One of the best things about owning a home is that you can make it yours, which is hard to do in a rental.
Don’t like that carpet? Rip it out! Hate the tan walls? Paint them whatever color you want. Don’t like the wall between the living room and kitchen? Tear it down (as long as it’s not load-bearing!).
Some Questions to Consider
Before you ask what home improvements add value to your home, it’s smart to sit down and think about the answers to some important questions. These questions will help you personalize your home to truly meet your needs.
How long do I plan to keep my home?
If the answer is 1-3 years, you may want to consider the next few questions BEFORE you start your home improvement and remodeling projects:
- Will these home improvements be attractive to prospective buyers?
- Will these updates increase the equity in my home, or what will my return on investment be?
If you plan on staying in your home for more than 3 years, the questions to consider are a little different:
- What do I keep wishing my home had?
- What do I value most in my home?
- What makes me feel relaxed in my home?
- What inspires me and makes me feel happy?
- Do these renovations meet my personal needs?
Remodeling.com puts together a fantastic cost vs. value report each year that gives a breakdown of the home improvement projects that will yield the highest return on your investment (ROI). If you’re planning on selling soon, it’s a no-brainer to focus on the projects that will increase your home’s value. Even if you’re not planning on selling in the near future, it’s good to know what projects add the most value to your home.
(Hint: this is national data, but clicking the link above will allow you to find data on ROI for your specific region!)
Manufactured Stone Veneer
The project with the highest return on your investment in 2020 is manufactured stone veneer. Manufactured stone veneer emulates natural stone, but it’s easier and more cost-effective to install.
For this project, you’ll remove the bottom third of your siding and add manufactured stone veneer around the perimeter of your home (and archway above your door, if you have one). It really upgrades the entire look of your home! Even better, stone veneer is hardy and virtually maintenance free if you waterproof the surface behind the stone (which should always be done).
- Job cost: $9,357
- Resale value: $8,943
- Cost recouped: 95.6%
Garage Door Replacement
Installing a new garage door can increase your home’s curb appeal, keep your home safe, and even increase your home’s energy efficiency. The number of garage door designs and materials is nearly endless!
When you pick out a new door, consider how much insulation you want, whether or not you want windows and hardware on the door, and what style and materials you like. A garage door should match the home’s architectural style as well as the windows, doors, and other exterior details of the home.
- Job cost: $3,695
- Resale value: $3,491
- Cost recouped: 94.5%
Minor Kitchen Remodel
You might be surprised to learn that a minor midrange kitchen remodel has a greater ROI than a major kitchen remodel. Even a minor remodel can make a huge difference in how your kitchen looks.
For this project, you’ll replace the cabinet and drawer fronts and hardware but keep the cabinet boxes. Replace the appliances with energy-efficient models. Replace laminate countertops and install a mid-priced sink and faucet, as well as new resilient flooring (this includes vinyl tile and planks, cork, rubber, and polymer floors). Finish off your new kitchen by painting the walls, ceiling, and trim.
- Job cost: $23,452
- Resale value: $18,206
- Cost recouped: 77.6%
Want to upgrade your curb appeal? Think about replacing your exterior siding with either fiber-cement or vinyl siding. New siding can completely change the look of your home, and first impressions are important! You’ll also benefit from better insulation. Modern siding materials have insulation incorporated into their design, helping your home retain heat in the winter and reflect heat in the summer. Siding also plays an important role in protecting your home from the elements and little critters.
- Job cost: $17,008 (fiber-cement)/$14,359 (vinyl)
- Resale value: $18,206/$13,195
- Cost recouped: 77.6%/74.7%
If you don’t love your bathroom, it’s time for an upgrade! A new vanity and a sink complete with fixtures you love will completely change the look of the room. If you have a standard builder-grade mirror, swap it out for something framed, and put some updated lighting on either side. If you’re in the market for a bigger upgrade, consider surrounding the shower with tile, or even installing a freestanding soaking tub if you have space and extra money in your budget to spare. If the floor has seen better days, there are literally hundreds of tile options ranging in style and price for everyone.
- Job cost: $21,377
- Resale value: $13,588
- Cost recouped: 64.0%
Wood Deck Addition
Everyone uses their outdoor living space a little bit differently. If you want to upgrade it, think about adding a feature that you’ll use frequently, as well as one that would add value. A wood deck addition can give you so many more options in your backyard!
Consider adding a built-in bench, a planter, and stairs (made out of the same planking as the deck), as well as a complete railing system to make your deck as versatile as possible.
- Job cost: $14,360
- Resale value: $10,355
- Cost recouped: 72.1%
There are some other really smart changes you can make to your home that aren’t part of this report. They’ll improve the way it looks and make it more comfortable and appealing.
Paint is the simplest way to make the largest impact on the way your home looks on the exterior and interior, and it’s one of the least expensive changes you can make. Whether your reason for painting is to add curb appeal for prospective buyers or simply to brighten up the interior for yourself, it's an easy renovation that is sure to add value. If you’re tired of the previous owner’s paint choices, swap them out with a color you love. Many people even opt for painting their home neutral colors to give it a timeless look or to have the freedom of switching up the decor. (Neutral colors are highly recommended if you’ll be selling your home soon.)
If you don’t love your flooring, it can be hard to feel comfortable in your home. Hardwood floors are an upgrade that always looks fantastic and is great for resale—maple, oak, and hickory are durable choices, in addition to bamboo, cork and other options that are newer and eco-friendly. Luxury vinyl tile and wood-look tile are also very durable options, especially if you have pets or a swimming pool as they’re nearly indestructible and waterproof.
If you have small children, you may want to consider upgrading the carpet instead (don’t forget a cushy pad underneath), to keep little crawlers and walkers comfortable and safe. If you can, keep carpets to bedrooms only.
With rates at historic lows, now could be a good time to consider a cash out refinance to leverage your home equity for home renovations. No matter what remodeling projects you decide to take on, APM has loan options to help you bring your vision to life!