home remodeling

Surprise – these home improvement projects stretch your dollar farthest

Bethany Ramos Contractors, DIY, Home Improvement, Homeowners

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It’s no secret that fixing up your home could help improve its value. But here’s the real question: Which home remodeling projects have the biggest impact? And more importantly, which ones can you afford to take on?

The right reno returns your investment: 8 low-cost DIYs with high-ROI

Today’s homeowners are on a “home improvement spending spree.” It makes sense. Because of more time spent at home during the pandemic — and more use of homes, resulting in more wear and tear — homeowners have been knocking out around 11 projects on average, adding up to $13,138 per project-completing household.

Moving is one way to get your dream home. But if you already own and aren’t in the market to sell, making strategic upgrades can change the quality of the house you’re living in, while potentially increasing your investment.

These low-cost DIY jobs can take your dollar the furthest. Even better, you could tackle many of them in a weekend:

1. Paint the exterior of your home with multiple colors.

It might be about time to spruce up your home’s exterior, so this DIY should be a routine cost rather than a special expense. This is an opportunity to improve the outside of your home and even your neighborhood. The idea is to switch from a one-colored house to a two- or even three-color exterior. Doing this has a significantly greater effect than simply changing the color.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • To achieve a multi-colored home, paint the siding in the first color, the corner boards and soffits in the second color, and the window frames in the third color.
  • Don’t rely on your color sensibilities. Go with tried-and-true schemes. Mix and match from pro-picked exterior paint colors that include neutrals, soft golds, dark and light blues, and grays.
  • Also, check out professionally prepared color schemes in pictures or model homes to get more options.

2. Purchase or make a repurposed kitchen island.

Now, it’s on-trend to upcycle all types of furniture, like dressers, bookshelves, dining buffets, and utility carts, and transform them into kitchen islands. The trick to a successful island? Make it both practical and natural-looking. Include caster wheels if you need mobility. Incorporate a favorite repurposed surface — butcher block tabletop — for functionality.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • Scour flea markets, thrift stores, and antique shops for an attractive base.
  • Visit a lumber store for a countertop. A 4-foot natural butcher block kitchen countertop runs around $170 at a big box lumber store.
  • Look for freebies. It’s hard to put a price on old furniture. Many times, you can get it for hauling it away.

3. Put in faux plank flooring made of vinyl.

As a DIY project, this one takes only a few hours, and the result is impressive. If you plan to sell in the future, consider that 83 percent of buyers want “cleaner” hardwood floors, and budget-friendly vinyl comes close. Faux vinyl pieces are considerably cheaper than wood (due in part to current shortages), and they’re also sold in boxes small enough to haul in your car.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • You don’t need to rip out the floor, just install on top of the existing flooring.
  • You will have to remove the baseboards and reinstall at the end of the job.
  • Start laying out the pieces in the middle of the room and work out to the edges to create something as close to symmetrical as possible.

4. Replace your bathroom vanity with granite or marble.

A new vanity surface can make a big difference. You can find a pretty good selection at most big box lumber stores. The prices range from $150 to over $1,000 for a double basin granite sink vanity top. Your vanity top should come with a sink basin attached to the bottom side and have three drilled sinkholes. To put it in, you’ll need a hammer, a level, a caulking gun, nails, and silicone adhesive.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • Install the plumbing into the three holes before you place the new top on the vanity.
  • Glue the top to the vanity with adhesive in the caulking gun.
  • Check to make sure it’s all level once it’s set up.

Let’s be friends. Follow us on Instagram for decorating tips and more home reno hacks.

5. Restore the front entrance door.

An older home often has a beautiful front entry door that’s lost to years of use and layers of paint. And wear and tear can cover up some nice millwork. Once restored and refinished, an entrance door can boost a home’s curb appeal right away. The cost can run around $50.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • You have one of two options. Strip the paint and stain the door with a wood look you like, and then put a finish on it. The second option is to repaint the door.
  • A popular color that “pops” for entry doors today is red. Red, gray, and blue are among the most-Googled front door colors.
  • The brass work can be cleaned up or replaced. You’d be surprised what a contrast something as small as polished brass door hardware can make.

6. Swap out your kitchen cabinet doors.

Rather than gut your kitchen and rebuild it from scratch, remove the cabinet doors and replace them instead. The fun part is the surprisingly low expense. And since the cabinet door face is the most visible part of the cabinetry, the effect is immediate. The cost may run you about $75 a cabinet.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • The lumber yard has an exciting variety of cabinet door replacements to choose from.
  • Browse their selection, and you can quickly see how it will radically flip the look of your kitchen.
  • The job requires a screwdriver and a power drill and bit; if you have a screwdriver bit for the power drill, this DIY goes faster.

7. Take out a door.

Open floor plans are popular. But you can update your home without tearing down walls. While many older homes were built when people liked the privacy of closed doors, today people want a more casual space. By removing doors that separate rooms, you can achieve an easier flow. The bigger the door opening, the better. The cost should run less than $50.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • If you have double doors that separate rooms, the potential success is greater than a single door, but a single door removed can make a difference too.
  • The door hinges leave scars, but you can fill in the scars with wood filler or replace the door jamb.
  • Replace the jamb with the same type of wood, and finish or paint.

8. Upgrade your window or door casing.

In most instances, windows are framed by casings, a stool, and an apron, and you can buy matching replacement pieces at a lumber store. Doors, by contrast, go down to the floor sash, and you may be able to just upgrade the casings. Check your door before you begin. This DIY is inexpensive and impactful — running around $75 a window, up to $170 for a door.

Here’s how to nail it:

  • You can buy upgraded parts at a home lumber store to replace each piece.
  • Add a crown molding on top to really revamp your interior.
  • The project requires a hammer, small punch, finishing nails, power drill with bit, utility knife, and pry bar.

Is there money hidden in your house?

If you haven’t looked at your home equity lately, it’s overdue for a check-in. Home equity is up 19.6 percent, which means millions of homeowners are sitting on much more cash than they estimated.* You could refinance and use this extra cash to cover large renovations, wedding and college expenses, debt consolidation, healthcare, vacations, and more. Find out if you can benefit.

*“Homeowner Equity Insights,” CoreLogic, Q1 2021.

While refinancing could make a significant difference in the amount you pay each month, there are other costs you should consider. Plus, your finance charges may be higher over the life of the loan.

For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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