Feeling a little behind on some home updating? There’s still time to tackle a few remodeling projects, however. Your goal may simply be to freshen the appearance of your home, but you also want to know that your hard work will increase your home’s value.
Here are eight easy home improvements that will pay you back. Each costs less than $500 and should require less than a day’s work.
Replace Faucets & Sinks
Estimated Cost: $400 (sink), $150 (faucet)
For home buyers, “the kitchen is king,” says Paul Cardis, chief executive of Avid Ratings, which conducts an annual survey of more than 20,000 first-time home buyers to determine design preferences. “For those looking to spruce up their house, the kitchen is the place.” You can replace a kitchen sink and faucet yourself in a matter of hours.
In the Island of the Sun & Sea where water is liquid gold, be sure to seek out low-flow faucet aerators that can reduce water usage by 30%. (Energy-efficient features, specifically, are a “must have” or are “really wanted” by 88% of home buyers these days.) You can expect to recoup 70% to 80% of the cost of kitchen-remodeling work when you sell your home.
Add a Backsplash
Estimated Cost: $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 You can go from outdated to modern in a snap with a variety of options for finishes and colors.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-$100 more in related supply costs but will appeal more to prospective buyers.
 Install Vanities & Toilets
Estimated Cost: $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 fairly easy to install. It is of special importance in tropical regions where homes are dependent on rain fall for their water to supply to look for modern water-saving models that will both conserve water 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.
 Pick Up A Paint Brush
Estimated Cost: $30 per gallon
It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to immediately transform any room in your house. Lighter shades generally make a room feel larger; neutral shades will appeal most to potential buyers. You’ll earn a 250% return on your investment in freshly painted interior walls, according to HomeGain.com’s survey. Expect to pay a little more for higher quality and designer brand paint.
Be sure to test colors — Home Depot and Paint Depot both sell sample cans of paint for around $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.
Estimated Cost: $20-$500
Improvements to a home’s functional space can be just as valuable as ones that make a home look better. Potential buyers like to assess space and storage area for their belongings when evaluating new houses.
 Focus your efforts on the workshop, carport, storage shed and closets, where you can declutter easily with clear storage bins or new shelving.
 Replace the Front Door
Estimated Cost: $150-$500
As the first thing prospective buyers will see upon entering your home, a new front door will more than recoup your investment. You can expect a 129% ROI on a steel door, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2009–10 “Cost vs. Value Report.” (Fiberglass models, which can cost three times as much, recoup only 65% of their cost.)
Bonus: Buy a qualifying energy-efficient door and reap a tax credit of 30% of your cost. But you may want to hire a professional for an air tight installation.
 For more information about buying, selling and/or leasing property in the USVI, please contact Jennie Rosenberg at jennie@seaglassproperties.com, or 340.690.4903.