and it’s a good time to see what’s new out there. You don’t have to settle for some white paneled garage door anymore. Want an even more cost-effective way? Scrape and paint your current garage door a fun color!

5. Kitchen Enhancements

The kitchen is arguably the heart of the home. It’s where everyone ends up hanging out when you have people over and besides the bathroom (which is also a great investment when upgraded), it’s the most used room in the house. It may sound like a lot of money to put out, but new appliances can be a game changer and will refresh even the oldest of kitchens. Moderate kitchen remodels have a national average ROI between 52.5% and 71.2%. So, you could see more favorable returns for replacing outdated countertops and cabinet fronts than a whole new set of cabinets or completely rearranging your kitchen layout.

6. Bathroom Upgrades

Like kitchens, bathrooms are important parts of any home. Also like kitchens, don’t spend more than you need! Not everyone needs a separate claw foot tub, or an infinity shower and those large expenses may be current trends that may not be worth the money in the long run. But new tile? Pretty inexpensive and can make quite an impact.

7. Replace Your Windows

Drafty rooms and difficult to open, old, inefficient windows can not only cause a shiver to run down your spine but will make your heating and cooling systems work overtime – making your energy bills go up. In addition, new windows can have a return on investment of as much as 75%! So, upgrade the look of your home with new windows, save on energy bills, and get a great return on your investment. Win, win, WIN!

8. Update Your Flooring

Carpet is nice and more cost effective, but hardwood is where it’s at. Real hardwood can be expensive, but the change it will make to any room can be dramatic. You can add area rugs if you want a warmer spot to walk, but leaving hardwood uncovered is just as beautiful (if not more so). Quality carpet can last 10-15 years, but good hardwood can last the lifetime of the home. Either way you decide to go, new flooring can do wonders at your home.

9. Upgrade Your Insulation

According to Remodeling Magazine insulation came in atop the list of home improvements with the biggest bang for your buck with a whopping 117% ROI. That means it more than pays for itself in terms of added value to your home. But, in the meantime, new insulation will lower your energy bills! The right insulation will also help with noise reduction and even freshen the air you and your family are breathing. Bonus points if you choose an insulation that is also treated to deter pests! So, while it may not be super pretty, it’s worth it!

10. A New Roof

Of course, this is the most expensive one! So, think carefully about it. If your roof is older – usually more than 10-15 years old – you could be risking leaks that can cause costly damage including ruining drywall and causing mold and mildew to grow. The longer you wait to replace an older roof, the worse that damage can get, too. All these issues will not only make your home less comfortable to live in, but the cost to fix will be larger and larger the longer you wait to address. Check with a trusted source before spending the money on this one. Should you find you need a new roof, the benefits you get along with the return should be worth the pain of the money output. And good to note: the ROI can vary depending on your situation. While some new roofs will give you a 49% return on investment, choosing the wrong shingle (translation: a super expensive one!) will mean you’ll definitely spend more on the roof than you’ll get back in the long run. Choose wisely!

When you need or just want to refresh your home – no matter the reason – being smart about your choices will not only save you money but will increase the value of your home. So, whether you make some small, inexpensive changes inside or out, or go for a full overhaul, choose wisely. Just don’t forget to water the potted plants.

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