Home renovation projects that will add the most value to your home (meaning that you are most likely to recoup the highest percentage of the project cost when you go to sell your home) are pricey big-ticket items such as replacing siding with fiber-cement ($13,177 with 87% cost recouped) or vinyl ($12,528 with 80% cost recouped) and adding a wood deck ($10,601 with 82% cost recouped
But if those home renovations are beyond your price point and you're looking at a budget of just $1,000 what should you invest in to get the most bang for your buck?
Priority #1 – The Kitchen
According to the National Association of Realtors, the kitchen is the single most important room for most prospective home buyers. If you don't have the funds to do a complete kitchen overhaul, don't despair. You can make some significant changes that will have home buyers doing a double-take, such as:
Refacing or refinishing your cabinets. Refacing involves replacing your cabinet doors but leaving the actual cabinets (boxes) intact. Depending on the size of your kitchen you can get it done or if you're willing to undertake a little "DIY" work you can do it.It's a quick and much less expensive way of getting "new" cabinets without the big demolition work (and big pricetag) of brand new cabinets.
If you have wood cabinets you could refinish them instead by simply stripping the old paint or varnish and applying new. For just a couple hundred dollars (plus some elbow grease to sand and paint or stain) you'll get a whole new look.
Changing out the countertops. Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may be able to swing new granite countertops with a $1,000 budget (you can find them as low as $40 per square foot on sale or at an outlet). For larger kitchens consider other, less costly options like stainless steel or solid surfacing products like Corian®. Use Dupont's online Corian Kitchen Countertop Installed Price Estimator to get an idea of how much it would cost you to have the product professionally installed.
Painting the room. With a gallon of paint covering approximately 350 square feet and running an average of $25, if you throw in the cost of brushes, tape, primer, etc. it could cost you as little as $75 to repaint a kitchen with 700 square feet of wall space.
Upgrading appliances. Switching to energy-efficient Energy Star appliances will not only improve your kitchen's appearance, it will also save you (and future owners) money on your monthly utility bills and you can have a tax credit max of $1500 for 2010 taxes.
Updating accessories. Small changes like replacing outlet covers, cabinet knobs and drawer pulls can give your kitchen an entirely different look and feel. When you consider that the average kitchen can be upgraded with new accessories for as little as $150 (according to the DIY Network), it's a no-brainer for your small remodeling budget.