Home Improvements that Give You the Most (and Worst) Bang for your Buck

Before you begin a home remodeling project, take a moment to consider its potential return on investment. If you are planning on staying in your home for more than ten years improvements should be made for your enjoyment and use.  But, if you are thinking of selling sooner than later, you may want to choose projects that will give you a higher return.

“A Realtor can help homeowners decide what improvements will provide the most return when it comes time to sell,” said Fran Broude, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.  “Each neighborhood is different, and the desirability and resale value of a particular remodeling project varies depending on where you live.” The 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine reviews the percentage of a home improvement project’s costs likely to be recouped when the property is sold. Not all projects are created equal.

Five Best “Bang for the Buck” Home Improvement Projects:

1. New steel front door (source: Thermatru.com)

1. New steel front door (source: Thermatru.com)

  1. Homeowners who install a new steel front door will recoup 86% of their cost when selling. A brand new front door makes a great first impression.

    Nice vinyl siding (source: Terry Benske)

    2. Nice vinyl siding (Home listed by: Terry Benske)

  2. Replacing vinyl siding will recoup 65% of the cost. New siding is going to make a house look brand new and improve curb appeal.  Plus, it’s low maintenance.

    3. Remodel/update cabinets (listed by: Elizabeth Ballis)

    3. Remodel/update cabinets (listed by: Elizabeth Ballis)

  3. A minor kitchen remodel is a project that doesn’t have to cost very much if it is more of a facelift. Replacing cabinets or cabinet fronts, hardware, countertops, flooring and old appliances with energy efficient models can recoup 68% of the cost.

    Wooden deck (listed by: Carolyn Stangl)

    4. Wooden deck (listed by: Carolyn Stangl)

  4. Homeowners who add a wooden deck to their properties recoup 74% of the cost. Adding a deck adds value and allows for more outdoor living space.

    Replacing windows (listing: Chaz Walters)

    5. Replacing windows (listed by: Chaz Walters)

  5. Replacing windows will recoup 68% of the cost at the time of the sale. Not only does window replacement add value, it also is energy efficient and could offer you tax credits.

Five Worst Return on Investment Projects:

  1. Thinking of adding a swimming pool? You may want to think some more, pools only have an 8% cost recoup. You may enjoy it, however it will not add value to a home. In fact, pools can negatively impact a home’s value with the maintenance, heating bills and insurance costs involved.2. Home office 
  2. Surprisingly, adding a home office is more expensive than a minor kitchen remodel and typically would only give 37% value back when you sell. A new home office may make sense for you, but does not necessarily appeal to everyone.
    3. Sunrooms (source: Millbrook Architects & Designers)
  3. Sunrooms are beautiful. But, in these sunny spaces only 42% of the cost recouped. Again, it may only appeal to a select amount of people.


    4. Garage addition (source: Buffalo Architects & Designers)
  4. Garage additions only provide a 55% cost return.  Not everyone needs the extra space nor will it match the neighborhood.


    5. Master Suite(source: Vancouver Photographers)
  5. A master suite addition is a nice luxury, but will net only 57% of your return on investment. The expense of adding the luxury features of a walk-in closet, dressing area, whirlpool tub, a separate ceramic tile shower and double-sink vanity will recoup the expenses for the homeowner.

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