Lynnette Boudet

Articles and Advice

Best ROI Home Improvement Projects

Making home improvements either for your family to enjoy or for the purpose of selling your home is a great idea. But some improvements are a better use of your money than others, so how do you know you're spending your home improvement dollars wisely?

This is an important question if you plan to sell in the near future. You'll want to undertake projects that have a higher return on investment (ROI), ones that will help sell your home at a better price, allowing you to recoup most of if not more than what you put in. In general, focus on projects that leave a big impression on buyers. Here's where you can focus your efforts.

Home maintenance

Buyers expect and assume the basic systems of a house are functioning as intended. They don't want to think about maintenance, at least initially. They know these types of repairs can potentially be costly, and it will impact the selling price.

  • New roof or siding. Buyers realize the importance of these parts of the home and even though it's a more expensive project, they have a high ROI.
  • Windows. Replacing the windows can help curb appeal too. It can also improve the energy efficiency and possibly the security of the home.
  • Paint. It's relatively inexpensive and can be a DIY project. It gives the area a whole new look. You could also paint something like the front door or kitchen cabinets for a high-impact project.   

Curb appeal

When you're selling, the first impression is so important. Improving your curb appeal gets your home noticed and buyers in the door.

  • Landscaping. This can easily be a high ROI project, especially if you plan on doing it yourself. The best landscape designs are simple with clean lines. You don't want buyers to think they would have to do a lot of work to maintain it. Keep everything mowed, trimmed, and edged. Paint the fence, and add mulch. Plants should provide some color.
  • Replace the front door. It can change the look of the entry area and improve energy efficiency.

More useable space

Projects that create additional living space or improve the efficiency and function of an existing space almost always make a big impact.

  • Minor kitchen and bathroom remodels. You recoup more of your investment on a smaller remodel project, so if you can avoid gutting these spaces entirely, do it. Skip the bells and whistles and high-end finishes that can drive the cost up. Painting cabinets and changing out the hardware are a good place to start.
  • Convert an attic to an extra bedroom. An extra bedroom is always a win with buyers. It can increase your selling price quite a bit in most areas.
  • Add a second bathroom. If you can add an extra bathroom to an older home, even a half bath, it's worth the effort. In hot markets, you may even recoup more than 100% of the cost.
  • Create an outdoor living space. Any kind of outdoor living space is in high demand right now. If you don't have one, adding it will definitely pay off. The most basic way to go is a patio, but you could opt for a deck or porch if you want to spend more money.
  • Finish the basement. It doesn't necessarily have to be fully finished and furnished, but enough that buyers can imagine how they might use the space.

Making the most of your home improvement dollars with a high ROI project will really pay off when it's time to sell. You'll make a better impression with buyers and that translates to a better selling price.

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