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Top 10 Home Improvements That Add Value

a woman with money in her hand cheering

We know you don’t want to just maintain your home. You also want to add value to it. After all, your home is the place you live, sleep, and perhaps work – and it’s also your greatest investment.

To help you make the most of your home efforts, here are the best home improvements that add value to your home, ranked by the value they deliver.

(Please note: Home improvement cost and value vary by state and region. Before starting any home renovation or improvement project, complete the necessary research and create a budget to best manage your project. Get tips for completing your home improvement projects in the vipHomeLink app!)

#1 – New wood flooring 

an elegant home dining room with newly installed hardwood floors
Hardwood floors yield the most value for your renovation dollars.

Recouped cost: 106%

Average value: $5,000

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) found new hardwood flooring to be one of the best upgrades that improve home value, and The State of the Home Spending survey reported more than a quarter of all home projects last year was a flooring project.

Installing new hardwood floors costs approximately $4,700, but even if you choose to refinish existing hardwood floors, you’ll still break even at resale.

#2 – Minor bathroom remodels

a recently refreshed bathroom has new fixtures, shower curtain, and even new slippers
Skip the redesign.

Recouped cost: 102%

Average value: $10,700

You’ve probably heard the phrase – kitchen and bathrooms sell a home. When it comes to upping the value of yours, that can also be true. According to HGTV, a minor home remodel can set you back about $10,500 for new fixtures, toilet, vanity, etc., but upon resale, this is one of the renovations that improve your home’s value the most.

If you’re looking to save some money, then look to re-glaze the tub with a new finish rather than a replacement. You also re-caulk the tub yourself. 

#3 – Curb appeal upgrade

a well-maintained home has a well-manicured garden in the front of their home
Never underestimate the power of amazing curb appeal.

Recouped cost: 100%

Average value: $5,000

If you’re looking to resell your home, you may have a few as eight seconds to wow a potential home buyer. Make those seconds count by upgrading your curb appeal.

Spend some dough on landscaping. Get your driveway paved by a professional and add a new coat to your home’s exterior. If you’re not looking to move, then at least your home will be the envy of your neighbors. 

#4 – Minor kitchen remodel 

a newly renovated kitchen has new appliances, carpet, and countertops
Give your kitchen a refresh.

Recouped cost: 98.5%

Average value: $15,000 – $23,000

Before getting a minor kitchen model, we want to warn you – different realtors, contractors, and other home pros argue about this remodeling project. We recommend if you have a kitchen with little square footage, a minor remodel can help increase the value of your home. (Reface cabinets and drawers, and add new appliances, fixtures, and flooring.)

If you have a large kitchen with miles of cabinets, elaborate fixtures, and luxurious countertops – a kitchen upgrade might be needed but isn’t going to increase your selling point. 

#5 – Garage door replacement 

a yellow and brown house is well-kept and has a garage door right in the front
For safety reasons, you may need a new garage door now.

Recouped cost: 97.5%

Average value: $3,600

If your garage door is more than 20 years old, you need to install a new one immediately. New garage doors will have safety features that have been mandated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent child injuries and even death.

If your garage door is cracked or rusted and needs to be replaced, you’ll upgrade your home’s safety and recoup most of the investment. Remember to call your insurance agent, though. Choosing the right door may increase the safety of your home and lower your premium! You’ll also see an increase in savings and value with better energy efficiency and lower utility bills.

#6 – Manufactured stone veneer 

a blue house with white trim has gray stones near the foundation
Give your home a classic stone look for less.

Recouped cost: 94.9%

Average value: $8,449

Manufactured stone veneer enhances your curb appeal and your interior design with an upscale feel and tone. While stone itself can be expensive, manufactured stone veneer provides homeowners with a less expensive option that maintains the beauty and texture of natural stone. It is also easier to install, though paint-thinners, de-icing salts, and certain cleaning supplies can damage it. Know how to care for your manufactured stone veneer before choosing to install it. 

#7 – New siding 

a Cape Cod house has green vinyl siding, giving it a well-maintained look
Judge a home by its siding.

Recouped cost: 74.7%

Average value: $14,359

Back to that ever-important curb appeal, replacing your vinyl siding can earn you almost three-fourths of your investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. If you have fiber-cement siding, which is more expensive, the average recoup cost is a bit higher at 77 percent. The key is to keep your vinyl siding looking spiffy longer.

Clean it at least once a year to get rid of any mold that’s accumulated. Most experts suggest cleaning your siding by hand with a cloth, a vinyl-siding cleaner, and a soft-bristle brush. 

a homeowner uses a pressure washer to clean their composite deck
Pressure wash your vinyl siding (and deck)!

Some homeowners opt to use a pressure washer, which can be rented at any big box store, to save time. Just make sure to read the directions and take extra care. These machines can be dangerous in inexperienced hands and can damage your siding.

Learn more about pressure washing and taking care of your vinyl siding with vipTIPs, available in the vipHomeLink app! Download the app today on your smart device and tackle the best home improvements that add value!

#8 – Window replacement 

a window professional using a drill to install a new window
New windows can lower your heating bills!

Recouped cost: 72.3%

Average value: $17,641

While your recouped cost has dropped, replacing double-hung windows with insulated, low-E vinyl windows is one the home improvements that add value in more ways than one! It helps not only to increase your energy efficiency but also your curb appeal.

Low-E windows reflect sunlight rather than allowing heat to overwhelm your home. While sunlight won’t heat your home’s interior during the winter months with these windows, you won’t lose the heat created by your furnace either. You’ll also boost your home’s value when it’s time to sell. 

#9 – Entry door replacement 

an affluent house has columns that outlook the thick, wooden front door
A front door makes a statement.

Recouped cost: 68.8%

Average value: $1,881

Here’s why you should make a new entrance! A new door may not recoup as much of the cost as other projects, but it’s important for a variety of reasons – from energy efficiency to home security to curb appeal. Plus, the NAR found that homeowners who replace their front door have 79 percent greater desire to be at home. Sixty-seven percent enjoy being home more, and 69 percent feel a sense of accomplishment after installing a new front door. That’s an upgrade that improves home value!

#10 – Adding a deck 

a large deck is attached to a green house that's situated in the middle of the woods
Get your outdoor on.

Recouped cost: 66.8%

Average value: $19,856

Who doesn’t love a good outdoor living space? In fact, deck or porch additions accounted for 14 percent of all home projects in 2020. If you add a wooden deck to your home, you’re likely to recoup more of your investment – 72 percent – though a composite deck will cost more and has a lower recoup cost rate. (Composite decks also require less maintenance, making one of the best home improvements that add value.)

With nearly 86 percent of people staying home more, why not make every part of your home – even the outdoor space – more enjoyable?

Before starting a project… 

two homeowners talk to a contractor in a utility closet
Talk to experts before starting any project.

When searching “how to make my house worth more,” you’ll want to contact your real estate agent or a contractor. They’ll look at your house and provide specific feedback. You may find what adds value to your house may be different than this list. Home buyers in your area may be looking for different floor plans or even a house with smart home technology. Talk to experts who know your home and the market to find out the upgrades that improve home value. 

Complete even more home improvements that add value to your home

two cell phones in front of an affluent blue home with the vipHomeLink dashboard up on the screens
vipHomeLink can help!

vipHomeLink can help! The more you care for your home, the more value it has. That’s how we approached the creation of the Money Meter, a member-exclusive feature of our digital home management app.

The Money Meter quantifies all the home maintenance activities and your effort, and provides an amount (from $ to $) to highlight how much you’ve invested in maintaining the home. You’ll see upgrades that improve home value to your home and all the value you’ve added to your home, simply by taking better care of it.

Save time and money and gain peace of mind with vipHomeLink. Subscribe today with a monthly or annual membership. 

 

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