One of the biggest questions homeowners ask themselves when investing money in home improvement projects is, ‘will the money we’re spending translate into added value to our home and provide a return on investment?’ The answer is it depends on how you’re spending the money and what potential buyers are looking for. Home improvement projects that add value to your home are not just meant for short term sales gains, but also for living in the home long term and benefiting from the upgrades yourself. Consider one or more of the following projects for a maximum return on your investment.
Curb Appeal
Siding your home may be an expensive undertaking, but it has an extremely high percentage of return at resale. Potential buyers often gauge the quality of the home by what they see outside, and if the outside is uninviting or needs a serious amount of work, it’s unlikely to matter what is on the inside. First impressions are very important to buyers, and if they don’t like what they see from the curb, they might not even schedule a showing. A house that is nicely painted or well-sided, along with some basic landscaping, can go a long way in creating interest in any housing market.
Basic Systems
Potential buyers want to be sure that the basement doesn’t leak, that the air conditioning and furnace work well, and that the structure of the home is sound. Upgrading, replacing, and of course maintaining the basic systems in the house are always a good investment whether you’re looking to sell or not. A roof that doesn’t leak, a well-insulated house, and quality windows are all things that buyers expect and don’t want to have to worry about. Plumbing and electrical systems fall under this category as well, and upgrades will serve you well both as the homeowner and the seller.
Kitchen and Baths
Kitchen and bath remodels are where home improvement costs are recouped at the highest rate. Yes, buyers want a solid home with well-maintained systems, but they also want an updated and upgraded kitchen and bathroom. Upgraded flooring, cabinetry, appliances, and countertops are what buyers are looking for, and the renovation of a bathroom or kitchen can provide more than a complete return on investment, meaning more than one hundred percent of your costs. If you are planning on staying in your home for years, remodel to your preferences, but if you’re looking to sell quickly, choose neutral colors and up-to-date styles.

Whether you are looking to sell your home immediately or invest and add value to your home in the long-term, not all renovations are created equal. The greatest returns come from modernizing, increasing visual appeal, and lessening the burden on potential buyers of having to fix or replace basic home systems soon after buying a house. Yes, granite countertops and shiny stainless steel appliances are a great way to add value to your home, but don’t forget about the roof in the process.