Top 6 Equity-Building Home Improvements

This time of year finds homeowners flocking to big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes for everything from nifty to dispensers to brand new kitchens; before you blow the bank (or your sizeable commission-free TRELORA savings) on granite counters or a bathtub the size of a swimming pool, learn which home improvements actually net homeowners the biggest return on investment.

The list may surprise you!

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2016 Core vs. Value Report:

6 and 4: A New Front Door

6: Updating your front entry door with a fiberglass model will set you back a little more than $3,000 in most places, with a return rate of 82% when you sell your home.

4: A steel entry door is significantly cheaper at just $1335 on average, and the return rate is even higher at 91%. (This more affordable // highly sellable options gets our thumbs up!)

5: Minor Kitchen Remodel - $20,000 national average

You knew this one would be on the list. What you might not know is while a minor kitchen remodel is likely to recoup an 83% return on investment, a major kitchen overhaul (coming in at a whopping $60K on average!) will probably only bring a 65% return. Kitchens are important - they sometimes make the sale; but don’t overspend. And if your home has 4 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a middle-of-the-road kitchen? Leave the kitchen be and add a bathroom, especially if you plan to live in this house for several years. Buyers can live with a ho-hum kitchen, but many family buyers won’t even bother to look at a home with just one bathroom.  

3: Garage Door Replacement

With an average national price tag of just over $1600 and a return rate of nearly 92%, replacing a dated or unattractive garage door with a newer version is a good home improvement bet and can change the entire character of your curb appeal. If replacement isn’t in the budget, consider painting the door (do it right and hire a pro if you’re not up for it) or adding window panes - real or faux.

2: Manufactured Stone Veneer

This exterior element is a popular option in suburban Denver, adding a rugged, natural appeal to homes that might otherwise read as “boring suburban square.” The cost of this feature is around $7,500 on average, and you can expect to recoup about 93% of your investment. If you are considering an overall curb appeal upgrade, spending another $2500 on landscaping for a total investment of $10K could give your home a major exterior facelift that could result in excellent future returns, and you’ll enjoy pulling into the driveway every day when you’ve got a great looking house to come home to.

1: Fiberglass Attic Insulation

Coming in as the UNsexiest possible renovation category of all time (and new to the list this year) is fiberglass attic insulation. You know - the paper-backed cotton candy looking concoction that’ll make you itch if you touch it (because fiberglass), but keeps your home cozy and your heating and cooling bills in line. The average cost of adding fiberglass fill on top of existing attic insulation to an insulation value of R-30 is just under $1300, but the return rate is an impressive 117% within a year of installation. Not planning a move anytime soon? It’s still a good investment, since you’ll save on utilities year after year while you live in the home.

If you are contemplating a home renovation, spend time perusing the 2016 Core vs. Value Report. You can search for home renovation project information in your region of the country to find out what consumers where you live are paying (on average) for a kitchen or bathroom remodel and other projects, and how much you stand to gain, based on current sales figures in your area. This is an excellent resource for making sure the resources you spend on your home are not only improving your daily living - but helping you grow your home’s equity over time.