Most people who remodel their home choose to focus their efforts on the kitchen and bath. That’s where they’re able to recoup most of their investment when the home is sold.

Make the right home improvements

Adding new wallpaper, paint and cabinet hardware can make a big difference in your rooms’ appearance. According to Remodeling magazine*, remodeling a kitchen can run anywhere from $21,000 for a minor upgrade to over $55,000 for a major enhancement. Remodeling a bathroom is estimated at about $50,000.

Installing a new HVAC system to replace your older, less-efficient model not only makes your home more comfortable, it can dramatically reduce your energy bills for years to come. You can install most new systems for a few thousand dollars and control heating, cooling, humidity and clean air from a single wall panel.

Spend and save

On larger projects, you may hire a general contractor to schedule, source and oversee subcontractors. If the job requires only one or two subcontractors, you can save money by acting as your own general contractor but you’ll be responsible for making good on any work that doesn’t meet code. Cleaning and getting rid of clutter, though, is an excellent choice for putting in elbow grease. Start here before attacking projects that require an outlay of cash.

When ordering fragile materials such as tile, many professionals recommend ordering 10–20% extra to allow for any breakage. If you’re shopping online, weigh the shipping charges to determine if you’d better off buying locally.

While you’re making home improvements, consider expanding your reach: While you’re living in a construction zone, have smaller projects completed, too. Adding a programmable thermostat is a low-cost way to reduce your energy bills, even without installing a new furnace.

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