5 DIY Projects Under $500: Add Value to Your Home by Labor Day

front doorYes, the end of summer is drawing near, but there’s still time to tackle a few big-value remodeling projects before Labor Day. They're easy, I swear. We're not going make you pant too hard at all.

The folks at Kiplinger.com handpicked several of their DIY Projects to Add Value to Your Home by Labor Day to share with us. Each project costs less than $500, requires less than a day’s work, and will increase your home’s value.

Awesome. Five cheap, not-too-time-consuming home improvement projects that give your home more bang for its buck. I like the sound of that.


5 DIY Projects Under $500: Add Value to Your Home by Labor Day

1. Add a Backsplash
Estimated Price: $14 per 12-by-12-inch tile

The easiest way to add pizazz to your kitchen is with a new backsplash. You can go from country to modern in a snap with a variety of options for finishes and colors. To save money, time, and frustration, consider the peel-and-stick tile options now available. The messier grout-and-tile approach will add $50 to $100 more in related supply costs but will appeal more to prospective buyers.

2. Install Vanity Cabinets & Toilets
Estimated Price: $200 (vanity), $250 (toilet)

Even relatively minor updates to your bathroom can produce a return on investment of 172%, according to HomeGain.com’s 2009 Prepare-to-Sell survey of 1,000 real estate agents nationwide. Because toilets fit neatly over existing plumbing, they’re surprisingly easy to install. Look for modern water-saving models that will both save on your water bills and appeal to energy-conscious buyers when it’s time to sell. If you’re feeling creative, save hundreds of dollars by using an old dresser as the foundation for a new vanity. Simply cut out room on the top to hold a basin sink and to connect pipes.

3. Paint a Room
Estimated Price: $30 per paint can

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to immediately transform any room in your house. You’ll earn a 250% return on your investment in freshly painted interior walls, according to HomeGain.com’s survey. Just be sure to test colors -- Home Depot sells 8-ounce sample cans of paint for $3 -- before buying the full batch of paint needed for the room. Limit costly mistakes and spills by splurging on drop cloths and painter’s tape.

4. Install Crown Molding
Estimated Price: $5 per linear foot

Crown molding in your home compared with none in a similar home in your neighborhood could make a difference when it’s time to sell. You may not get the money back, but it’s a feature that most buyers appreciate when looking for a home. Fair warning: Installing crown molding might be the trickiest task on our list. There’s a lot of geometry involved -- along with a nail gun and a miter saw. Follow the “measure thrice, cut once” rule to limit waste.

5. Replace the Front Door
Estimated Price: $150-$500 or more

As the first thing prospective buyers will see upon entering your home, a new front door will more than recoup your investment. Expect a fat 129% ROI on a steel door, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2009–10 “Cost vs. Value Report.” Bonus: Buy a qualifying energy-efficient door and reap a tax credit of 30% of your cost (up to a maximum of $1,500 in 2009 and 2010 combined).

Got any DIY home improvements you're hoping to finish by summer's end?


Image via Ken Doerr/Flickr

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