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Home Projects that Pay Off

Here are the upgrades that recoup the most value.

Home Projects that Pay Off

Here are the upgrades that recoup the most value.


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Trying to decide which project to tackle first in your home? You aren’t alone. Some people choose to renovate based on wants, and others on need, but almost all homeowners are interested in how a remodel will affect the value of their home. To find out which home improvement projects make the most sense financially, we went to an expert: Dave MacLean, Senior Vice President of Brothers Services. Brothers Services is a full-service remodeler which has been serving Maryland families for over 34 years, and MacLean told us that one of the best resources for figuring out what the return on investment would be for any given remodeling project was Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs Value report.

“If you choose the right project, it can increase your home’s value, allowing you to recoup most of the expense when you go to sell your home,” says MacLean. “Certain projects like upgrading your home’s insulation can actually pay you back more than you spend.”

A minor kitchen remodel is one of the most cost-effective renovations you can do for your home.

In 2019, here are the top five upgrades based on their estimated value recouped at sale.

5. Replace Old Siding

“A good place to start is vinyl siding,” says MacLean, “because it’s financially smart on two levels.” First, a vinyl siding project can earn back 70.5 percent of the cost of the renovation at sale. Secondly, it protects the home and requires no expensive maintenance. Energy bills high in the winter and summer? Make the upgrade to foam-backed vinyl siding and you’ll be providing extra insulation that can help lower energy bills.

4. Replacement Windows

Did you know that old, drafty windows can cost you hundreds of extra dollars in annual energy costs during both the winter and summer? By replacing these windows with new, energy-efficient windows, you’ll improve the look and function of your home. “This is another very cost-effective upgrade,” says MacLean, “which can also greatly improve the comfort of your home.” Replacing vinyl windows recoups 72.3 percent of the cost, while replacing wood windows recoups 68 percent.

3. Build a Deck

“You might think that adding a deck would be primarily for your enjoyment because they often become a favorite space in the house, but it also makes economic sense,” says MacLean. Not only can outdoor projects cost less than interior renovations, but a wood deck can recoup 74.8 percent of its cost at resale.

2. New Entry Door

“There’s more than just first impressions involved in adding a new entry door,” says MacLean. “It’s also a security issue.” If you are looking to sell your home, the front door in many ways is the first thing people will notice about your house. Typically, door replacements can recoup 75.8 percent of their cost at sale, while increasing your home’s security and energy efficiency.

1. Update Your Kitchen

A complete kitchen overhaul can seem like a daunting task. Don’t worry: You can still get the kitchen you want and recoup value with a minor kitchen remodel. “A minor kitchen remodel is one of the best options for getting a return on your investment in 2019 and can involve much less time and energy,” says MacLean. On average, you can expect an 82.8 percent return on investment according to Remodeling Magazine.

So what does a “minor” kitchen remodel include? Here’s a checklist:

  • Replacing your kitchen cabinets, including new hardware
  • Updating your appliances with new energy-efficient, matching models
  • Replacing laminate countertops with granite or quartz
  • Installing a mid-priced sink and faucet
  • Adding new resilient flooring
  • Painting walls and trim

No matter what project you choose, be sure to prioritize the issues that need attention first! No project can properly recoup its value if you have a major issue like a roof leak or mold growing in your basement. So before considering a cosmetic renovation or update, make sure the fundamentals of your home are sound: the roof, the foundation, the plumbing, and the electrical.

It’s also wise to choose a full-service remodeler with the experience necessary to get the job done right, cautions the team at Brothers Services. “Sloppy work will only diminish the value of your home.” With the right project and an experienced full-service remodeler, you can live more comfortably and have your home pay you back when you go to sell.

See more articles from Brothers Services.

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