Best Remodeling Bang For Your Buck

When it comes to remodeling and upgrade projects around the house, there are endless possibilities. So, how do you decide where to start and where to put your precious dollars? Let's take a look at the places where $10,000 can go the farthest.

If you are planning to sell your home soon:

You are planning to sell your house in the next 1-24 months and you have a budget of $10,000 for upgrades. What will get you the most return on your investment?  Sadly, in the world of renovation $10,000,00 does not go very far – so you need to spend it wisely.

It's important to remember that there is not always a direct relation between exactly how much you put into a specific renovation project and exactly how much you get out of it.  Charts describing the Cost versus Return on common home renovation projects can be found in many magazines and on the Internet, so give them a peek. If you review the improvements item-by-item, you'll come to the conclusion that undertaking almost any home improvement prior to the sale of your home is a losing proposition.

Individually, item-by-item, renovations don't add up to much of a value adding proposition. But, when you put them all together with vision and little creativity, you create an overall house improvement and a big return on your investment! The whole package is far more valuable than the sum of its parts!

Your Top 5 Target Projects:

1. Kitchen. $10,000 is not going to get you a full kitchen makeover and still leave you enough to make many other upgrades.   So think about upgrading the tired old appliances. And often cabinet resurfacing can be very affordable.  Even upgrading the countertops gives a big splash.  But a word of caution – make sure you don't over spend for your neighborhood.  Know your market.

2. Master Bath. Again, here in the master bath, $10,000 will not go very far, but you can create a wow effect.  With that amount of dough, consider upgrading the shower to a frameless glass shower enclosure, adding new fixtures, and maybe a new vanity and countertops.

3. Paint. On the interior, repaint and keep it neural with soft earth tones. Then, make sure you pick up some fantastic pillows and accessories to add punches of color.

4. New Carpet. No homebuyer wants to walk barefooted across your tired, old, stained, dirty, worn-out carpet. Replace the existing carpet and go with a neutral shade!

5. Curb Appeal. This is a low cost no- brainer. Trim up the hedges, green up the grass, plant some flowers, and  give the front door a fresh coat of paint in a wonderful accent color, add shiny new house numbers and maybe even a new mail box.   And finally add in some wonderful outdoor lighting, and presto! People will be stopping in front to marvel at your home's beauty.

Bonus Target: Push in Inside Out – This is my secret weapon.  If there is an existing room that looks out to the backyard.,.push it out!  Replace the existing windows with some French doors, build a small deck – and viola  – you have just increased the "size" of that room. And added value to the house with very little of your budget!

If you are planning to stay in your house
If selling isn't in the cards for you and your family, you can still think about all of the tips above. It will be like living in a new house, even though you're staying put! I suggest thinking about long term payback with these two projects:

1. Heating and Air System Upgrades. Things that will actually reduce your monthly utility bills over time and are a great investment.

2. Going Solar. In the sunnier climates, investing in a lease on Solar is a great new way to not only increase the value of your home, but also reduce your monthly and yearly costs.

There are a million options when it comes to home renovation, but these are my tried and true upgrades that always pack a big bang for the buck. If you've embarked on a great home renovation project that was affordable, but made a big impact, let me know in the comments!

This article originally appeared on Trulia.com

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