Home improvement projects don't have to be large-scale to return a big value at the time of sale. In fact, the 2015 Cost vs. Value report points out that even something as simple and cheap as replacing a steel door returns, on average, 101.8 percent nationally.
If homeowners want to save more money and get a great return on a home improvement investment, some relatively easy do-it-yourself (DIY) projects pack the most punch.
"Going DIY is the ultimate money-saving tool," says John Riha, editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library. "You'll also get tons of satisfaction and enjoyment from creating a better home environment, and from learning home improvement skills that'll last a lifetime."
Before deciding to try DIY, owners should keep some things to keep in mind. Some projects are worth the cost of hiring a contractor, including fixing electrical work, or big home exterior improvements, like replacing roofing and siding. Also, it's important to consider the time and labor trade-off involved in DIY projects.
These days, learning the tricks of the DIY trade is easier than ever. There are instructions for almost every project on YouTube, and many manufacturers have DIY tutorials on their website. For old-school owners, the local library offers how-to books on many home improvement projects.
Here are the five best home improvement projects with a positive return on investment (ROI):
Deck addition: It's fairly simple to build a 12-foot-by-16-foot wood deck addition. It should take three or four days to complete, depending on the decision to use concrete piers instead of poured concrete footings. The ROI of doing this type of project is 490 percent, compared to 80.5 percent if a professional installs it. When it's time to sell, owners can expect to get back $8,085.
Small bathroom upgrade: Installing ceramic tile may be one of the more labor intensive DIY projects, and one that typically requires being without a bathroom for six to eight days, but it provides a great ROI at 170 percent compared with the 70 percent if a professional handles the job. The profit when it comes time to sell? $11,707.
New front door: Steel door replacement not only provides great curb appeal, it has a huge cost return. The ROI if replaced by a professional is 101.8 percent, but if done as a DIY project, the ROI is 501 percent. When it comes time to sell, owners can expect to get back $1,252.
Replacing the garage door: This easy DIY project can net $1,410 when it's time to sell. Swapping out an older garage door for a steel door has a ROI of 166 percent if done by the owner; 88.4 percent if hiring a professional.
Window replacement: If replacing more than three windows or windows on a second story, it's best to leave this to the pros. Window replacement has an ROI of 72.9 percent if done by a professional, but 320 percent if handled by the owner. DIY window replacement can expect to gain $816 when it's time to sell.