Which home improvements have the biggest ROI?

March 25, 2021
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If you’ve owned your home for a while, chances are there are some improvements you’d like to make, whether it’s adding a master bath or legitimizing that non-conforming bedroom in your basement. The good news is, as you lower the amount you owe on your mortgage loan by making regular payments (or even paying extra!), you’re building equity — which you can leverage to tackle your dream projects. So how do you know the improvements you’re making will translate to resale value? We’ve done some digging (but not in your landscaping, we promise) and have come up with some pointers on which home improvement projects are worth the money from an ROI perspective. Let’s take a look.

Make it look better. If people aren’t crazy about the way your home looks from the outside, it will affect how they feel about the inside, so it makes sense that landscaping costs can reap a whopping return on investment at resale — as much as 100%!1 A new steel front door, garage door, or attractive walkway are also great ways to enhance curb appeal to prospective buyers.2 To take that exterior improvement concept one step further, stone veneer, exterior paint, and new siding all landed pretty high at the top of return on investment lists.

Make it low-maintenance. This one’s not nearly as much fun as some of the more cosmetic changes, but items in need of maintenance or updating are always a good first step for ROI. Are you living on borrowed time with your water heater, HVAC system, or roof? Start there. You won’t be waiting for the other shoe to drop, and not having to face a major replacement will ease the mind of your home’s next occupant.2 As you shop for this home replacement/upgrade, keep in mind that improvements that lower or eliminate maintenance are great ways to increase home value. Replace high-maintenance wood siding with vinyl or steel (which can also boost that curb appeal we talked about). Consider replacing easily stained carpet with hardwood floors, or keep this same principle in mind when shopping for roof shingles or gutters.

Make it smarter. Our love affair with technology has extended to our homes, and buyers want the ultimate combination of smart and safe. So scope out thermostats, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks, and lighting that fit the bill. You can reap the benefits of a smart, safe, secure home both now and later, as research shows that even non-techie buyers are likely to pay more for smart-tech upgrades.2,3

Make it energy-efficient. You might not get too excited about making your home more energy-efficient, but you might be pretty close to ecstatic over reduced heating and cooling costs and other noticeable drops in utility bills. And the majority of realtors agree: Green will most definitely yield green when it comes time to sell (plus, our planet will thank you). When thinking energy-conserving improvements, consider double-paned windows, door and siding installations, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances as your ROI top choices. Installing solar panels, replacing your old toilets with low-flow fixtures, and enhanced attic insulation are smart picks, too.3

Make it minor. What is considered a minor remodel for a bathroom or kitchen can result in a major payoff for you, the homeowner — both now, as you splash (or cook) up a storm, and when it comes time to sell.2,3

According to HGTV, a bathroom spruce-up (tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity, and fixtures) could have a recoup rate of as much as 102%.1 Even a budget option, like re-glazing your old tub, removing shower doors, and updating fixtures, could have a big payoff.

A minor kitchen remodel — mostly aesthetic, no nifty island or floor plan changes — has a regain rate of up to 98.5%, according to HGTV.1 Re-face kitchen cabinets, replace the sink and fixtures, swap in a new oven, or update countertops and flooring for a new look you can take to the bank.

Make it major. Consider those same bathroom and kitchens remodels, only this time you’re adding square footage, buying new cabinets instead of refacing, or adding more of the upgrades on tile or flooring. If it’s in your budget, build the space of your dreams — the ROI on these oft-used rooms is still quite high.1

Make it bigger. While adding a room or removing a wall may not be in your budget, or even your timeline, there are other things you can do to add more space and make your home more appealing for prospective buyers. Adding a deck that doubles as an outdoor entertainment space, finishing an attic to serve as a bedroom, or finishing those basement rooms are all great uses for your home improvement dollar, as they yield a nice return. Plus, you get to enjoy the square footage until you pack up for your next forever home!1,2

Whatever you decide to do to your home, enjoy the result. And if you’re ready to get started, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) from UBT may be just what you need. Learn more here.

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