As buyer preferences change, so do the highest ROI home improvement projects. Not all home improvements add value to a property. Of course, getting potential buyers to accept a higher sales price is not the only reason to remodel your home. Homeowners also invest in improvements to make their lives healthier, safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.
If you do not plan to sell your home, the value of improvements will depend on your individual needs – not the real estate market or buyer demand. For example, many of our clients remodel their kitchens, bathrooms, primary bedrooms and outdoor spaces to help them age in place.
According to our team of Snohomish County remodelers, below are eight of the best ROI home improvements. From repainting the exterior and replacing garage doors to installing energy efficient appliances and updating the kitchen, these remodeling projects should offer a significant return on investment.
8 of the Best ROI Home Improvements
#1 Bring Your Bathroom Up to Date with a Major Bathroom Remodel
One of the most common home improvement projects in the United States is the bathroom remodel. Some choose to conduct a minor bathroom remodel, while others gut the entire space for a true transformation.
The value of a bathroom remodel depends heavily on your needs -- if you do not plan to sell -- and your local market -- if you do plan to sell. In an article for The New York Times, Michael Kolomatsky underscores this. He reminds readers that "your return on investment will be affected by where you live and the scope of your renovation project."
However, Kolomatsky also writes that gut bathroom renovations typically are "worth the money." Referencing statistics from House Method, Kolomatsky explains that in each state, an average bathroom makeover increased a home’s resale value by more than enough to pay for the renovation." Given this, that major bathroom remodel you have considered over the last few years could be a great way to invest in your home.
#2 Add a Brand New Bathroom
Adding a brand-new bathroom can increase your home's functionality while delivering a significant return on investment if you ever choose to sell. In an article for This Old House, Carl Vogel notes that bathroom additions fetch an average 81% ROI -- which is high when compared to other renovations.
Quoting Kermit Baker from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, Vogel writes that "'people buying a house look first at kitchens and baths.'" They also look for extra square footage as this means a bigger living space. As such, adding another bathroom "can be the most costly...[but is] more likely to pay for [itself]."
#3 Make Your Kitchen More Welcoming with a Cosmetic Kitchen Remodel
Unfortunately, a major kitchen remodel might not fetch the same ROI as a major bathroom remodel. However, a minor kitchen remodel should.
Homeowners need not overhaul their entire kitchen to make their money back. In fact, major kitchen remodels typically return a lower percentage of the homeowner's investment than minor remodels do.
The 36th Annual Cost vs. Value Report created by Zonda Media, a housing market research and analytics firm and published by Remodeling Magazine claims a mid-range minor kitchen remodel has a national average ROI of 85.7%, whereas a mid-range major kitchen remodel has a national average ROI of 41.8%. According to this Zillow Seller's Guide, a high-end, luxury kitchen remodel returns an average ROI of just 53.5%. Do not let this be a discouragement to you however, because of all the homeowners in the US, Zillow reports that West Coast homeowners achieve the best ROI from kitchen remodels. The Zillow Seller's Guide quoted above claims that "homeowners in the Pacific region...see the highest minor kitchen remodel ROI at 92.9 percent."
#4 Increase Curb Appeal with a Garage Door Replacement
Replacing your garage door is one of the easiest ways to add more value to your home. It is one of few small home improvements that make a big difference in the curb appeal -- and subsequent value of your property.
According to Oliver Harriett in an article for Bob Vila, "the typical cost of an upscale garage door replacement netted a hefty 98.3 percent ROI on average nationwide." In some markets, homeowners achieved 100% return on investment.
#5 Create the Perfect First Impression with Other Exterior Improvements
Other exterior improvements -- including entry door replacement, garden landscaping, repainted shutters, a power-washed driveway, and updated siding. Each of these improvements boosts your home's curb appeal.
According to Emma Woodword in an article for Homelight, "clients can yield an ROI of 238% for investing an average of $3,467 on curb appeal projects." For example, Woodword notes that "fresh exterior paint adds an estimated 152% ROI, or about $7,600 in resale value."
Making necessary repairs to the home's exterior is a given -- but cosmetic updates make a big difference too. Woodword writes that "new siding or trim often adds about 5% to 10% in value" simply because of how it looks. Similarly, a new entry door can set the tone for a potential buyer's first look at your home.
#6 Install New Windows and Appliances to Improve Energy Efficiency
Depending on the materials, new windows can significantly reduce heat loss during the winter, and A/C loss during the summer. This can make heating and cooling a home much less expensive for the owner. If you live in an area with inclement weather, replacing your home's windows can yield a high ROI.
Installing energy efficient windows is not the only way to limit energy costs for potential buyers and current owners. Replacing old appliances with energy-efficient versions can also offer a high return on investment. Plus, it reduces energy costs if you plan to continue living in your home.
#7 Update the Backyard for Year-Round Entertaining
The back of your house can make as meaningful an impression as the front. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, US homeowners have spent more time relaxing and entertaining outdoors. Landscaping with native plants, building a deck and/or creating a covered patio can all add value while making your home more habitable no matter the season.
Because patios add functional space to your home, they can significantly boost your home's resale value. Landscaping with native plants can help you save money by limiting the amount of time and energy you spend fertilizing and watering your garden.
If planning to sell, consider creating zones in your outdoor space to give buyers an idea of how they could use the backyard.
#8 Switching to an Electric HVAC
Energy efficient homes are more sustainable and less costly to operate. Though it might come as a surprise, upgrading your home's HVAC system can deliver one of the best returns on investment.
In an article for CNBC, Jessica Dickler writes that "only a few projects can even deliver a 100% return on investment, such as converting a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to electric."
This can be a great way to boost your home's value if you plan to sell in the near future, but it can start saving you money right away.
Other High ROI Remodeling Projects
Beyond those listed above, other high ROI home improvement projects include the following:
- Increasing Usable Living Space by Transforming a Dark and Dingy Basement
- Adding Storage with a Day Pantry or Walk-In Closet
- Improve Aesthetics By with New or Refinished Hardwood Floors
- Upgrade the Interior with a Fresh Coat of Paint
Snohomish County Contractors Answer Your FAQs About High ROI Remodels
As an established design/build remodeler in Snohomish County, we often receive questions about which improvements add the most value to Washington State homes. Maybe you have wondered the same ones, or have other questions.
Which remodeling project provides the highest return on investment?
Home improvements that routinely provide the highest return on investment include HVAC upgrades, garage door replacements and minor kitchen remodels, such as a "kitchen refresh".
What remodel adds the most value?
According to Leslie Cook in this article for Money.com, improvements that "boost resale value the most" involve adding livable space and storage. Cook writes that "converting a basement...or attic," renovating closets and adding a new bathroom all add value to a home.
Ready to Start Remodeling?
As noted above, each improvement returns a different percentage of the homeowner's investment. For many homeowners, functionality and livability matter more than eventual resale value.
To create the perfect living space for your family -- or maximize your home's resale value -- work with the qualified design/build team at VanderBeken Remodel.
We get it, you are busy, and honestly we are too. Schedule a time for an introductory call and one of our team members will give you a call at a time that works best for your schedule. Typically the call will last 15-20 minutes. Or, you may contact us here.