If you’ve ever watched shows like HGTV’s Income Property, you know that a good renovation can substantially increase the value of your house, over and above what you paid for the renovation. However, some renovations have a better return per dollar spent than others. From watching those HGTV and other home improvement shows, you might think that remodeling your bathroom or kitchen would be the way to go. But while those projects do add value, work on the exterior of your home actually has the greatest return on investment. If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, consider the following most cost effective home improvement projects:
Front (entry) door replacement – A new front door can cost an average of $1,000 to $3,500, depending on the material and style. A door at the lower end of the price range can change the look of the property, and greatly increase curb appeal, while still keeping your expenses down.
Exterior siding replacement – If your house is older, you can recoup over 70% of the cost of replacing the exterior siding with a modern material like fiber-cement siding or foam-backed vinyl siding when you sell your home. However, at $10,000 or more, this is a more expensive project than replacing the front door.
Garage door replacement – Garage doors cost about the same as front doors, and can also improve the look of your property.
New wood deck – A new (or redone) wood deck can add vast appeal to the outdoor space of your house. At an approximate cost of $10,000 or more for a new deck, this can be an expensive addition, but a nice amenity to have.
Minor kitchen remodel – You might be tempted to gut your kitchen and build your dream kitchen from scratch, but it will be easier to recoup your cost if you opt for an upgrade in the $15,000 to $20,000 range instead of a total remodel. That means splurging on high-end appliances that can catch a buyer’s eye, new countertops, and resurfacing the existing cabinets.
Minor bathroom remodel – As with kitchen remodels, you’ll want to exercise restraint and simply upgrade your existing bathroom. With the struggling economy, most buyers are not looking for luxuries like spa tubs and heated towel racks. Instead, consider replacing a built-in sink with an expensive freestanding unit, which can open up and modernize a small space, or simply replacing the faucet and giving the bathroom a fresh coat of paint.
New attic bedroom – Perhaps the most expensive improvement project on this list, a new attic bedroom is becoming a sought-after feature, especially if it includes an en suite bathroom. It’s an easy way to add living space to your home, and usually cheaper than remodeling a basement.
Window replacement – Like external door and siding replacement projects, new windows can give your house instant curb appeal.
New hardware and fixtures – The easiest home improvement projects that can increase your home’s selling price may also be the cheapest since you can likely do them yourself even if you’re not very handy. Projects like painting, and swapping out hardware such as doorknobs and light fixtures, can dramatically enhance your home’s appeal to buyers.