High-Impact Home Improvement Projects — You Can Do for $10K or Less

You don’t have to spend a lot to make these valuable home improvements.

With so much emphasis on buying and selling homes — the truth is that for most of your life as a real estate consumer, you’ll be a homeowner. And because your home is so much more than a transaction, spending some portion of your time, energy, and money improving your home makes sense.

Many homeowners wait until saving up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity to make a major change to their home. And that means they almost never do the project, or do it only when it’s time to sell. If you’re planning to stay put in your home for a while, home improvement projects will drive even more return on your home investment.

1. Crank up the curb appeal

The front house of 1307-1309 Palms Blvd in Venice has curb appeal galore. The landscaping, which is reminiscent of an english flower garden, and the pop of bright blue on the door complement the charming architecture.

Enhancing curb appeal is one of the most cost-effective home improvement projects. There’s just something about loving the way your home looks when you drive up to it day after day that dramatically increases your enjoyment of home.

Depending on which projects you choose and whether you do the work yourself, you can crank up your curb appeal for a few hundred dollars or a few thousand. Some curb appeal ideas to consider include painting or power wash your home’s exterior, painting or installing a new garage door, front door or exterior trim work, exterior or landscape lighting, or a simple front yard landscaping spruce-up.

2. Get rid of a wall

The living room of 1010 Harding Avenue, Venice has views of the open kitchen and dining area while the fireplace serves as a functional way to define the spaces.

The number one remodel fantasy of homeowners-to-be: knocking down a wall.

In fact, removing walls, even structural walls, is highly feasible and much less expensive than many homeowners assume. (If a load-bearing wall is removed, the structural component can often be preserved and finished by simply leaving a beam at the ceiling.) What can jack up the price is the relocation of plumbing or wiring contained in the wall being removed.

Reconnecting interruptions in flooring and adding features like an island also increase expenses. Check with a reputable contractor to find out how such a project can be planned and executed efficiently.

3. Swap out old windows for new, dual-paned windows

625 Hanley Way in Brentwood has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Dual Pane windows are more energy efficient because the extra layer of glass decreases the amount of heat transfer. All seasons approved!

Replacing old, single-paned windows for new dual-paned windows might make your home look better, but it will definitely make your home operate more efficiently — and more comfortably. They’re also a must if you have street noise or other noise challenges around your home; the extra insulation traps noise before it can get to you.

As with everything, costs vary by location and by the quality of window you choose, but you can use $200 to $300 per window, installed, as a rough rule of thumb.

4. Build an outdoor kitchen

3863 Marcasel Avenue in Mar Vista has one decked out deck! The space features a fully-equipped outdoor bar, kitchen, and grilling station. The guests you entertain here may never want to leave.

The National Outdoor Kitchen and Fireplace Association pegs the average cost of an outdoor kitchen at $12,000 to $15,000 on average — but if you can cut costs, find appliances on sale, or do some of the work yourself, you might just be able to get one in your own backyard for the $10,000 price point. Outdoor kitchens can be as simple as a table and grill, or as complex as wood-burning ovens, refrigerators, and big-screen TVs.

5. Buy new kitchen appliances

12112 Navy Street in Mar Vista has a sweet updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances. This is a popular item on the must-have lists of buyers these days! Matching handle styles and/or brands of the appliances is a way to streamline the look.

In terms of sheer functionality, new kitchen appliances can create an upgrade to your family’s everyday life. A new fridge will run you anywhere from $350 to $2,000 on average, a new stove/oven range can run anywhere from $300 to $6,000, and a dishwasher will cost you somewhere around $250 to $1,600.

6. Swap out your carpet

125 N Venice Blvd in Venice has gorgeous wide-plank wood floors. Chic area rugs add warmth and softness while keeping the cleaning duties manageable.

If you have $10K to spend and you can’t stand your carpet, you can estimate that it’ll run you about $300 to $500 per room to replace it with new carpet, or $1,500 to $2,000 per room to replace it with hardwood, depending on where you live, how large your rooms are, and what specific materials you choose.

7. Build in organizing systems

308 Grand Blvd in Venice has stunning built-ins throughout the home including this functional desk/storage wall in one of the bedrooms — that’s less furniture to buy and a totally custom look. Win-win!

One of the most significant advantages to owning your home is that you can customize it to manage your stuff and your activities, rather than being forced to fit your things into someone else’s system. If you have $10K in hand to make your home more “you,” consider having custom organizing systems built into your closet, office, pantry, or garage, tailored to your family’s stuff and needs.

Source: Trulia