Renovations that Increase a Home’s Value

All home renovation projects are not created equal. Some add a significant percentage of the cost directly to the home’s value and some not so much. So before you take out that second mortgage and dump it all into remodeling projects, take a moment to read through our list of projects that add the most bang for your buck to the bottom line. Stay tuned to the end for advice on what traps to avoid.

The King of Improvements – The Front Door

According to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, a new front door should be on the top of your renovation tips. The report claims adding the correct front door to your house returns a 96.6 percent increase as a portion of the purchase cost. Think classy and one that fits the style of the house. Don’t forget that a simple paint job might create the same payoff. A new door might not be sexy to think or talk about but it gets the job done.

More Space

Today’s buyer is looking for open space and good flow in a house they buy. quotes Kristin Wellins, Senior Manager of Program Development at ERA Real Estate: “Right now buyers want a wide open floor plan, the living room right off the kitchen. They are into big spaces.” Achieve this by taking out a non-structural wall or the kitchen island. Keep in mind that some people LOVE an island, though. One option is to have a movable version that can be relocated or even hidden away when not in use.

Front Yard

Sprucing up the front yard is about as exciting as painting the front door, but don’t underestimate the value of pruned shrubs, new pavers, colorful flowers, and a fresh mowing. You’ve probably heard the phrase “curb appeal.” The bottom line is that if you don’t have it, don’t expect buyers to give the house a second look. A well-tended yard builds confidence that the inside will be just as thoughtfully cared for.


Remodel research shows that new siding adds a full 92.8 percent of purchase price to the home’s value. Anything over 90 percent is an impressive return. A siding upgrade can turn a dingy, blah exterior into something that grabs the eye. Yes, it could be considered expensive and you may need some heavy construction equipment to help you with some of the heavy lifting but when you add almost the full cost to estimated value, maybe it’s worth the plunge.

Basic Systems

If any of your home’s basic systems aren’t functioning up to par, you’d be wise to spend money toward that end before ponying up thousands for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. We’re talking about plumbing, electrical, heat and air, windows, and the roof. Why so important? Think about it like this. If you were in the market for a new home, would it make a difference if the ceiling leaked, half the outlets didn’t work, and the toilet backed up with every other flush? You bet it would! If you ever plan to sell the thing, rest assured you will never get your full asking price if a major system is faulty.

High Tech Amenities

Homeowners often wonder if it’s worth the cost to spring for a home theater The short answer is it depends. Houses that go for $375,000 and up in the Los Angeles area can forget about selling if they don’t have dedicated media room. A $100,000 house in a senior community in the middle of rural Missouri might think someone had wasted good time and money on the same room. Before deciding, talk to local real estate professionals. Know the market demographics and what is in high demand before taking that particular plunge.

The Bottom Line
We promised a quick discussion about which remodeling projects to avoid. Two to pay attention to are kitchen and bathroom makeovers. While it’s true these are the first places people look when evaluating value, keep an eye on costs before undertaking either project. Don’t spend more than 25 percent of the home’s estimated market price for a new kitchen and stay below 12 percent for a bathroom update. Now get to it, and pump up the value.

David Glenn

David Glenn

David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He occasionally freelance writes about home maintenance and DIY home repair. He’s also knowledgeable about topics like how to improve social presence and building a reputation online.