Home Improvements That Give the Highest Return on Investment


If you're eager to sell—or just want to make some changes to test reactions—now's the time to save yourself some grief by learning which upgrades increase your house's value in potential buyers' eyes and which leave them stone cold.

And while you're at it, never forget the first rule of upgrades, according to Remodeling magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2019: "Think like a real estate broker." Read on to see why that includes focusing heavily on curb appeal and first impressions.

Invest In Exterior Upgrades

Improvements to your home’s exterior can pay for themselves by drawing in potential buyers. If you have no plans to sell, they positively change the ambiance of your property and boost curb appeal. Adding manufactured stone veneer increases value the most—up to 95%. This synthetic material installs just like real stone. Upgrading the exterior of a home with low-energy windows and vinyl siding is also a good investment. You can recuperate up to 75% of the cost of this particular home improvement.

Replace the Garage Door

Upgraded garage doors yield a high return (94%), but you’ve got to choose the correct type. The best garage doors feature durable materials, insulation, and energy-saving finishes. Resilient garage door materials include aluminum, fiberglass, and steel. If you want the look of wood, choose composites, as real wood doesn’t stand up to weather challenges.

Add a Deck in Time for Summer

Adding a wood deck usually yields a slightly larger return (72%) than composite materials (66%) because the upfront cost is cheaper. But you’ll want to check with your local home improvement center because a wood deck can be more expensive to maintain. When it comes to sizing, keep the square footage relevant to the proportions of the yard and home. Generally, 300 square feet is an ideal size. Regardless of the measurements you choose, make sure to include a railing to enhance safety.

Remodel the Kitchen, the Heart of the Home

Kitchen remodels rank at the top for homeowners and buyers alike. However, bigger changes aren’t necessarily better. Smaller remodels garner more returns on investments; they can repay up to 27% more compared to major upgrades. Energy-efficient appliances, updated flooring, modern countertops, and upgraded sinks with contemporary faucets make the best improvements. Modernizing the cabinets also allows for good return of costs. If you can’t replace the cupboards, repaint them and add updated hardware.

Overhaul the Bathroom

Bathroom remodels follow the same guidelines as kitchen renovations. Carefully chosen updates yield larger returns than all-out, upscale remodels. It pays to upgrade counters, fixtures, lighting, tiles, and toilets. You can pick and choose, but it’s a good idea to tackle the oldest items first.

WESTconsin Realty, an affiliate of WESTconsin Credit Union, offers a low seller’s commission rate on qualifying properties and no administrative fees. Full-time, full-service real estate agents are located in each WESTconsin office area throughout western Wisconsin. Find more helpful articles at WESTconsinrealty.com.

The material in this article is provided for your informational purpose only and is not intended to substitute professional advice. If your property is currently listed with a Real Estate Broker, this publication is not intended as a solicitation. 

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