Home Upgrades that Really Pay Off

The best improvements to recoup your investment

There's nothing quite as exciting as a good home project. Pouring over Pinterest and design magazines - dreaming up picture-perfect spaces. The prospect of hum-drum areas becoming new and improved.. And the, oh so, satisfying before and afters. But before you get wild on demo day, it's a good idea to understand which upgrades will recoup your investment. Whether sprucing up for resale or for your own enjoyment, take a look at the projects that equate to money in the bank.

Focus on upgrades, rather than a major remodel.

According to Remodel Magazine, basic home maintenance always wins when getting ready to sell your home. Clean up walls and trim with a fresh coat of paint, repair screens, fix leaky faucets and remedy windows and doors that stick. General maintenance and systems are often taken for granted - be sure to keep records of any replacements or routine maintenance to share with buyers. They'll appreciate the peace of mind.

Home by KMB


Bathrooms remain a top priority for buyers and generally offer huge returns, often more than 100%. But be mindful of current trends. Today's buyers prefer a walk-in shower over a soaking tub. For older homes with only one bath, you'll see a greater return by adding another bath instead of remodeling the one you've got.


According to Home Advisor, you can expect to recoup an average of 62.9% of installation cost in increased home value - and up to 96% on the east coast. Buyers will love knowing that they won't have that expense in the near future.

Studio McGee


The kitchen is a great place to cut costs, but focusing on upgrades rather than a complete remodel. Paint cabinets (it's best to let the professionals handle this), replace fixtures, sink and countertops and swap out old appliances for energy-efficient models. According to Remodel Magazines Cost vs Value report, a minor kitchen remodel, averaging around $15,000, returns 92.9% at resale.

Brick & Batten


If your home's exterior isn't warm and welcoming, buyers aren't going to walk through the front door. Luckily, exterior upgrades net big returns. A new garage door retains 90% of its value, new windows and front door retain about 70% if their value and new siding recoups 92.8% of cost. And don't underestimate the power of a coat of paint. Spruce up railings, shutters and the front door at a minimal cost.


While this does fall under the category of major remodel, an addition is a great option in today's housing market when you need more space, but can't find a home to suit your needs. According to a 2005 study for the National Association of Realtors, 1,000 additional square feet boosts sale price by 30%. Just be mindful not to price your home out of the neighborhood. You can be on the upper end of comparable home values, but you don't want to be the leading value.

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