If you had all the money in the world and planned to live in your house forever, there are countless renovations you might want to undertake. But in the real world, renovation decisions often come down to your budget and your plans for the home.
You don’t want to spend tens of thousands on a project, only to sell the home in a year’s time and find that the resale value doesn’t reflect your investment.
Neither do you want to focus solely on resale — your enjoyment of the home matters, too. And the truth is most improvements will increase the home’s value by less than the amount you spend.
Home renovations are a big investment, and one that may require you to take out a loan. So how do you find the happy medium — the projects that will enhance your enjoyment of the home while you’re living in it, but that will give back much of what you put into them when it’s time to sell?
Remodeling Magazine compared 22 different remodeling projects for their 2021 report, ranking them based on the job cost versus the resale value across the U.S. Here we’ll explore 10 of the best.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Replacing your garage door
- 2. Adding manufactured stone veneer
- 3. Doing a minor kitchen remodel
- 4. Replacing your siding
- 5. Replacing your windows
- 6. Adding a deck
- 7. Replacing your entry door with steel
- 8. Adding a grand entrance
- 9. Replacing your roof with asphalt shingles
- 10. Midrange bathroom remodel
1. Replacing your garage door
Average cost: $3,907
Cost recouped: 93.8%
A new garage door can give a major boost to the front of your house.
If yours is bland, dated, or dinged up, you might want to go ahead and replace it. A newer door will help your home be more energy efficient with features like an insulating foam core, insulated glass windows, and thermal seals between the panels.
It may also be more secure, especially if you choose a door made with high-tensile-strength steel.
It will look great, too. If you’ve had to paint your own garage door in the past, you might appreciate a new door with multiple coats of factory-applied paint for a near-flawless finish.
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2. Adding manufactured stone veneer
Average cost: $10,386
Cost recouped: 92.1%
A stone façade gives a home a stately, secure, permanent appearance, but stone can also be very costly and hard to work with. In place of natural stone, you might want to consider manufactured stone. It is much lighter and easier to install, not to mention less expensive.
And here’s a bonus: manufactured stone is produced in a more environmentally friendly way that real stone that must be quarried.
As for the appearance, modern products look more like real stone than ever, so there’s no need to worry that it will look fake. And there are many colors and patterns to choose from.
A properly installed manufactured stone exterior will also include proper water protection, ensuring that the walls of your home stay in top condition.
3. Doing a minor kitchen remodel
Average cost: $26,214
Cost recouped: 72.2%
Don’t attempt a major kitchen renovation if your sole intent is to increase resale value. While your house may sell faster, you’re unlikely to recoup the full amount you put into the project.
With a minor kitchen remodel, on the other hand, you can expect to see about 72 percent of the value return to you. After all, kitchens are one of the most important rooms for selling a home — if not the most important. Highly visible changes can make a significant impact.
What does a minor remodel include? It might mean replacing the fronts of your cabinets while leaving the cabinet boxes, updating your appliances with new energy-efficient ones, updating your laminate countertops, and putting in new flooring.
If you intend to stay in your home, but your kitchen doesn’t fit your lifestyle and add enjoyment to the time you spend there, it’s time for a renovation. Updating a kitchen takes a lot of planning, and it’s easy to overlook some crucial things—especially in the layout. Here’s a list of common kitchen layout mistakes and how to avoid them.
4. Replacing your siding
Average cost: $19,626 (fiber cement), $16,576 (vinyl)
Cost recouped: 69.4% (fiber cement), 68.3% (vinyl)
Nothing refreshes the exterior of your house like new siding. Not only will it look great, but it will also protect your house from the elements in the short term and the long term.
It would be overkill to re-side the house just for resale, but if you plan to live in the home for a few more years, you might find it worth the roughly 30% of project costs that you’ll be out after you sell.
You’ll get back a little more of your investment if you opt for newer fiber cement siding over vinyl; it is prized for its resilience and appearance.
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5. Replacing your windows
Average cost: $19,385 (vinyl), $23,219 (wood)
Cost recouped: 68.6% (vinyl), 67.4% (wood)
Replacing windows is not cheap, but it can brighten the house, make for easier opening and closing, and insulate for better energy efficiency.
Wood windows cost more than vinyl these days, and you’ll get back more of your money on the vinyl.
If you haven’t shopped for windows, you may be surprised at all the options. You can get double or triple pane windows, and they can be filled with argon or krypton gas to provide additional thermal insulation. You can also get windows that swing inward so you don’t have to climb a ladder to clean them from the outside.
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6. Adding a deck
Average cost: $16,766 (wood), $22,426 (composite)
Cost recouped: 65.8% (wood), 63.2% (composite)
Decks are popular additions — they’re great for entertaining or for enjoying the weather.
As outdoor living spaces grow more popular, you can bet buyers will be happy to see an updated deck. That will ultimately be reflected in the sale price of your home, to the tune of about 65% of what you spent.
The percentage is slightly higher for a wood deck than for a composite deck, so if your main concern is resale, consider that option; it’s cheaper. But if you want to stay in the home, be sure to consider the low-maintenance, high-durability qualities of composite.
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7. Replacing your entry door with steel
Average cost: $2,082
Cost recouped: 65.0%
When compared with a hollow-core or even solid wood interior door, a steel front door is quite pricey. But while an interior panel door is great for separating fighting siblings, it doesn’t have the durability you’ll need to protect your home’s entrance.
That’s where steel comes in.
And since doors are a common place for leaks, a new, properly installed one will provide energy efficiency, too.
When it comes to resale, though, it’s a fair bet that most buyers won’t give the door a lot of attention. It’s more likely to factor into their subconscious assessment of the house as solid and secure.
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8. Adding a grand entrance
Average cost: $10,044
Cost recouped: 60.9%
Speaking of transforming the home’s outer appearance, how about replacing a simple front door with a grand entrance made of fiberglass?
Adding in sidelights and accents alongside the door will make the home look statelier and more dramatic.
There is more labor involved in such an installation, considering the wider cut and framing necessary to expand the entrance.
While the price is high, the good news is that over 60% of the value could be made up in the sale of the home.
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9. Replacing your roof with asphalt shingles
Average cost: $28,256
Cost recouped: 60.7%
You probably don’t spend much time staring at your roof, but you know that it’s one of your home’s most important features. While a good roof goes unnoticed, a bad roof can cause a multitude of headaches.
So should you replace the roof right before you sell? Probably not, unless you’re willing to give up almost 40% of the investment.
On the other hand, buyers will love knowing that they don’t have to do a replacement themselves for another decade or more.
The gist is, replace the roof if the roof needs to be replaced, not just to impress buyers.
10. Midrange bathroom remodel
Average cost: $24,424
Cost recouped: 60.1%
Kitchens and bathrooms get lots of attention from potential home buyers, and they can also have a huge effect on your enjoyment of your home.
Compared with a major bathroom remodel, a minor remodel will get you more of your investment back at resale.
What counts as a minor remodel? It could include changes such as replacing the fixtures, installing a new tub, adding ceramic tile, updating the showerhead, and replacing the toilet and vanity.
You’ll get a lot of use out of your bathroom remodel, and you can expect to get back about 60% when you sell.
Bathroom renovations are an excellent way to add value to your home. As with any remodeling project, however, you can’t expect to recoup the entire cost of the project when you sell. Remodel Magazine puts the expected value of a midrange bathroom redo at 64 percent of the price tag. If you should happen to sell the house in the future, you’ll…
Sometimes your home needs a renovation — say, if the roof is leaking or the appliances are broken. But most renovations come down to how you want to enjoy your home.
If you plan to keep your house for a while, you have more leeway to change it to your liking, within the restraints of your own budget.
The projects here cost more than what you’ll get back when you sell the house, but knowing that a substantial portion of the value will return to you could be the encouragement you need to green light your next big project.
If you’re planning to sell soon, on the other hand, you might want to stick with minor changes. A coat of fresh paint can go a long way. So can new hardware on your cabinets, a deep decluttering, or a few decorative items.
Your sale price will be a little lower than it would have been with big renovations, but you’ll come out ahead. Why do the work to your own tastes, only to have someone else move in?
Instead, save the money (if the real estate market allows) and be in a better position to invest in renovations when you get to your new house. Then redo your new home to your liking and have years to enjoy it.
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