Remodels are all about maximization, in terms of both your home’s value and you and your family’s personal enjoyment. Here are a few projects that will give you the best return on investment.

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Q: I’ve heard horror stories about remodel projects that eat money and put homeowners in a financial nightmare. How can we, as the responsible owners we are, avoid this?  

A: Spring is about to come knocking and in every Puget Sound neighborhood, from Burien to Bainbridge, homeowners are ramping up for that long-awaited home renovation. Remodels are all about maximization, in terms of both your home’s value and you and your family’s personal enjoyment. So what projects are going to give you the best return on investment? Let’s take a look at a few of the projects primed to give you and your home the biggest boost in resale value in 2016.

New entry door

In the words of that big-screen fashion mogul Jacobim Mugatu, steel entry doors are “so hot right now.” Possibly a delayed effect from Derek Zoolander’s famous blue steel look, a sturdy steel door looks sleek and adds transformative power to the look and feel of the home at a relatively inexpensive price (no need to go specifically blue).

Low-maintenance, high-efficiency fiberglass doors represent another replacement option, though a high price tag can affect your overall return.

Modest kitchen remodel

The keyword here is modest. Going all out for a new dream kitchen is a nice, well, dream. But unless you are a professional chef (or plan on having one over frequently) or host multiple culinary conferences throughout the week, you may want to simplify those grandiose plans a bit.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have what you want, but be smart, and above all, be practical when deciding what kitchen components are worth splurging on and which ones aren’t. Think carefully about your daily routine. For example, think small in terms of convenience, like adding drawer dividers or helpful cabinet storage solutions, and don’t sacrifice work space for the sake of unnecessary or gaudy gadgets. And remember, simply adding a backsplash or a new color can do wonders for the whole of the environment.

New siding and windows

At first glance, these additions aren’t the sexiest of home-improvement projects. However, think about the overall look and feel of your home.A brand-new exterior and shiny new windows can provide the pivotal pop that your home may have been previously missing. There are also lighting, efficiency and airflow benefits to be had by installing low-maintenance, airtight windows that allow everything good to come inside, while keeping the not so good (noise, condensation, etc.) outside where it belongs.

What not to do

Common money mistakes often involve too much personalization, particularly if you plan on selling within the next five years. That decked-out dream-car garage you poured thousands into? The next homeowners may be simple bike commuters with no need for a car lift and supply-store cabinetry. Same thing goes for your home office. It may be perfect for you, but the next homeowner may prefer Starbucks.

Think lhard about how long you plan on being with your current home, what components you really need (not just want) and the things you can do without. This simple process will help you renovate more resourcefully this spring and summer.

HomeWork is written by Cameron Poague and contributing member professionals of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to