8 Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off Big

Photo (cc) by La Citta Vita

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

9231949727_e6b103f3a1_k

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.

2. Replacing siding

4657446718_dbfcd619ea_b

Replacing the siding on your home not only improves its appearance, but also can boost energy efficiency. If you choose vinyl or other siding products with permanent color, gravitate toward neutral shades that will still be classic year after year.

Vinyl siding replacement costs an average of $12,013 and returns 80.7 percent.

3. Improving the basement

6920790189_7fe8664340_b

Few things turn off buyers faster than the smell of a damp basement. If your home’s basement is prone to moisture accumulation, leaks or flooding, call in a professional. Perhaps a simple sealant or patch can solve the problem without a huge budget impact.

However, if a new exterior drainage system is required, that could become pricey.

Although a finished basement will help sell a home, the single most important improvement you can make to the basement is creating an environment that’s clean, dry and ready for further upgrades.

But if you do want to go all out, a full basement remodel costs about $65,442 and will give sellers a 72.8 percent return on investment.

4. Upgrading the kitchen

13972112313_733d068cc7_k

Buyers really do focus on kitchens and bathrooms, and upgrades in these areas pay off consistently. As with any remodeling project, homeowners can choose the level of time, expense and energy they want to devote to a kitchen remodel.

If you’re on a tight budget, keep things simple. Make sure that appliances are in good working order, countertops aren’t chipped or stained, the walls have a fresh coat of paint, and basic fixtures like lights and faucets are updated.

The average minor kitchen remodel costs $19,226 and has an average payback of 79.3 percent.

5. Remodeling a bathroom

16596466933_ee1d788f00_k

Like kitchens, bathroom upgrades provide a solid return.

If your budget is limited, try cost-conscious solutions like resurfacing an existing tub or sink, installing new flooring, upgrading faucets, adding a deluxe shower head, or splurging on a glass tile backsplash. Small improvements done in a classic and well-coordinated style can make a big impression.

Typically costing $16, 724, you can expect a return of 70 percent.

6. Adding a patio/deck

16885870953_396fdfbd1c_k

Decks provide an attractive transition between inside and outside. Especially for smaller houses, well-designed patios and decks can provide much-needed extra space for dining, entertaining and relaxing.

A composite deck addition averages $15,912 and has a 68 percent return on investment.

A wood deck addition averages $10,048 and has an 80.5 percent return.

7. Replacing old windows

4483321906_1dfdac9875_b

Replacing old windows improves the look and energy-efficiency of a home. New windows let potential buyers check off a major to-do from their home improvement list and can be a big selling point.

Sellers should pay attention to the details when choosing replacement windows and honor the architecture, period and style of their home. Inside, vinyl replacement window finishes should complement existing wood colors.

Vinyl window replacement averages $11,198 and returns 72.9 percent.

Wood window replacement averages $11,341 and returns 78.8 percent.

8. Landscaping

8403317831_74c195d676_k

Your yard is a key part of your home’s curb appeal, and for would-be buyers, it provides clues (whether accurate or not) about how well you’ve cared for the home.

If you’re on a limited budget and need to buy and plant strategically, begin by approaching your home from the street to the front door. What areas do you notice first? What might potential buyers be immediately attracted to or disappointed by? What details can be improved upon with materials or supplies you already own?

Focus on simple projects you can do yourself. Plant climate-appropriate perennials that add beauty year after year, design clean borders filled with mulch, and prune existing trees and shrubbery.

New trees and shrubbery not only will freshen the look of your home, they also will help prevent erosion, slow storm-water runoff, filter pollutants, offer shade in the summer, and provide a home for small wildlife.

Which of these projects would you consider when selling your home? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail
5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail

Here’s how to keep unwanted mail from clogging your mailbox and trash can.

12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier
12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier

These products on Amazon will ease worries and simplify your routine.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages

With bipartisan support, this bill could help millions of workers and retirees boost or conserve their retirement savings.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Everyday Items About to Get More Expensive
7 Everyday Items About to Get More Expensive

Prices hikes are on the way for some essential goods.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target

No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it’s smart to shop elsewhere.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores
8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores

For one expert, these secondhand bargains stand out from the rest.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Retirees can dial back the intensity of work while continuing to bring in a paycheck.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

11 Foods That Can Keep for Years
11 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Selling Your Stuff? Don’t Fall for These 5 Negotiating Tricks
Selling Your Stuff? Don’t Fall for These 5 Negotiating Tricks

Don’t let buyers fleece you — whether you’re selling via a yard sale or Facebook Marketplace.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.