Home Improvement Projects That Earn Their Keep

When considering a home remodeling project or building a new addition, one consideration should be the likely return on your investment. Even in the current housing market, the value of your home can be enhanced by the right home improvement. Though housing prices have slumped in recent years, the return on investment for home improvements has remained fairly stable. Thus, it can make good financial sense to build an addition or remodel your existing home rather than trading up to a new one. While recouping your financial investment should not be your primary reason for remodeling your home, it’s a factor to consider when deciding which project is right for you.

Generally, home improvements that add to the curb appeal of your house offer higher returns when you sell. In the 2009 Realtor Magazine “Cost vs. Value Report”, siding projects, replacement windows, and adding a new deck topped the list of best value-added projects, with kitchen remodeling rounding out the top ten.

Adding or replacing siding

In addition to improving the appearance of your house and reducing maintenance and upkeep, the right siding can provide additional insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs. Of the various kinds of siding, adding high-end fiber cement siding recoups most value when reselling your home, weighing at a return on investment of 86.7%. Fiber cement siding comes in various finishes and surfaces, resembling stucco or wood, but is fireproof and termite resistant.

Mid-range vinyl siding offers the next best return on investment at 80.7%, followed closely by high-end foam-backed vinyl. The most popular type of home siding, vinyl comes in a wide array of colors and finishes, allowing a custom look for your home. Foam-backed vinyl offers especially good insulating protection, increasing your savings and making it an even better deal.

Replacement windows

Generally, high-end vinyl windows outstripped traditional wood replacements, but all of these home improvement projects gave a return on investment of between 76% and 79%. Again, replacing your windows can also save you money on heating and cooling your home, making this home remodeling project a financially sound decision even if you don’t intend to sell your home anytime soon. Be sure to look into Federal energy tax credits, available when you purchase and install certain kinds of high-efficiency replacement windows; they can save you hundreds of dollars on the cost of your project.

Decks

Installing a deck can recoup 81.8% of its initial cost to build; these projects can add a great deal to your enjoyment of your home and yard, as well. Maintenance-free decks of pressure-treated wood last longer; these are usually constructed of Southern yellow pine, though cedar decks are also popular.

Kitchens and bathrooms

Minor and major improvements to kitchens were also good investments, typically adding between 76% and 80% to the value of homes. Refacing kitchen cabinets is becoming more popular and can add more to your home’s value than more elaborate alterations; replacing outdated appliances with newer models was also cost-effective in most cases. While minor cosmetic alterations are often cost-effective, larger scale bath remodeling was not one of the top projects for recouping the initial investment.