HGTV experts rank the top 9 home improvements, plus offer tips on maximizing the return at resale. Consider a home equity loan with DFCU Financial to finance these updates and earn Cash Back at the same time.
#1 Minor Bathroom Remodel
Average return at resale: 102 percent
- It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. You’ll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.
- If you can pipe a child’s name on a birthday cake, you can re-caulk a tub. Use a softener like CAULK-BE-GONE® to get rid of the old caulk.
- If your old tub is too large to fit out the door, re-glaze it for a like-new finish. Cost: $300 to $400.
- Apply a fresh coat of paint. For damaged walls, spray on texture provides quick coverage.
- Old shower doors ruin any bathroom. Removing or replacing them adds the illusion of space.
Average return at resale: 100 percent
- The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and another $1,465 on a designer, according to the American Nursery and Landscape Association.
- Local garden centers often offer free design services, or ask the neighbors what works for them.
- Sod costs about 30 to 35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000 sq. ft. yard would cost about $1,500 to sod. Budget for a delivery fee if you buy less than 1,000 sq. ft.
- A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property.
#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel
Average return at resale: 98.5 percent
- A minor kitchen remodel averages $14,913 and brings in $14,691 at resale, a recoup rate of 98.5%. Go for the minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update and not a drastically different floor plan.
- A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of re-facing for cabinets and drawers, a new wall oven, cooktop, sink and fixtures, laminate countertops and resilient flooring.
- If your home is worth more than $500,000 go with stone or trendy glass countertops.
- Cover the old vinyl with floor leveler so the pattern doesn’t bleed through. You can’t put a second layer of vinyl on if the subfloor is below-grade concrete.
- Brighten up the kitchen by giving old wood cabinets’ new character. Just sand and paint — it’s a whole lot less expensive than buying new ones.
#4 Exterior Improvements
Vinyl Siding, Paint, Updated Front Entry
Average return at resale: 95.5 percent
- The average national cost to replace 1,250 sq. ft. of vinyl siding: $7,239. Average return: $6,914, with a recoup rate of 95.5%.
- A gallon of paint covers 400 sq. ft. of house.
- Paint color cards take the guesswork out of choosing the right color combination for doors, trim and siding.
- Upscale, fiber-cement siding costs $10,393 and returns $10,771 at resale, an even better recoup rate of 103.6%.
- For an updated look, remove old awnings from over windows and doors.
- Swap damaged wrought iron railings for real wood supports for a more inviting entry.
- Give a bare, charmless porch a dramatic makeover by adding a pergola and columns.
#5 Major Bathroom Remodel
Average return at resale: 93.2 percent
- A major bathroom remodel involves expanding an existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom, relocating and replacing the tub and toilet and adding designer sinks and faucets, a linen closet, lighting, a ceramic tile floor and exhaust fan for a cost of $26,052, which brings in $24,286 at resale.
- Start at the bottom. Dated flooring can seriously drag down value. Replace old floors with fresh tile in ceramic or stone for a solid payoff. Buy extra tiles in case you break a few during installation. Set some tiles aside at the end of the job in case you need to make repairs in the future.
- Give an old vanity a facelift with a new countertop for a clean fresh look buyers will love.
- Use eye-fooling tricks to make a small bath look larger. A new pedestal sink is a smart replacement for an old cabinet. The smaller footprint gives the illusion of space.
#6 Major Kitchen Remodel
Average return at resale: 91 percent
- A complete kitchen remodel in a midrange home averages $43,862 and returns $39,920 at resale. That price buys 30 ft. of cabinets, an island, laminate countertops, stainless sink, wall oven, cook top, vinyl flooring and appliances.
- If your home’s value rises and your kitchen’s finishes don’t, do a major remodel rather than small fix-ups. Budget 10 to 15% percent of your home’s value remodeling the kitchen.
- Kitchens feel bigger when there are fewer obstacles. Removing cabinets over a counter gives a wide open feel.
- An eat-in kitchen is a big plus – give it a deluxe touch with a built in banquet or bench and nice pillows.
- Local granite dealers that sell (or even give away) remnants then charge for cuts and installation can be a bargain option if you need 8 feet or less of countertop.
- Planning to sell? Stick with neutral colors for walls and window treatments.
- Tin ceiling tiles make an affordable, custom backsplash.
- Put your home in the best light. Perk up a dark kitchen with French doors that’ll let sun in.
#7 Deck, Patio or Porch Addition
Average return at resale: 90.3 percent
- Adding a 16x20 ft. pressure-treated wood deck with a simple pattern costs about $11,000. At resale, you’ll get about $10,000 of that back, a recoup rate of 90 percent.
- One simple but effective trick — add eye-appeal with decorative planters on the front porch, patio and decks.
- Give a courtyard an impressive entry with an inviting gate, lighting and mature plantings. These small improvements will have a big impact at closing.
- Use bold plantings to emphasize features, or to distract the eye from flaws.
- Run-down stairs lower your profit margin, so make sure porch railings are safe and attractive.
- Camouflage unattractive air conditioning units with a wooden trellis.
#8 Replacement Windows
Average return at resale: 89.6 percent
- Replacing 10 3x5 ft. windows runs about $9,700. On average nationally, you’ll get back $8,700 when you sell, a recoup rate of nearly 90 percent.
- Big city window replacements pay off. The average homeowner recoups more than she spends on replacement windows in San Francisco, Seattle, Orlando, Miami, Chicago, New York City and Boston.
#9 Family Room Addition
Average return at resale: 83 percent
- The average family room addition costs $54,464 and adds $45,458 at resale, a recoup rate of 83 percent.
- The highest recoup rates occur in high-cost Western markets.
- A sunroom counts in the home’s square footage only when the room is heated and cooled for year-round use.
- A sunroom adds value only in upscale neighborhoods. It won’t bring in higher bids in lower-end neighborhoods.
- An addition shouldn’t be obvious. Make sure it has an open transition. A wider interior doorway and more substantial steps visually connect the addition to the rest of the house.
- Shop local window manufacturers to find offer good deals.