Let's face it: money is tight today. If you're looking to get the most bang for your home improvement dollar, think about making improvements that make your home more livable today and valuable if you plan to put it on the market when times improve.
If you have the budget or access to a reasonable loan, then a major project, such as window or siding replacement can bring lasting value. New fiber-cement or vinyl siding can bring as much as an 87 percent return. Replacing windows with energy efficient wood or vinyl sets can bring nearly an 80 percent return.
Major bathroom and kitchen remodeling efforts also can bring a strong return, but less so than siding and windows. Adding an outdoor wooden deck can boost home value by as much as $24,000 and bring in a sizable return on the cost of installing it. Mid-scale Improvements that Work
Minor kitchen remodeling projects put an incremental burden on your budget, but still increase home value and utility. Perhaps you want to add kitchen counter laminate or fresh paint.
Minor kitchen remodels can net an 80 percent return on your investment-higher than a complete remodeling project can bring. Or, consider remodeling an unfinished basement, a project that can bring more than 70 percent returns on your outlay.
Your region can also play a large part in determining ROI. For example, minor kitchen remodeling projects brought great returns in the West, while the ROI winner in the South was fiber-cement siding. In the Midwest, homeowners fared best with minor kitchen and major bathroom remodeling projects.
Remember to get plenty of quotes from different contractors and see which ones offer the best discounts on materials.