8 Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off Big

As the housing market heats up, the right renovation can be the difference maker that leads to a sale. Here are some changes that tend to recoup a large percentage of your investment.

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For millions of Americans, a home will be the biggest investment of their lives. So, when it’s time to sell, it’s smart to take steps to optimize the return on that investment.

With the real estate market on a steady climb back to solid ground, more people are feeling comfortable enough to explore the option of selling. If you’re flirting with the idea of listing your home, it’s important to outshine the competition.

Here are eight home improvement investments that offer sellers the highest return, with all figures coming from a 2015 Remodeling magazine survey:

1. Repainting


A coat of paint gives you a lot of bang for your home-improvement buck. Painting a room is economical, and it is a project most folks can handle without hiring a contractor.

If you’re selling, focus on rich neutral colors inside the home. It’s OK to push beyond the standard colors of builder’s beige and off-white. With a little experimentation and a keen eye, browns, greens and grays can become part of a contemporary neutral color scheme that will highlight the best features of your home and impress potential buyers.

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  • bigpinch

    I’m all about DIY home improvement. The average home-owner (or, even, renter) can save a lot of money, and improve one’s environment, by putting in a little sweat equity where you live. There are a lot of things you can do to improve a living space whether you own the property or not. But, you have to be smart about it.
    For example, when I was much younger, in the early 1970’s, I rented four different houses, over several years, on the same street in south Austin, Texas, that were owned by the same aspiring slum lord. He didn’t want to spend a dime on the maintenance of his rental properties and I was working a lot of construction jobs, all of which gave me access to left-over building material.
    I re-carpeted, re-painted, and re-constructed four houses on that street. I used some of my free time and free materials to improve the space in which I was living. I moved from one house to the next and always with an upgrade in my situation to the point that I was living in a three-bedroom house, with a million dollar panoramic view of all of the iconic views of Austin for no more than $100.00 per month, rent. The land lord rented each successive house to the next tenant for more than what he was charging me. He, finally, realized my worth, after a couple of years, and quit trying to raise my rent.
    That may sound unusual (and I admit that it may be) but my point is that a willingness to swing a hammer can result in a substantial monetary gain.

    • Robert Buchko

      Agree. Most folks let themselves be intimidated. Even larger projects can be DIY if planned properly. It’s easier than ever now, with professionals posting how-to videos online. At a townhouse I recently sold, my wife and I painted everything, cut and installed laminate flooring, installed new floorboards, installed a new bathroom vanity, redid all the kitchen sink plumbing, installed new faucets, removed a kitchen peninsula (relocating the dishwasher to along the wall) and replaced it with an island, installed granite countertops (we did have help from a friend who was a pro on that one), added several retaining walls outside, and poured an 8×8′ concrete slab and built a shed on it.

  • Jim Wiggins

    Please, don’t ever put laminate flooring in a bathroom.

    • Robert Buchko

      I’m really hoping they meant to type linoleum.

  • MrKnowitall

    By “Pay Off Big”, I would expect a return in excess of my investment. But, as I suspected, the article does not deliver the goods, where return on investment figures are provided they indicate your investment in your house is likely to lose money.

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