Written by Ed Condran
Conventional wisdom says renovating your kitchen always improves your home’s value, but what if your budget is more like $1,000 rather than $27,000, which is the national average kitchen renovation cost.
Don’t despair! These modestly-priced changes can transform your house from out-of-date to fresh-faced.
Repaint in neutrals. “I would repaint at least two rooms, especially if you’re thinking about selling your house,” Boston-based Prudential Unlimited Realtor Melony Swasey said. “It’s a wild market here in Boston. Many people looking here are shopping by photos and you need to have 'clickability'. Adding a fresh coat of paint can help your house pop and look crisp. Put up a nice gray palette and all of a sudden it’s a different place.” A gallon of paint ($25) is worth $500 in terms of what it does for a space. The key to saving here? DIY.
Insulate your home. Keep the heat inside and the dollars in your pocket by insulating your home. “A lot of people forget about or ignore insulation,” Atlanta-based contractor Tom Semelsberger said. “It’s an inexpensive way to save a lot of money that you’ll see early and it’s something that will pay in the long term. Buy some weather stripping and get to work.”
You also can reduce future energy bills by 40 percent with proper insulation.
Go contemporary. “Replace the vanity or the medicine cabinet by going to a reasonably priced reliable store,” San Francisco-based realtor Ilonka Edwards at McGuire Real Estate said. “It’s a good idea to go the contemporary route even if you live in a traditional, older home."
Choose knobs, not appliances. “Don’t put an expensive new stove in a kitchen,” Chicago-based contractor Ken Baker said. “Put on new knobs on cabinets and drawers. If you change all of those and spend some money on say a kitchen backsplash, you’ll spice up your house and spend little money. You just have to spend wisely. If you buy knobs, they’re only about $7 each. Just buy enough for every cabinet because sometimes styles are discontinued.”
TELL US: What little changes have you made to your home that have maximum impact? How have you added value for under $1,000?
About this series: As part of our Smart Spending reporting, Patch is profiling people across the country who have found creative ways to save money. If you're a smart spender, we want to hear from you! Share your story here.