These Little-Known Home Renovation Projects Will Give You The Most Resale Value

When it comes to getting top dollar for your home, you’ll have to prepare it for sale. Often that means cleaning, decluttering, touching up faded paint, tightening loose cabinet hardware, and, sometimes, renovating parts of your home.

Home renovation projects, however, can be expensive and don’t always give you the best bang for your buck. While you may think you need to remodel your bathrooms and kitchen to attract buyers, in truth the projects that enhance home value are often those that improve energy efficiency and enhance curbside appeal.

With that in mind, let’s look at it Remodeling Magazine‘s most recent “Cost vs. Value” report to see which home improvement projects will likely give you the highest return on investment.

1. HVAC conversion

  • Cost: $17,747
  • Resale value: $18,366
  • Percentage recovered: 103.5%

The project that likely gives you the most resale value is installing an electric heat pump in place of older systems that depend on fossil fuels. The Cost vs. Value report assumes you’re installing this for a home of about 2,000 square feet, so the actual cost will vary depending on the size of your home.

The appeal of an electric heat pump is that it can provide the same amount of heating and cooling as a traditional furnace or baseboard heater but without using as much energy. This can emit less carbon, cut down on electricity bills, and over the long term can potentially help home buyers save money.

2. Garage door replacement

  • Cost: $4,302
  • Resale value: $4,418
  • Percentage recovered: 102.7%

Here a garage door replacement would involve removing and disposing of a door that’s roughly 16 x 7 feet, together with the tracks. The replacement door would be made of high-tensile-strength steel and would be installed with insulation and thermal seals.

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Garage door replacements are typically good investments because they’re affordable and can boost curbside appeal. It can make your home stand out, or, if your home already has a decent exterior, remove a potential eyeore, especially if your current door has dents, cracks or stains.

3. Living with stone veneer

  • Cost: $10,925
  • Resale value: $11,177
  • Percentage recovered: 102.3%

Replacing the bottom portion of your home with a band of stone veneer is another way to boost curbside appeal. The project as outlined in the Cost vs. Value report assumes your home has vinyl siding and would recommend only replacing the bottom third with stone veneer. It also recommends adding stone veneer to your entryway, such as replacing columns and building an archway with a keystone.

4. Entry door replacement

  • Cost: $2,214
  • Resale value: $2,235
  • Percentage recovered: 100.9%

Entry door replacements are another low-cost project that can leave home buyers with a good first impression. The Cost vs. Value report recommends replacing your current door with a 20-gauge steel door, which would give you the best balance between cost and resale value.

Should you renovate your home before selling it?

It might be worth renovating your home, but only if you’re adding value and recovering expenses. The projects listed above can give you a good place to start. But if you’re working with a real estate agent, they might know other home renovations that have traditionally added value to properties in your area.

As far as renovation financing goes, it would be best to avoid loans and credit cards with high interest rates, as interest payments would only make the projects more expensive. You might also want to avoid second mortgages and refinancing loans, as the fees associated with these would eat into the project’s resale value.

Cash is preferable, but if you have to borrow, consider a credit card with an introductory 0% APR. These cards won’t charge interest for a specific period, though you’ll want to pay off the balance before the 0% APR ends, as delaying would mean paying interest. Some credit cards have longer zero-interest periods than others, so be sure to compare the best 0% APR credit cards before applying.

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