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Which Home Improvement Projects Are Worth the Investment?

Which Home Improvement Projects Are Worth the Investment?

If you’re wondering what types of home improvements bring about the best return on your investment, you should be thinking about hammers and nails, not bells and whistles.

According to real estate and home improvement experts, basic home improvement—the type of work every house needs—are more appreciated by most home buyers than pricey remodels or renovations.

Think of it this way: if you are looking to sell your home and want to make upgrades by remodeling a bathroom or finishing a basement, you are essentially guessing at what potential buyers are looking for. Everyone, on the other hand, wants a roof that won’t leak and a dry basement.

Here’s a list of the home improvements that will bring you the highest return on your investment:


  • A new roof. If your home has any leaks, whatsoever, you can almost forget about selling it quickly. A new or newer roof with a 20-25 year warranty is very appealing, particularly if you are selling an entry-level home. Most first-time homebuyers won’t have additional money to sink into costly repairs.
  •  New siding. New siding will not only hold its value—with a roughly 92 percent return on your investment, according to experts—it will help increase your curb appeal, bringing more potential buyers into your home to begin with.
  • More curb appeal. The first impression potential home buyers have is the strongest. Invest in some landscaping and exterior maintenance: paint your front door, throw down a welcome mat; upgrade your lighting and make sure your home is clean.
  •  Modest kitchen remodel. There’s no guarantee that a remodeled kitchen will improve the value of your home. If you’re going to spend money here, make sure you update the cabinets and appliances (assuming they’ll be part of the sale). Think about wood floors, industrial appliances and a very light shade of new paint.
  • Modest bathroom remodel. The key here (and above) is modest. Don’t go overboard; spend your money simplifying your space. Replacing a tub with a larger, walk-in shower is usually a good bet. If you only have one bathroom, it’s a good idea to spend this money having a new one put in. The investment is comparable and you’ll get a better return out of it. That’s particularly true if you have an older home.
  • Adding space. If you have a small home on a large lot, an addition could help you sell your home and provide a good return on your investment. If you’re doing it specifically to increase your home’s value, however, the return may not be immediate. Remember to make any additional rooms large and keep them plainly decorated. If you have a large number of small bedrooms, it may be worthwhile to renovate to combine two into one larger one.
  • Finished basements. The jury is technically still out on this one, but a finished basement will generally bring some return on your investment. The question is, how much? If you decide to finish your basement, think about the types of things that make you more comfortable above ground: lots of light and convenience. Unless you are a serious do-it-yourselfer, it’s best to leave the plumbing and electrical work to professionals.

Whether you’re looking to make home improvements to increase your home’s value in the short term or the long term, keep your own comfort in mind. The real estate market is fairly steady, but there is no way of telling how long your house will be on the market. Do something that will make you happy. Who knows, maybe you’ll decide to stick around!