By Gene DiPaula

Apr 15, 2015

Now that tax season is over, you may be wondering what to do with your tax return. A great way to put your tax return to good use is to invest in home renovations that you may have been putting off. Here are several ways you can get the most out of your tax return and home renovation projects.

Preventative Maintenance
If your house has any safety hazards, address these first. Check your home for anything that could lead to a falling accident, such as broken handrails or cracked walkways. Test your electrical outlets, check your gutters and downspouts, and look for any wear and tear on your water pipes in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room. If you haven’t inspected your roof recently, consider having an inspection done. It costs a few hundred dollars, and can save you thousands in repairs later on.

Renovations under $500
If you’re looking to keep your expenses under $500, consider some of these inexpensive home renovations.

  • Update Your Front Door – You might be surprised by the difference new hardware and paint can make. Installing a new doorbell or lighting can cost as little as $100 or less. A fresh coat of paint and a new doormat are other cost-effective ways to update your front door’s look and improve your curb appeal.
  • Replace Your Toilets – Not only will a new toilet make your bathroom look newer, but it can save you money in the long run. Newer toilets use about 1.2 gallons of water, while toilets installed before 1995 can use as much as 6 gallons. Replacing a toilet can cost about $100-$200.
  • Invest in a Surge Protector – A power surge or any similar malfunction can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Protect your electronics by having an electrician install a surge protector for about $300.

Renovations under $1,000
If you have a $1,000 budget, try these home renovations.

  • Remodel your kitchen – $1,000 can go a long way in your kitchen, especially if you take the DIY approach. Painting your own kitchen will cost you about $150, depending on the size of the kitchen. Refurbishing your cabinets is a cost-effective alternative to installing new ones; a professional can sand, prime, and paint your cabinets for about $550, and it costs even less to do it yourself. Click here for more inexpensive kitchen remodeling tips.
  • Replace Your Washing Machine – A new high-efficiency washing machine can save you money on your water and heating bills. Energy Star-certified washing machines can save you as much as $100 annually on your utility bill, and run for about $600-$1,000.
  • Install a Fireplace – That fireplace you’ve always wanted isn’t as much of a splurge as you might think. Ventless fireplaces offer all the benefits of a standard fireplace without a chimney. An electric fireplace insert costs about $500-$1,500, while an alcohol-gel fireplace costs about $270-$470.

Renovations under $2,500
If you’re looking for a more dramatic change, check out some of these renovations under $2,500.

  • Replace Bathroom/Kitchen Flooring – If your bathroom or kitchen floor is starting to look worn or cracked, installing new tile flooring is a great way to update your room’s look. It costs about $2,000, depending on the type of tile and the size of the room.
  • Install a New Garage Door – Nothing says curb appeal like a new garage door. A typical wood or steel garage door costs between $550-$1,650 including installation, while a double door costs between $800 and $2,500. And if you’re an experienced DIY renovator, you can save money by installing your new garage door(s)
  • Paint Your Home’s Interior – Give the inside of your house a mini-makeover with an updated paint job. Since the size of each home varies, it is a good idea to plan out your project and estimate the cost of painting each room before you begin. This article has some good tips on carrying out this type of project. The cost of an interior paint job for an entire house is about $2,000, including paint and supplies.

Spring isn’t just a great time for spring cleaning, but a great time to update and renovate your house. This is especially a good idea if you’re planning to put your house on the market soon. If you’re looking to move or refinance your current home, talk to one of our licensed loan originators today to get started.

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