Where to Spend $10,000 if You're Remodeling

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Getty ImagesA bathroom remodel can improve your enjoyment of your home but might not pay off if you're planning to sell soon.

By Michael Corbett

Whether you're looking to sell or stay put, you'll save money on these home improvement projects.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to remodeling and upgrading your house, and deciding where to put your precious dollars can be tough. Many of these remodeling decisions can be made based on whether or not you're planning to stay in your home long term.

Let's take a look at the places where a $10,000 investment in your home can go the furthest.

If You're Planning to Sell Within 2 Years

It's important to remember that there's not always a direct relationship between exactly how much you put into a specific renovation project and exactly how much you get out of it.

If you consider home improvements item by item, you'll likely conclude that undertaking almost any individual home improvement prior to the sale of your home is a losing proposition. However, when you add small improvements together with vision and creativity, you create an overall house improvement and a big return on your investment. The whole package is far more valuable than the sum of its parts!

Top 6 Target Projects

1. Kitchen.
A $10,000 investment is not going to get you a full kitchen makeover and leave enough extra cash to make many other upgrades. Instead, think about upgrading tired old appliances. Cabinet resurfacing and upgrading the countertops can be very affordable and give a big splash. One word of caution: Make sure you don't overspend for your neighborhood. Know your market.

2. Master bath.
Again, here in the master bath, $10,000 will not go very far, but you can create a wow effect. Consider upgrading the shower to a frameless glass shower enclosure, adding new fixtures, and maybe a new vanity and countertops.

3. Paint.
Repaint the interior of your home and keep it neutral with soft earth tones. Then make sure you pick up some fantastic pillows and accessories to add punches of color.

4. New carpet.
No homebuyer wants to walk barefoot across your tired, old, stained, dirty, worn-out carpet. When you replace the existing carpet, go with a neutral shade.

5. Curb appeal.
This is a low-cost no-brainer. Trim up the hedges, give the grass some TLC, plant some flowers, and give the front door a fresh coat of paint in a wonderful accent color. Create a strong first impression by adding shiny new house numbers and maybe even a new mailbox. Finally, add in some wonderful outdoor lighting, and presto!

6. Push the inside out.
f there's an existing room that looks out to the backyard, push it out! Replace existing windows with French doors and build a small deck. You've just increased the "size" of that room -- and added value to the house for very little money.

If You're Planning to Stay in Your House

If selling isn't in the cards for you and your family, you can still consider all of the tips above. You'll enjoy living in an upgraded house, especially if you're staying put. Additionally, think about these projects for long-term payback.

1. Heating and air system upgrades.
New heating and air systems will actually reduce your monthly utility bills over time and are a great investment.

2. Going solar.
In sunny climates, investing in solar technology can increase the value of your home and reduce your monthly and yearly utility costs.

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