From 2009 to 2011, Census data indicates homeowners spent a combined total of nearly $360 billion on home improvements, with a median cost of $3,200 per venture. When deciding on a home renovation project, most homeowners search for one that will increase both the visual aesthetic and the value of the property.
Some renovations, of course, add more value to a home than others. Everyone has different tastes, but some features such as higher quality materials generally offer a higher return. The key is finding a project that offers the most future benefits, while also being a feature you can enjoy. Some of the more common remodels that do not fit the bill are home office renovations, with an average cost of $28,000. According to Bankrate, home offices only bring in around a 49 percent return when you sell your home. The same applies for sunroom additions. Priced at over $73,000, sunrooms only recuperate around 52 percent of that back when you sell. While you may enjoy your new sunroom or home office, you have to ask yourself if that current enjoyment is more important to you than future profitability.
One the other hand, many projects are, financially, worth the investment. This list of profitable renovations includes ideas that generate a high percentage of the remodel cost when you sell your property. The list includes projects ranging from large to small, projects designed primarily to improve the looks of a home, and some designed for practical reasons. These renovations also have a relatively low to moderate investment cost, rendering them affordable to the average homeowner.
1. Steel Door for Entryway
This renovation heightens the curb appeal of your home and also comes with a low price tag. Although a small project, this minor improvement ranked number one on The National Association of Realtors list of remodels that pay off. According to their cost versus value report, this renovation comes with an investment cost of $1,162 and you can get around 97 percent ($1,122) of that cost back when you resell. Steel doors are also said to increase energy efficiency and durability and they are more secure than other types of entry doors.
2. Garage Door Replacement
Also increasing security, garage door replacements come with a price tag of between $1,500 and $2,800. You can expect to get back around 83 percent of your investment cost. When prospective buyers first walk up to your home, features like a new garage door are more likely to entice them. When the outside is up to par, it leads buyers to believe the inside is in good shape as well. An old garage door is often unattractive. Older models also may not offer the insulation that newer models provide so your new door may save on your heating and air conditioning costs.
3. Kitchen Remodels
The Census bureau reports the median cost of a kitchen remodel at $5,000. In 2011, Americans took on 3.7 million kitchen remodels. These kitchen adventures can, however, become pricey in terms of up-front investment cost. Many remodels exceed the $100,000 price point. A major kitchen remodel generally returns around 80 percent of its investment costs at resale. This, however, varies significantly based on the project, your home’s value, and your location. As with any project, the way it looks in the end has a large impact on its return.
For Sale by Owner suggests that you stay with the theme of your home and turn to an expert designer for advice when needed. On the same token, modern kitchens with the newest features are usually a big hit. Back splashes, granite and marble materials, stainless steel, and energy efficient appliances are, in many cases, attractive to buyers as long as the design matches the rest of your home.
The quality of the work also has an impact on your return, and your personal satisfaction with the remodel. The last thing you want is any leaks, misplaced appliances, or malfunctions. Its essential that you work with a contractor you can trust will produce excellent work.
4. Wood Deck Addition
Ideal for cookout, gatherings, and outdoor conversation, a deck can benefit you both now and when you sell. When potential buyers see a new deck out back, it often brings about thoughts of the activities they can do out back at their new house. A deck also increases the amount of living space you have for a low price tag. According to data published on House Logic, the average cost of construction for a two-story, 2000 square foot home is $85 per square foot. With a deck, however, you’re looking at a cost of around $35 per square foot — $50 per square foot less.
With a price tag of just under $10,000 for a pressure-treated wood deck, you can expect to get back around 87 percent of your investment cost for the addition. This cost represents a 16 foot by 20 foot sized deck. A composite deck in the same size costs upward of $15,000, and offers just over 74 percent of this cost back at sale.
5. Go Energy Efficient
According to recent Census data, nearly one out of every four renovations are designed for energy efficiency. Before taking on an energy saving remodeling project, US News suggests you perform an “energy audit.” This means that you examine your home for areas of improvement.
A common find is windows, doors, or an attic that need sealing, which will save you money on your energy bills. Maybe you have really old windows and you want to go ahead and just replace them all. Is it really cold upstairs? US News also indicates that around 50 percent of U.S. homes are under-insulated, so insulating upstairs may be a project you want to take on. Heating ducts may need attention or you may have an old hot water heater.
If you are really looking to make your house energy friendly, adding an alternate energy source, such as a wind turbine, will not only save you money on energy costs, it will also provide you with tax benefits. These tax benefits generally provide 30 percent of your investment cost back as a one-time tax credit on your return.