The Home Improvement Project That Guarantees A Big ROI

Whether you're thinking about selling your home soon or just looking for ways to help fix things up around the house, you might be surprised to learn that not all home improvement projects increase a home's value. While your priority should be to add improvements that'll make your life better, it can still be important to mitigate any future expectations you might have for these upgrades. This said, it may prove prudent to assess exactly why you're making a home improvement before going through the process in the first place.

For those looking for home improvement projects that'll specifically impact on a home's potential resale value, it can be important to factor in just how expensive the improvement will be compared to how much added value you think it might lead to. Smaller improvements can oftentimes lead to the highest ROI compared to more comprehensive home improvement projects. This is especially true for projects that require the moving of hardware, piping, and/or electrical components, which can quickly add up to pricey totals.

As tempting as it can be to re-do and/or update an entire house, remembering that potential buyers will very likely want to make a space their own can save you headaches, hassle, and money. Going for smaller and simpler improvements can be the key to improving your home and also receiving a solid ROI. Specifically, simply changing your home's front door can pretty much guarantee a solid return on your investment.

Big ROI projects

As simple as it might sound, changing your front door can lead to an impressive ROI on a home's resale value. In fact, per Forbes, a new front door can lead to an 80% ROI of the cost at selling time. This similarly goes for changing other doors in and around the house.

If possible, stripping and refinishing an older, more solid door can be an enticing way to impress potential buyers. This is especially true when you realize that newer doors are generally made out of flimsier and cheaper materials. The reason a home's front door, in particular, can be so important is not only due to its ability to affect your home's curb appeal but also the potential for protection and even energy efficiency. A potential buyer can — and will — consider all of these things, which will affect their perceived value of your home before they even walk inside.

Similarly, new windows are another home improvement project on the smaller side that can lead to an impressive ROI, due to their ability to affect curb appeal, safety, and energy efficiency. However, it's important to realize that window replacement improvements lead to larger ROI for those living in colder climates (up to 70%) rather than those in temperate or warmer climates (even though selling your home in the spring and summer is best).

Yet another important door to consider is your home's garage door. Replacing this door can have a potential 95% ROI at the time you sell your house, making it a smart, and relatively easy, choice for those looking to add home value before selling.

Low ROI projects

First and foremost, if making a specific home improvement project a reality betters your quality of life, and/or makes you enjoy your home more, then the inevitable resale value of that improvement should be seen as secondary. While it can be tempting to view your home as merely an investment or potential for future money, remembering it's ultimately your home, filled with important memories, should take priority. This means sometimes it can be better to ignore the concepts of "resale value" and "ROI" altogether, especially if you're planning on being in your home (and using and enjoying your preferred improvements) for many years to come. That said, if you are specifically looking to make home improvements with the intent of raising your home's resale value, then it's important to keep a few things in mind because there are home improvement projects that will lose you money.

First, everyone has different tastes, preferences, and ideas for how a home should look and operate. This means projects like adding more storage space or remodeling the foyer ultimately suffer from low ROI due to the potential for new homebuyers to have their own (and differing) opinions on how those areas should look. On the pricier side of home improvements, kitchen and bathroom remodels can be important selling points for a home, but the investment in these projects is rarely returned in full on the home's sale value. According to Remodeling's 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, the ROI on a major remodeled kitchen (midrange) is around ~42% for 2023, while a bathroom remodel (upscale) can be as low as 36.7%.