Top 10 Home Improvement Projects That Get the Most ROI

Whether you are a weekend DIYer or a homeowner with a vast appetite for general contractors and workmen in your home, home improvement projects are always at least a little bit painful. So you want to make sure the work you are doing is worth all the effort.

There is always a double-sided problem you have when you start toying around with the idea of starting home improvement projects.

Once you have your house, you want to enjoy it. And you want it to increase in value. Hmmmm. How can you accomplish both of those at the same time? One word: RENOVATE.

Renovation projects can offer a whole lot of headaches, so you want to make sure they are worth it. If you are going to spend all that time and money (not to mention blood, sweat and tears if you are a DIYer) you are going to want to enjoy the end result and see a boost to your home’s value.

As you will see from the list below, the bathroom and kitchen remodel can offer a great return on your investment, mostly because that is what a lot of buyers are going to beeline towards when they go to look at a home. And real estate agents love the chance to showcase new bathrooms and kitchens.

I know that you might love the pink siding you put up at your first home, but I can bet that the next owner did not. Keep that in mind when making design decisions.

Bathroom Remodel

A bathroom reboot can run the gamut from a complete gut job and makeover to a bunch of smaller projects like re-grouting and installing new fixtures to give the old bathroom a fresh look. Obviously the gut-and-redo will run up the costs in the $5,000 to $15,000 range, so budget accordingly.

Just know that you will make your agent extremely giddy at the prospect of selling a home with a recently updated bathroom. That enthusiasm alone might boost your selling price by a couple of percentage points.

No matter what you do to your bathroom, upgrading it is one of the most successful home improvement projects you can take on.

Kitchen Remodel

There is the conventional wisdom that tiled backsplashes and stainless steel appliances are the magic hooks that will catch salivating buyers. That is all well and good, but if you are going to put the effort into a kitchen renovation, think about workflow. How do you position the sink, dishwasher, cook area and prep area to make creating everyday culinary masterpieces effortless? That is the key component.

It will not only make your life easier, but an organized and functional kitchen workspace is nice, little added bonus that your agent can talk up.

Now, the tricky part is figuring out where to place the waste receptacle and recycling in a place that satisfies everyone… but that is your marital burden. (Hint: Wives hate the sight and smell of garbage cans.)

New Siding

When we talk about curb appeal, there are not many projects that have the immediate impact that new siding installations do. It can transform the look of the home dramatically. Just make sure to do your research on the differences between vinyl, wood, fiber cement, stucco, engineered wood and synthetic stone siding materials. Vinyl is always a cost-effective go-to, but you might want to spring for the low-maintenance fiber cement if you have the funds. Low maintenance is always good for busy and non-handy homeowners.

Adding a Deck

One of the most reliable ROI generators for homeowners is adding a deck or patio. Outdoor space is prized by buyers and having something like that done for them can be a deciding factor in whether or not they make an offer. Plus you will get to enjoy the lifestyle options that are opened up when you have livable outdoor space.

Insulating your Attic

Putting proper insulation in an unfinished attic is a great for saving money on heating bills. It might not be the sexiest item to put on a real estate listing, but some buyers will appreciate the added benefits. Just be sure to do your homework: The cost can vary greatly depending on what type of insulation you use and who you get to do the work. Consider tackling this job yourself. The savings versus using a professional can be significant.

In-Ground Sprinklers

For a great looking yard, you need to water it early and often. But do you really want to be hauling your butt out of bed every morning to drag the sprinkler and hose across your front lawn in the spring and summer? In-ground sprinkler systems installation can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 but your neighbors and potential buyers will appreciate the benefits.

Replacing Your Garage Door

There are varying degrees of cost to putting in a new garage door, from aluminum doors in the $1,500 to $2,000 range up to $3,000 or $4,000 for a steel or custom wood door. But if you have any issues with the operation of an automated door, like it stalls out or refuses to open, this should be high on your list of home improvements.

Upgrading Your Windows

Another energy-efficient upgrade is replacing old, drafty windows with new, modern ones. And, something you don’t get when you insulate your attic basement, it can make your house that much better. Depending on the size of your home, the cost can run in the thousands. But the look and feel will improve and your energy costs will go down.

Replacing Your Front Door

If you drop in a new steel door, that will run you close to $2,000. But the added security and curb appeal you can gain should give you a decent amount of return on that cash layout. A nice-looking entry door can increase the wow factor of neighbors and potential buyers, while the strength of a steel-reinforced barrier will calm the nerves of the most excitable members of your household. If you are a bit handy yourself, you might be able to save quite a bit on installation.

Solar Panels

The green revolution is here. You might as well get on board. Last year, an article in the New York Times highlighted research that shows buyers are willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home with an average size solar system versus a home with no solar system. Many companies will install panels on your roof with little or no cost upfront. It is your decision about whether that route makes sense for you, but this handy solar calculator should help make the call.

And it doesn’t hurt to to challenge the solar conventional wisdom. This article in the Washington Post puts forth the idea that solar panels might not be the asset everyone thinks they are. Do your research and pick the option that is best for you.