When working on home improvements, choosing a starting point is the hardest part. With all the possibilities, how do you pick a project that increases home value and doesn’t turn into a money pit? Here’s a look at 13 home upgrades with the best return on investment for a moderately sized house.
Which Areas of the Home Provide the Greatest ROI When Renovated?
You can make cheap upgrades in each room of your home to add value. However, large-scale projects often give you the biggest bang for your buck. Renovating your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom is the perfect place to start. If you’re short on time and money, we’ve provided options for both major and minor remodeling projects.
“Major and minor remodels differ in costs and whether construction is needed. When you introduce construction to a project, it becomes a major renovation — think full kitchen and bathroom remodels that require both demolition and repair. How much you spend depends on what your budget is and what you’re looking to accomplish.”
Elizabeth Dodson, Co-Founder | HomeZada
How Do I Calculate the ROI of My Home Improvement Project?
According to Harvard Business School, you can calculate your net profit by taking the estimated income from a project and subtracting the estimated costs to complete it. Divide that number by your estimated costs and multiply it by 100 to get your ROI percentage, as follows:
Formula: (Net Profit / Estimated Costs) = ROI
How to Increase Your Home Value Room by Room
Renovating your kitchen is the best house upgrade you can make before selling if boosting your home’s value is the goal. Keep reading to see if a minor or major kitchen remodel is the best option for your home.
1. Minor Kitchen Remodel
Return on Investment: 71%
Average Project Cost: $28,279
The kitchen is usually the hub of your home, and remodeling this room is the most cost-effective home improvement you can take on. If your kitchen has a good layout but is just a bit outdated, a minor update may be all you need. Kitchen renovations get expensive fast, so a less-intensive upgrade is a cheap way to increase home value.
Minor Kitchen Remodel Projects Include:
- Refacing the kitchen cabinets with new doors or paint.
- Replacing the oven and cooktop.
- Updating the sink and fixtures.
- Updating the countertop with a cost-effective material like laminate or granite.
“As a DIY project, sanding and painting old cabinets certainly costs a lot less than replacing them.”
Tony Mariotti, CEO and Broker | RubyHome Luxury Real Estate
2. Major Kitchen Remodel
Return on Investment: 56%
Average Project Cost: $80,809
If you have more room in your budget, consider tackling a major kitchen remodel for significant ROI. While more expensive upfront, this project increases home value and ensures your remodel will withstand the test of time. It’s important to note large-scale renovations are also a time commitment. You’ll likely have to change the layout of your kitchen, install top-of-the-line appliances and update your flooring, all of which can add to the time your project takes to complete.
Major Kitchen Remodel Projects Include:
- Adding custom cabinets.
- Installing high-end countertops like marble or quartz.
- Installing light additions and under-cabinet lighting.
- Updating your flooring to quality tile or stone.
Pro Tip: When renovating your kitchen, it’s a good idea to set up another spot in the home for cooking and storing food. Learn what your temporary kitchen should include, along with other tips for surviving a kitchen remodel.
Your bathroom is one of the most-used rooms in your home and a major selling point for potential buyers. Updating your main bathroom is one of the most cost-effective home improvements you can make. Not only is it a major selling point for potential buyers, but it also gives you a chance to add water-saving fixtures that will reduce future utility bills. We have three bathroom remodeling projects for you to consider, depending on the size of your budget.
“Bathrooms that are both modern and functional with spa-like qualities are likely to help a house sell in 2023.”
Denise Madan, Real Estate Agent | HomeLight
3. Minor Bathroom Remodel
Return on Investment: 64%
Average Project Cost: $5,578
There are many budget-friendly ways to update your bathroom, especially if you just need to update the color scheme, upgrade your finishes or replace a few fixtures.
Minor Bathroom Remodel Projects Include:
- Replacing your medicine cabinet.
- Adding more storage space.
- Tiling your walls or floors.
- Updating your lighting fixtures.
4. Major Bathroom Remodel
Return on Investment: 59%
Average Project Cost: $27,164
According to Zillow, a large-scale bathroom remodel is the best home improvement project to add value and improve functionality. But how much value does it add to your home? A major bathroom remodel has a sizeable ROI, and this renovation can pay off for your current life too.
Major Bathroom Remodel Projects Include:
- Replacing the surround around your tub with tile.
- Updating your walls and floors.
- Installing a new toilet.
- Redoing your bathroom vanity.
5. Update Your Bathroom to Increase Accessibility
Return on Investment: 71%
Average Project Cost: $16,393
Making handicap-accessible updates to your main bathroom is a great option to consider when getting ready to sell your home, as it will appeal to retirees. If you’re planning to age in place in your current home, this may be a necessity as well as an additional comfort.
Accessibility Bathroom Remodel Projects Include:
- Moving light switches to sitting level.
- Replacing the door with a 36 inch to 42-inch-wide wheelchair-accessible entry.
- Installing a comfort height toilet with an elongated bowl.
- Installing a curbless shower or a tub with a swinging door.
- Replacing the vanity with an adaptive living vanity and adjustable mirror.
Remodeling your bedroom or building a bedroom suite is a great way to increase home value. Keep reading to learn the ROI of each project and decide which one you want to take on.
6. Bedroom Remodel
Return on Investment: 74%
Average Project Cost: $20,000
Sometimes, a bedroom remodel calls for more than a décor refresh. If you need to do more than replace your bedding and change the color of your walls, renovate your bedroom to add value to your home. Complete the following projects to refresh your room — it’ll pay off in the long run.
Bedroom Remodel Projects Include:
- Refinishing your hardwood floor or putting in new flooring.
- Installing new lighting.
- Adding custom built-ins to your closet to increase storage space.
- Installing crown molding along your ceiling
7. Bedroom Suite Addition
Return on Investment: 53%
Average Project Cost: $175,473
If your home doesn’t have a suite or if your master bedroom is not to your liking, adding a completely new one could be a home upgrade that pays off. Since you spend a lot of time in your bedroom, carefully consider the design of your suite before starting this project.
Bedroom Suite Addition Projects Include:
- Building a foundation and walls if not utilizing an unfinished space like the attic or basement.
- Adding an ensuite bathroom with ceramic tile floors and a double-bowl vanity.
- Replacing your bedroom flooring.
- Building a walk-in closet.
Basement and Attic
Turning your attic or basement into a living space is one of the best house upgrades you can make. See which remodeling project is the best fit for your home.
8. Basement Remodel
Return on Investment: 63%
Average Project Cost: $57,500
Stuck with an unfinished basement? Or maybe you just don’t use yours enough? You can easily remodel your basement to fit your lifestyle. Tackle these projects to increase home value, whether you’re converting your basement into an apartment or setting up a gym.
Basment Remodel Projects Include:
- Finishing the walls, floors and ceiling.
- Insulating your basement.
- Changing the layout of your basement.
- Updating the lighting and plumbing.
9. Attic Remodel
Return on Investment: 56%
Average Project Cost: $49,438
If you don’t have a finished attic and want to make yours functional, converting your attic into a room is a cost-effective home improvement. Plus, the outcomes for this project are endless. You can turn your attic into a bedroom or living room, or simply use it for extra storage.
Attic Remodel Projects:
- Adding insulation.
- Installing ducts and vents.
- Adding stairs, walls and flooring.
- Updating the electrical wiring.
You can easily increase home value by updating the outside of it. If the front of your house is already in good shape, consider replacing your exterior doors or focusing on backyard projects.
“Another aspect of a home that can provide a high return on investment is upgrading your outdoor space to make it feel like a personal oasis. This area has become increasingly important, especially when families are spending more time at home. According to HomeLight data, the average cost to install an inground pool is $42,480, but the price can sneak into the $100,000- $150,000 range for an upscale version. Outdoor kitchens are another great option if you’re interested in adding a nonwater luxury feature. Forty-six percent of agents say homebuyers want to see an outdoor kitchen (grill, sink, fridge) in an outdoor space post-COVID. It’s estimated that a $14,000 outdoor kitchen project can recoup about 71% at resale. Regardless of the renovation, it’s important to keep the upgrades tasteful and within budget, so sellers can get the highest return on their investment.”
Denise Madan, Real Estate Agent | HomeLight
10. Wood Deck Addition
Return on Investment: 65%
Average Project Cost: $19,248
Building a wood deck will add value to your home and make your backyard more appealing to buyers. Plus, you can easily spruce up your deck by staining it a different color or setting up patio furniture. Already have a wood deck but need to replace it? Read our handy guide on tearing down a deck so you can build a new one from scratch. You can also check out our tips for maintaining a wood deck year-round.
11. Vinyl Siding Replacement
Return on Investment: 82%
Average Project Cost: $11,506
Need to repair your vinyl siding? Looking to update the color of your house? Replace your siding to increase home improvement ROI. According to HomeLight, you should set aside at least two weeks to complete this project, to both remove vinyl siding and reinstall it.
12. Front Door Replacement
Return on Investment: 75%
Average Project Cost: $1,500-$3,250
The amount you spend on replacing your front door depends on the type of door you install. Wood entry doors usually cost between $1,500 and $2,500, while fiberglass doors range from $2,000 to $3,250. Regardless of which door you choose, you can expect an ROI of at least 75%. Not to mention, a new front door is an effective way to boost curb appeal and attract potential buyers.
“When considering the front of your home, think like a pizza delivery driver or an emergency worker… is your home easy to find? Are the house numbers prominent? Is the walkway well lit? Our real estate team almost always freshens up the outside of the home with bright lighting, oversized house numbers and a fresh coat of on the front door. Flowers and a cheery doormat will complete the look. Welcome home!”
Dana Rice, Realtor | Dana Rice Group
13. Garage Door Replacement
Return on Investment: 103%
Average Project Cost: $4,302
Replacing your garage door is a cost-effective home improvement project that provides significant ROI. Plus, a new garage door adds curb appeal and makes your home energy efficient. This is especially true if your garage doubles as a living space. We recommend shopping for doors that have weatherstripping, as they will keep the temperature exactly where you want it. Check out our handy tips for keeping your garage warm and comfortable.
Can I Spend Too Much on a Remodel?
It’s possible to spend too much on a remodel, especially if you’re adding upgrades that your neighborhood’s market can’t support. Do your research to see what buyers in your area are looking for, and how much they’ll pay for certain renovations. Then, you can build a budget that helps you stay on track with just the improvements that will provide a healthy return on your investment. Use our home renovation budget guide to determine the size of your budget and pick a renovation project.
“If you’re updating your home with plans to sell it, I would stick to the ‘minor repair’ items. Here is the exception — I remodeled the kitchen and primary bath in my own home a few years before selling. As an experienced realtor, I knew people paid a premium for a ‘fully remodeled’ home. So, I made the decision to remodel the remaining bathrooms that had never been updated. I listed my home as a ‘finished product’ and received multiple offers the first day it went on the market. A ‘finished product’ is always the most enjoyable home to live in and the easiest to sell.”
Nancy Tallman, Real Estate Strategist | Inside Park City Real Estate
Sell Your House to Cash In on Your Home Improvement ROI
Now that you’ve increased the value of your home, put it on the market. Check out the following posts to get started.