One of the best parts of being a homeowner is the freedom to customize your space. From painting the walls to knocking them down, there are endless opportunities to put your own personal stamp on your home and make it yours. But before you dive into any renovations, you should know what they will cost you and how much of those costs you can expect to get back through appreciation when you sell.
To help make this easier for you, we looked to the latest Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) to compile a list of the top three home improvement projects with the highest cost recovery for both inside and outside your home. Whether you're considering buying a fixer-upper or want to make updates to your current home, here are the projects that will get you the biggest bang for your buck.
If you have old wooden floors that are dinged up or hiding under carpet, a hardwood flooring refinish can completely revitalize your space at an affordable price. The project costs around $3,000, and not only are you likely to recoup all of your costs at resale, but it also can help cinch the deal with prospective buyers. If your old wooden floors are beyond repair or it's just time for something new, brand new wood flooring is a good backup option with an estimated $5,500 price tag and a 91% cost recovery.
Energy efficiency is all the rage these days, and for good reason. While a lot less glamorous than shiny new floors, an insulation upgrade is another worthwhile project. Not only will you recover about three-fourths of your costs when you sell (estimating a $2,100 investment), but think of the additional energy savings you'll gain from having a better insulated home. According to the EPA, homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs simply by sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, crawl spaces, and basement rim joists. It just makes sense.
Waiting until your furnace or AC unit completely conks out is never a good idea. If your HVAC system is struggling to keep up with Mother Nature (or if it's more than 10 years old), it's probably time to upgrade. The project can run you about $7,475, which is a hefty sum, so be sure to have a professional do an energy assessment on your home to determine what your needs are. As you're weighing out which system to purchase, look for high-efficiency ENERGY STAR units, as they'll reduce your energy consumption and can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115.
And the holy grail of home upgrades is ... a new roof. With an estimated price tag of $7,500, you're likely to make back all of your costs when you sell — and then some. A new roofing system has so many benefits. It helps with energy efficiency, reduces costs, improves comfort levels (preventing your heat or AC from escaping), and lessens the chance of water damage (no one wants a leaky roof!). Plus, it instantly boosts your curb appeal and adds value to your home. This project is a smart one for both homeowners who are planning to stay put for a while and those who are looking to sell soon.
While probably not at the top of your to-do list, a new garage door makes for a simple — yet smart — home improvement. Think improved functionality and enhanced curb appeal and aesthetics. It will set you back about $2,300 up front, but you'll get most of that back with an 87% cost recovery. Plus, if you're still dealing with a manual garage door, it's time to stop living in the past and upgrade to automatic. While you're at it, bring your garage into the future by opting for a smart door, which allows you to open and close your door right from your phone.
Durable and long-lasting, fiber-cement siding can completely transform the exterior of your house. While more expensive than its cheaper counterpart, vinyl, it is fire-resistant, moisture resistant, and insect- and rodent-resistant, and because it's a thicker material, it can be texturized to resemble wood. Even with a relatively high cost recovery of 83%, installing new siding is no small undertaking; it will cost you around $18,000, according to the report. Still, if you're flipping a house or your home is in desperate need of a new exterior, this could be a good option.
Now that we've covered the most cost-effective projects, you've probably noticed that some of the more popular ones — like kitchen and bathroom renos — are missing. That's because they're the least economical. That doesn't mean you should avoid them, but as they say, knowledge is power. With that, here are the projects homeowners tend to tackle first and the amount you can expect to recoup from each when you sell: