10 Home Improvement Projects That Cost Less Than Your Tax Refund

More than 46 million Americans are expecting a tax refund this year, with the average refund totaling nearly $3,050, according to the latest IRS report.

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial investments of most people’s lives, so it’s no surprise many homeowners choose to invest some or all of their tax refund on home improvement projects.

So which home renovations cost less than $3,000? To find out, Zillow Digs surveyed interior design experts and real estate agents from around the country to identify the top 10 biggest “bang for your buck” upgrades that could potentially add value to a home, without breaking the bank.

Here are their top recommendations:

Upgrade the mailbox

Estimated cost: $100 – $600

It’s an affordable way to add personality and functionality to a home’s exterior without breaking the bank.

Upgrade window treatments

Estimated cost: $1,000-$2,000

Dirty or dated blinds are an eyesore that would likely have to be updated or removed when it’s time to sell. Try wide-planked wood blinds or woven shades for a fresh new look that’s both functional and stylish.

Swap out dated light fixtures

Estimated cost: $500 -$1,500

Try swapping out chandeliers or other dated light fixtures for pendent lights. Not only are they stylish, but homes mentioning them in their listing description sell 4.6 percent above expected and 48 days faster than homes without, according to a recent Zillow Digs analysis.

Seal or repave driveway

Estimated cost: $500

First impressions matter, so allotting some of this year’s tax refund on curb appeal projects, like sealing cracks in your driveway or repaving a walkway, will help make your home look more desirable to future buyers.

Update kitchen and bathroom faucets

Estimated cost: $1,000

Quality faucets are both functional and stylish, and installing them in a home’s kitchen and bathrooms may even cost less than the average 2015 tax refund.

Add a kitchen backsplash

Estimated cost: $2,000-$3,000

From subway tiles to colored glass, backsplashes are a beautiful and subtle kitchen upgrade that a homeowner can enjoy today and that may help attract a future buyer’s eye when it’s time to sell.

Update kitchen and bathroom hardware

Estimated cost: $1,000

Replace broken or dated drawer pulls and knobs with a new set of hardware for a cohesive and seamless transition between rooms.

Add a fresh coat of paint

Estimated cost: $1-$2 per square foot

A top recommended project by interior design and real estate experts, adding a fresh coat of paint goes a long way in making a home look well taken care of and clean.

Replace carpet

Estimated cost: $4 per square foot

Dirty carpet will instantly catch a buyer’s eye, and not in a good way. Consider using a portion of your budget to replace or deep clean stained carpets.

Kristina Miller

Kristina Miller

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
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