When you’re looking to increase the value of the home that you’re planning to sell, it’s smart to know which home renovations will pay you back. Not all renovations are worth the cost, and when it comes to selling a home, most sellers want to invest in projects that generate higher returns.

Remodeling Magazine has released its Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, which analyzes most common renovations home sellers can make and what specific projects may offer the highest return on investment (ROI).

To compile this data, the magazine asked RemodelMAX, a software company that estimates construction project costs, to estimate the cost of 21 popular remodeling projects in 149 different markets nationwide – based on the same materials, number of hours and workers. The magazine then gave these numbers to real estate professionals, who estimated how much the home’s value would increase after the project was completed within a year of the sale.

What projects have the best shot at improving your home’s value

The cost of the projects included in this survey ranged from $1,471 (entry door replacement) to $256,229 (master suite addition), and the average payback in a home’s resale value was 56 percent of the cost of the remodel. The ROI varied widely depending on the type of the project.

Here are some of the home improvement projects that delivered the biggest returns, based on nationwide averages.

Garage door replacement Cost: $3,470 Resale value: $3,411 ROI: 98.3 percent

According to the report, installing a garage door replacement is one of the best ways to increase home value. A new, functioning garage door can not only improve curb appeal, but also help improve insulation, potentially lowering a home’s energy bill.

In the survey, old garage doors were replaced with four-section garage doors of high tensile strength steel, with two coats of paint, sitting on new heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks.

Siding replacement – manufactured stone veneer Cost: $8,221 Resale value: $7,986 ROI: 97.1 percent

Replacing some siding with a manufactured stone veneer can create a “high-end” look to your home. Manufactured stone veneer refers to siding that resembles real stone and usually costs less than natural stone. This material weighs less and is easier to work with than real stone, making it advantageous for builders to use. In the study, a 300-square-foot strip vinyl siding from the attached garage to the corner of the side addition was replaced with manufactured stone veneer, framing the door and entranceway of the house and giving the home a more polished, refined look.

Entry door replacement (steel) Cost: $1,471 Resale value: $1,344 ROI: 91.3 percent

First impressions make a big difference. Improving the entry door can dramatically enhance curb appeal and elevate the overall look of the home. A steel door offers a polished look and gives potential buyers an impression that the rest of the home is as new and modern.

Additionally, steel doors are usually more durable than wood doors and have layers to help resist forced entry. Since they’re also known to be extremely durable and insulating, they will serve as good selling points to potential home buyers.

Minor kitchen remodel Cost: $21,198 Resale value: $17,193 ROI: 81.1 percent

Many buyers view the kitchen as the true heart of a home, which is why kitchen remodels generate a high return. An upgraded attractive kitchen is the room of your home that can make or break the sale for many potential buyers.

In this study, a dated 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 feet of cabinetry and countertops was given a remodel. It included replacing flooring, repainting trim, adding wall coverings, replacing cabinet fronts with new shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts, adding an energy-efficient cooktop/oven range and refrigerator, replacing countertops and installing a mid-priced sink and a faucet.

bathroom renovations that improve home value

Bathroom remodel Cost: $19,134 Resale value: $13,422 ROI: 70.1 percent

A bathroom is an essential part of any home, but one that is often overlooked. When buyers tour homes for sale, the kitchen and bathrooms are often on top of their list of rooms to have a close look at.

The bathroom remodel in this study included a new ceramic tile floor, replacing all the fixtures including the tub, adding a vanity counter with an integral sink and recessed medicine cabinet with light.


Based on the projects surveyed for the report, replacement jobs offer the most bang for your buck. The top replacement jobs on the survey list were all exterior projects (e.g. garage door, siding, entry door) and cost significantly less, averaging $13,197 as opposed to the $69,630 average cost for the remodeling jobs (e.g. bathroom or kitchen remodel). As a result, external replacement jobs have a higher return on investment than remodeling projects (76 versus 56 percent).

Final thoughts

If you’re a home owner who’s considering investing in some upgrades to increase the resale value of your home, you’ll want to prioritize the projects that offer the most bang for the buck. Examine your finances and evaluate what you’re able to pay for. If you decide to make changes, you’ll want to time the renovations accordingly to ensure that your updates will be completed when you’re ready to sell.

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