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Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off

Classic home remodeling doesn't always offer the top returns

Best Home Improvment Investments


When it comes to home improvement, upgrades may have a better ROI than homeowners think.

If you're like many people 50 or older, your biggest asset may not be your 401(k) or IRA. It's your house. And if you've been thinking of cashing out to downsize or move to a less costly region, you'll want to maximize your gain.

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That means laying out money to give the place the curb appeal it needs to sell quickly and at the highest possible price — which can be money very well spent.

According to the 2016 Remodeling magazine Cost vs. Value survey, the average return on home-improvement projects was 6.7 percent higher than it was a year earlier, handily beating the inflation rate of 1.4 percent.

Simple replacements can give you a better return than major remodeling projects — about 4 percent more, on average. Manufactured stone-veneer siding and front door replacement, for example, have better returns on investment than kitchen and bath projects.

See also: Avoid costly repairs to household items

Returns will vary by region. Where home prices are high and job growth is strong, you can count on a higher payback, says Craig Webb, editor of Remodeling.

Nationally, the average return at resale for the 30 projects surveyed was 64 percent (up from 62 percent in 2015), or $64 for every $100 spent, assuming the home was sold within a year.

9 Improvements Worth the Money

(Percent of the project you recoup, on average)

  • Insulate the attic: 117%
  • Replace the entry door: 91%
  • Refresh the kitchen: 83%
  • Get new siding: 75%
  • Build a wood deck: 75%
  • Replace the roof: 72%
  • Remodel the basement: 70%
  • Add a family room: 68%
  • Renovate the bathroom: 66%

— Image courtesy of Chris Philpot. Click image to enlarge.