5 Home Improvements that Pay You Back

Consider how remodeling projects may affect your home’s resale value.

Posted Mar. 17, 2016 | Home Articles

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Before you sink $30,000 or more into a backyard swimming pool or $100,000 into a master suite, consider whether you’ll get the money back when you sell your home. According to Remodeling magazine, the following home improvement projects provide good return on investment (ROI).

1. Enhancing the entrance. A new steel front door topped the list for best ROI, returning as much as 101.8% in the Pacific region (see chart). “It may not be an exciting project,” says Johnna Camarillo, Manager, Equity Processing and Closing for Navy Federal Credit Union. “But a welcoming front door can attract buyers to come inside.”

2. Gilding the garage. Here’s another less-than-exciting project that could reap big rewards. A new garage door returned more than 88% nationally.

3. Spiffing up the siding. New vinyl siding also tops the list. “Potential buyers expect the outside of the home to be in good shape, or they’ll start mentally discounting the price,” says Camarillo.

4. Updating the kitchen. Nationally, minor kitchen remodels recouped 79.3%, compared with major remodels at 67.8%. “Upscale kitchen remodels with professional-grade appliances and marble countertops probably don’t make sense if the home prices in your neighborhood are under $200,000,” Camarillo advises. “However, minor remodels, such as painting cabinets and replacing flooring, can add value, particularly if your kitchen is sporting an older look. A good real estate agent can help you gauge what’s expected in your area.”

5. Buffing up the bath. Remodeling a bathroom beats out adding a bathroom in terms of ROI. “Be mindful of your specific situation,” cautions Camarillo. “If all the houses on your block have two or more bathrooms and yours has only one, adding a bathroom may put you in a better position when it’s time to sell.”

Consider Your Personal Preferences, Too

Remodeling a home office is near the bottom of the ROI spectrum, returning only about half the cost. And, according to HouseLogic, an in-ground swimming pool may actually detract from the value of the home in some cases.

“If a comfortable, attractive home office is important to you, you should definitely consider remodeling. If you and your family love swimming and want a backyard pool, it’s something to think about,” says Camarillo. “Potential resale value is important, but also consider how a particular project will affect your enjoyment of your home now and for years to come.”

Looking for Financing?

A home equity loan, home equity line of credit or a refinance of your existing mortgage may be just the ticket to finance a home remodeling project. 

Home Improvement Resale Values—Selected Projects and Locations*

NATIONAL AVERAGE

Project Average Cost Percent Recouped at Resale
Entry door replacement (steel) $1,230 101.8%
Garage door replacement $1,595 88.4%
Siding replacement (vinyl) $12,013 80.7%
Minor kitchen remodel $19,226 79.3%
Bathroom remodel $16,724 70.0%

*Source: Remodeling, 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, http://www.remodeling.hw.net. Estimates for average cost and recouped percentage of cost at resale for mid range-priced projects are for example only and will vary with a specific project, housing market and region.