How to Spend $5,000

On our Building/Maintaining a Home discussion board recently, Californian writer Meowmixx asked: "If you had $5,000 to spend on your house, what would you do (more like things you would want to do, rather than things that you have to do)? My grandfather recently passed away and left us with some money and I'd like to use it to increase the value on our modest home. Any suggestions?"

There were lots of responses and suggestions. Here are some examples:

WotPeed suggested: "60" Plasma TV."

Mlk58 opined: "I'd get new interior doors and have the whole inside of the house painted."

SteveNieters offered: "If I didn't already own them, I'd go shopping for a good table saw with extension table, a good planer, a router with table, a dust control system, etc. Once you have these things, you can do a lot around the house."

NMckay said: "Buy quality furniture. You can take it with you when you sell your house."

Millerpim said: ".do the kitchen. It's generally the most expensive room to remodel and, if you [do it yourself], it can be done for around $5,000. (Long as you don't want marble floors, ha, ha.) Buy new cabinets, new light fixtures, new counters, sink, faucet, new appliances, new floor and painting. It will return the most bang for your buck."

Perhaps the best advice came from Goofyhoofy, who noted: "I hate it when people don't answer the question asked, but I'm going to do it here. Don't try to 'increase the value of your modest home.' Do try to make your home more comfortable for yourselves and repair or remodel those things which make you unhappy. If you are not planning on staying in the home for very long, then put the money in the bank, or in the market, or under the mattress, and wait and use it to help with the down payment for the next home, or to fix the next home to your liking. [Here's some guidance on how to invest short-term money, plus some special interest rates.]"

He continued: "Making improvements just to 'increase the value' is occasionally worthwhile, but not usually. I have never seen a list which says 'You can get back 120% of your investment by putting granite counters in the kitchen.' Indeed, I have never seen a generic statement of anything which returns more than 100%." Right on, Goofyhoofy. Many improvements may return 60% or 80% of what you spend, but ultimately, you're losing some money -- or are exchanging it for increased satisfaction with your home.

Some final suggestions included landscaping, building a sunroom, installing high-quality insulating windows to save on climate-control costs, putting the money aside as an emergency fund, and using it to invest in the stock of Warren Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B  ) .

Share your own suggestions on our Building/Maintaining a Home discussion board -- or just see what others are saying there, about all kinds of home-related topics.

And drop by our Home Center for tips on buying and selling homes and dealing with mortgages.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares ofBerkshireHathaway.


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