Renovations With a High Return

Jennifer De Jesus

When renovating a home for a resale ask, which renovations are likely to improve your home’s value and which solely improve its aesthetic? Unless embarking on a major remodel to completely change your entire home, it’s important to choose renovations with a high return. 

Practical renovations are usually the most effective. Often, buyers will purchase a home with “good bones” over a home that’s cosmetically appealing but lacks functionality. For example, if a roof leaks, the buyer may not be able to overlook this even though the living room has just been fully remodeled. This is because every person has their own unique taste and is thus more willing to revamp a new home stylistically as opposed to having to invest back into the maintenance of their “new” house. That’s why, a replaced roof recoups about 80 percent on a resale, according to a study performed by Remodel Magazine. 

Replacing a home’s siding is another form of practical renovation that offers a high return upon resale, recouping 92.8 percent of its cost. Windows are another solid renovation with a high recoupment rate of about 80 percent. With thicker-paned windows, homes are more insulated and further protected against leaks, which adds to the energy efficiency of the house and the buyer’s confidence in the quality of the home. 

However, not all renovations must solely affect these practical aspects. A kitchen with a small remodel ($15,000 or less) is shown to have recouped 92.9 percent of its value. Minor bathroom remodels will also recoup their investments upon resale, and some sources even project these returns as recouping up to 102 percent of the investment! Because kitchens and bathrooms are rooms that are difficult and expensive to redo, and are also places where people spend a lot of time, adding the right amount of renovations to these rooms can provide you with a fair return. 

Even still, maintenance renovations continue to be the safest for recoupment. Often buyers take a well-maintained home for granted, and learning that there are problems in the fundamentals of a new home can scare them out of a deal. That’s why finding a middle ground between renovations that are both practical and cosmetic are key to improving resale value. 

Adding a wood deck is one of those additions that fits in the sweet spot between being practical and aesthetically pleasing. Having outdoor space in a house is always a huge bonus, and that’s why adding a wooden deck has a recoupment value of 82.8 percent

It’s important to focus on strengthening the fundamentals of a home via maintenance improvements, before focusing on cosmetic upgrades. Making a home look good is often the easiest part of a remodel, while maintaining a strong foundation is one of the hardest. Focusing on “the hard stuff” will help solidify the buyer’s confidence in the quality of the home and in turn you’ll see a high return on your investments. 


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