Live

Watch CBSN Live

Best home renovation projects for 2013

(MoneyWatch) If you're like most homeowners, you probably browse Pinterest, watch HGTV and get amped up to remodel your entire home. While a DIY bathroom re-do or a brand new state-of-the-art kitchen may seem like a good idea, it isn't always worth the time and money.

Home remodeling is all about return on investment. When deciding which project to tackle in your house, consider your circumstances. If you're planning on staying forever, make changes to the space that makes it more livable for you. Just remember not to go so overboard that you can never sell the house if you suddenly needed to.


If your current place is not your forever home, only invest time and energy into projects that will give you a decent return when you eventually sell it. Here are some of the mid-range projects that will give you the most bang for your buck, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2013 "cost versus value" report.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Replace your entry door

It seems like a simple project, but having a contractor replace your low-quality entry door with a steel version will give you the biggest bang for your buck. According to Remodeling Magazine,  homeowners can expect an 85.6 percent return on investment, or  $856 on a $1,000 job. Adding a steel door, bored lock and aluminum threshold will do more than just put money in your pocket -- it will also withstand the weather better than a basic wooden entry door.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Add a deck

This is definitely not a DIY job, since a poorly constructed deck could end up costing you big money in the long run. In addition to money you may end up spending to bring the deck up to code, you could be responsible for damages if someone is injured on your property because of the poor construction. Have a pro install a nice wooden deck, however, and you could see a 77.3 percent return on your investment. That's more than $7,730 on a $10,000 job.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Switch out your garage door

Upgrading your current garage door to a newer steel model could earn you a 75.7 percent return on investment -- roughly $1,135 on a $1,500 job. Whether you do it yourself or call in a pro, save a few bucks by using the existing motorized door opener, if possible. You don't have to go all-out to get a good return. Opt for an un-insulated, embossed steel model with a 10-year warranty, and replace the tracks when you replace the door to make sure the warranty stands.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Modernize your kitchen

A minor kitchen remodel costs an average of $18,527, but homeowners can expect to see a return of $13,977 -- 75.4 percent -- on their investment. Even a minor remodel can make your kitchen feel like new. Instead of replacing everything, keep your existing cabinet boxes and replace the fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware. Switch out that dated wall oven and cooktop for new energy-efficient models, and replace current laminate countertops with a new laminate in an updated pattern. Add a new coat of paint and enjoy your investment.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Update your windows

Replacing 10 three-by-five-foot windows costs an average of $10,708, but homeowners generally see a return on investment of about $7,852, or 73.3 percent. This is another expert job, since incorrectly installing a window could mean drafts, water leaks and, worst of all, falling windows. Call in a professional and have him replace your current windows with insulated wood replacements that have vinyl or aluminum exteriors. They should wrap the existing exterior trim as required to match the new windows, but ask them not to disturb the interior trim to avoid the extra expense.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Rehab your basement

Finishing your basement adds value to your home, but also gives you and your family more living space to enjoy. Whether you opt to create an ideal man cave or an entertainment room for all, you can expect to spend around $61,303. You can also expect an average return of $43,095, or 70.3 percent, on your investment. The total cost includes a number of upgrades: adding a wet bar and bathroom, as well as all the plumbing and electric for the new space; creating a mechanical room; adding paint trim and painting all the walls; insulating all the exterior walls; installing laminate flooring and vinyl tile; and painting the entire basement.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Remodel your bathroom

A substantial bathroom re-do in a five-by-seven-foot space can cost an average of $15,782, but homeowners can expect to recoup 65.2 percent of their investment -- or more than $10,200. Update the space with new fixtures that include a porcelain tub with ceramic tile surround; a new single-lever and pressure balanced shower control; a standard white toilet; a solid-surface vanity with an integral sink and a recessed medicine cabinet. Finish it off with a ceramic tile floor and vinyl wallpaper to really get the biggest bang for your buck.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Construct a garage

If you have the space, putting a garage on your property will do more than make your life convenient -- it will also add value to your home. At an average cost of $48,806, it's no small project, but homeowners generally see a 63.7 percent return on their investment, or around $31,091. This isn't just a basic car-park; the cost assumes a 26-by-26-foot freestanding, two-car garage. The job cost also includes a 25-year asphalt shingle roof with metal flashing, vinyl siding and trim, and five double-hung windows. Your costs increase with the upgrades, but so does your payback.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Replace your roof

Of all the projects on this list, this is perhaps the most necessary. When it comes time to sell, the last thing buyers want to hear is that they need to install a new roof. Taking the initiative to do it while you're in the home means spending an average of $18,488, but you can expect a 62.9 percent return on investment -- around $11,633. Have a pro remove the current roof completely, going down to the bare wood structure, and replace it with new fiberglass asphalt shingles. Doing it right will give you peace of mind and likely save you money in the long run.

Best home renovation projects for 2013

Shutterstock

Create a home office

Converting an existing room into the perfect home office costs an average of $27,292, and homeowners generally see a return of about $11,911, or 43.6 percent of their initial investment. It's not a huge return, but it makes life easier while you're in the space and can easily be converted back into a bedroom if necessary. The cost assumes adding custom cabinetry that includes a work station and wall cabinet storage, as well as new paint, carpeting and wiring.

To see the full list, including how much you'll get back on more upscale projects, view the full report.

View CBS News In