What's the best way to add value to your existing home?

This question was recently posed to Interior Designer Taniya Nayak, a design expert often featured on TV and print. Her answer to this timeless question:

"My best advice is to budget for a small to medium renovation or update every year. This helps keep your home up to date without breaking the bank. Oftentimes people wait until they are ready to sell before making these changes, and they never get to enjoy their investment. Allow yourself to enjoy the changes a bit before handing it over to someone else."

So what do you plan on updating this year? To help you decide, we are listing a variety of home improvement projects that you may be considering. Our source is Remodeling Magazine and their recently published survey of remodeling projects completed over the past year. This is a great way to find out how much you should expect a redo to cost. Also included is the average return you should expect at resale, to help you know if you are making a smart investment or not.

These are the home improvements, in order, that will give you the biggest bang for your buck, plus some additional thoughts from HGTV.com.

#1 Minor Bathroom Remodel
Average return at resale: 102 percent
•It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. You'll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.
•If you like your tub, but it is old and worn, re-glaze it for a like-new finish. Cost: $300 to $400.
•Remove dated wall coverings and apply a fresh coat of paint. For damaged walls, spray on texture provides quick coverage.
•Old shower doors can ruin any bathroom. Removing or replacing them will add the illusion of space.

#2 Landscaping
Average return at resale: 100 percent
•The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and another $1,465 on a designer, according to the American Nursery and Landscape Association. •Sod costs about 30 to 35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000 sq. ft. yard would cost about $1,500 to sod. Budget for a delivery fee if you buy less than 1,000 sq. ft.
•A splash of color at the front of the house is an eye-catching plus. For maximum impact, choose one color and vary the height of plants.
•If your doorway is overwhelmed by greenery, then get out the shears. Replace overgrown shrubbery with flowering foundation plants mixing heights and colors for dramatic effect.
•A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property. Roll a sealant on flagstones for a permanent wet look that enhances the color.

#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel
Average return at resale: 98.5 percent •A minor kitchen remodel averages $14,913 and brings in $14,691 at resale, a recoup rate of 98.5%. Go for the minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update and not a drastically different floor plan.•A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of re-facing for cabinets and drawers, a new wall oven, cooktop, sink and fixtures, laminate countertops and resilient flooring.•Add recessed and can lights for an updated look
•Hardwood or tile floors, stone (granite or quartz) countertops, and stainless steel appliances are what buyers expect if you want top dollar for your home
•Brighten up the kitchen by giving your old wood cabinets new character. Just sand and paint - it's a whole lot less expensive than buying new ones.
•Don't forget window treatments. Changing drapes and window molding is an inexpensive way to add decorator detail.

#4 Exterior Improvements
Vinyl Siding, Paint, Updated Front EntryAverage return at resale: 95.5 percent•The average national cost to replace 1,250 sq. ft. of vinyl siding: $7,239. Average return: $6,914, with a recoup rate of 95.5%.•A gallon of paint covers 400 sq. ft. of house.
• Paint color cards take the guesswork out of choosing the right color combination for doors, trim and siding.•If you think your house was painted before 1978, test for lead before sanding or scraping.
•Upscale, fiber-cement siding costs $10,393 and returns $10,771 at resale, an even better recoup rate of 103.6%.
•For an updated look, remove old awnings from over windows and doors.
•Give a bare, charmless porch a dramatic makeover by adding a pergola and columns.
•A new front door is a quick update.

#5 Attic Bedroom Conversion
Average return at resale: 93.5 percent
• The average attic bedroom in a two- or three-bedroom house costs $39,188 and returns $36,649 at resale.•That price includes a 15 x 15 ft. bedroom, a 5x7 bath with shower, a 15-ft. dormer, four windows and a closet.•Can your existing HVAC system handle the load of another room? If not, factor in the cost of a second unit.
•A solar-powered attic fan is a super efficient way to save on cooling your house. The attic fan exhausts heat from above your home and is powered by a solar cell on the roof - so it doesn't add a cent to your utility bill.
•Add insulation in your attic to lower your utility bills. Just make sure the foil vapor barrier is installed down toward the ceiling to prevent moisture from seeping up.

Zero Down, Zero Interest for Eighteen Months!
If you are inspired by these ideas and are ready to begin your home improvement project, now is a great time to make your purchase. Enhance Floors is offering 18 Month Interest Free Financing for a limited time. Get pre-approved today, then begin working with an Enhance Design Consultant, and make your dream home a reality!