Make the Most of DIY Home Improvements

This year, the DIY home improvement trend continues to expand. Nearly 75 percent of homeowners plan to work on their houses this spring.

With new confidence in the housing market, people are less likely to make the minor repairs — including painting, fixing faucets, and cleaning up the yard — that encourage sales. Instead, the primary motivation for DIY home improvement projects, this year as last, is personal style.

Whether you’re fixing up your house with an eye to selling it or sprucing up your new or existing home to suit yourself, it pays to keep an eye on the bottom line. A homeowner can expect to recoup, on average, two-thirds of the cost of a home improvement project.

But some improvements see better returns than others. Here’s a brief overview of how to get the most return on your investment on a DIY home improvement project.

Do the smaller kitchen renovation

Kitchens are one of the most popular rooms to renovate, and for good reason. People spend much of their time at home there. Kitchen renovations improve a home’s value.

To get the most return on your investment, though, stick to a minor renovation, which can bring an estimated 82 percent return. A major kitchen renovation will recoup, on average, 74 percent of its cost as reflected in the sale of the house.

Also, consider the kitchen renovation in the context of the rest of the house. Upscale appliances and expensive surface materials will give you a sparkling kitchen. But if the renovation produces a kitchen that outclasses the rest of the house, you won’t see the same return on your investment as you would with an improvement that’s more in keeping with the overall style of your home.

Finally, keep in mind that replacing old appliances with new ones can bring energy savings. New, energy-efficient appliances pay for themselves in a year or two of use. After that, you continue to save money on every utility bill.

Replace the front door

Renovating the front entrance adds immediate value to the house. It improves what’s known as “curb appeal,” which is the first impression your house makes from the street.

Replacing the front door with a secure entry door will return you almost a hundred percent of your investment in resale value. Consider a steel door, which is a trending style in home security. There are many traditional designs as well as minimal and modern you can consider.

Renovate the basement

Adding usable square footage to a house increases its value. Consider finishing the basement. A basement renovation will recoup two-thirds of its cost.

The work doesn’t have to be extensive. Cleaning up an unfinished basement, adding shelves, and creating a workshop area is enough to make the basement user-friendly. Having a workshop there will impress home buyers with the potential of the space for a work room.

Homeowners renovating their houses this spring will have lots of company. A good realtor will remind you that some improvements are better investments than others.

Anna Johansson
Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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