Homeowners looking for their best return on investment for home improvements may want to scrutinize the numbers before making decisions about renovations.

Given the tight real estate market, Central Ohioans who are thinking about sprucing up the house in time to catch the tailwind of the frenetic market may want to carefully consider where to invest their dollars.

A new front door and attic insulation may provide more bang for the buck than a sparkling new kitchen or a luxurious master suite, according to statistics compiled by the website costvsvalue.com done by Hanley Wood Media.

For example, if you replace your front door with a steel model (estimated cost: $1,418), you're likely to gain a resale value of about 128 percent.

As much as we like glittering backsplashes and granite countertops, the minute you've paid for the kitchen remodel, its value has decreased. An upscale kitchen remodel in Central Ohio averages $122,725, but immediate sellers are likely to get only $74,250 of that value returned.

Attic insulation will recoup about 88 percent of its investment, with an estimated cost of $1,396 and a resale value of $1,225. But, astonishingly, if you add a manufactured stone veneer to the bottom third, front side of a vinyl-sided home, you'll get 100 percent of the cost back in your pocket. The cost for such a 300-square-foot project is $7,839.

Average prices and returns for midrange projects are reasonable, such as a basic bathroom remodel at $18,656 (returning 66 percent), a basic family room addition at $89,046 (returning 69 percent), a major kitchen renovation at $61,531 (returning 62 percent), and a wooden deck addition at $10,577 (returning at about 66 percent). But if you intend to go big budget, carefully consider the dollars you'll spend verses the payoff that you'll get.

Dreaming of a new patio complete with an outdoor kitchen? You might want to reconsider. The costly investment of a 20x20-foot flagstone patio, replete with all the modern trimmings including a pergola above and well-equipped kitchen will run you about $51,395, including the necessary gas and electrical connections. You'll only get back 45 percent of that cost returned, if you sell soon. In fact, you'd be better off remodeling the basement, which gets a 60 percent return.

That upscale master suite addition? Forget about it, unless you plan to spend many years enjoying it yourself. At an estimated cost of $249,178, the current resale value is only around $127,857.