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7 Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off at Resale

All homeowners want to make the most of their investments in real estate. After all, purchasing a home is likely the largest single investment an individual will ever make. Doesn’t it make sense to seek the highest return on that investment?
But home improvement projects aren’t all created equal. There are some that will help boost your home’s value — and that allow you to recoup a large portion of the initial cost. And then there are others that are money losers — ones that hardly move the resale value needle.

Remodeling.com publishes an annual home improvement Cost vs. Value Report. It includes nationwide averages, as well as regional analyses (Chicago is in the East North Central region that includes Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana).

Are you considering home improvement projects at your Chicago-area property? To help you make the most informed decisions possible, here’s a look at 7 home improvement projects that pay off at resale.

1. Garage Door Replacement (96.6% of cost recouped)



The garage door is one of the most underappreciated and overlooked components in a home. Most homeowners use their garage doors more than their front doors. They offer an immense amount of convenience, and they even make your home more secure and more energy-efficient — when you choose the right model. It turns out that a new garage door can do wonders for your resale value, too, when you calculate return on investment. A new garage door is relatively affordable (an average cost of $3,497), and the average homeowner recoups almost that entire amount upon resale. A garage door is more than just convenience, though. Choose the right new garage door, one that complements your existing architecture and color scheme, and you’ll find that replacing your old garage door enhances your home’s curb appeal, too.

2. Manufactured Stone Veneer (91.5%)

You may start to notice a theme in these high-ROI home improvements — they are by and large focused on the home’s exterior and improving the first impression a home makes. Manufactured stone veneer checks in at No. 2 on the list of home improvements that pay off at resale with an average job cost of $8,320 and 91.5% of that cost recouped at resale. Manufactured stone veneer can provide a certain sophistication and elegance when installed on the right type of home. And it’s more than just what you get with the stone veneer — it’s also about what you replace. For example, if your home is covered in aging siding that’s beginning to rot and fade, replacing it with manufactured stone veneer is transformative — and it can be profitable when it comes time to sell.

3. Wood Deck Addition (81.5%)



Why does a wood deck addition do so much for a home’s resale value? Because it helps expand your livable space. During certain times of year (late spring, summer, early fall), having a wood deck addition (average job cost of $11,149) is like having another room in your home. After installation, enjoy your wood deck addition as a space for entertaining, for resting and relaxing, or just as an area where you can go on days when you’re feeling cooped up indoors. When it comes time to sell, make sure your prospects know just how usable your wood deck addition is. Make sure that it’s furnished. Consider hanging café lights, which shows the deck is usable even at night. And leave the grill in the open so that your potential buyers can imagine beautiful summer evenings of cooking out.

4. Siding Replacement (74.5%)


Much like manufactured stone veneer, siding replacement can have a transformative effect on the way your home looks. With an average job cost of $15,423, siding replacement is one of the more expensive projects that provides high return on investment, but that job cost is commiserate with the impact siding replacement makes on your home. Again, take into account what the new siding will be replacing. Most homeowners choose new siding when old siding is beginning to fade, scuff and rot. Replacing siding that has seen better days leads to a dramatic before-and-after improvement to a home’s curb appeal.

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel (73.4%)


When most homeowners think of home improvement, they picture big kitchen and bathroom remodels with cabinets replaced, walls moved and flooring ripped up. But you don’t need to execute a major remodel to get a solid return on your investment — a minor kitchen remodel will do just fine. What is a minor kitchen remodel? A minor kitchen remodel means leaving cabinet boxes in place but changing out front panels and hardware. Also, a minor kitchen remodel might include new energy-efficient appliances, laminate countertops and a mid-priced sink and faucet replacement. The average cost is about $21,688 — a far cry from the cost of a major kitchen remodel, which averages about $64,990.

6. Steel Entry Door Replacement (72.9%)



Many of the high-return home improvement projects on this list improve a home’s curb appeal. The entry door, for example, serves as the absolute focal point of a home’s exterior and the first impression that it can make. Installing a steel entry door replacement costs on average only about $1,834, of which homeowners recoup 72.9%. Just make sure that the entry door replacement you choose meshes well with your existing architecture and that its color fits nicely with other shades used on your home’s façade. You’re not limited to steel, of course. You can choose entry doors made of wood and other materials. It’s just that steel delivers the highest return on investment out of all your material options.

7. Vinyl Window Replacement (70.8%)


One of the best tactics for staging a home is cleaning windows and opening up window coverings. This sends natural light flooding into a home’s interior, which makes the home seem larger, warmer and more attractive. But, over time, windows become less and less transparent — almost imperceptibly. If and when you choose vinyl window replacements, you’ll spend about $16,059 on average and recoup about 70.8% of that cost. But, also, you’ll be astonished at how much brighter the new windows can make your home.

Get Advice From Chicago-Area Housing Experts


Do you have questions about your home and its resale value? The KlopasStratton Team is made up of experts on Chicago-area housing. We can help you make the right decisions for your home’s resale value. And, when it comes time to put your home on the market, we can help you maximize its value. Contact us today about getting the most out of your investment in a Chicago-area home.


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7 Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off at Resale