The best renovation projects for your home will improve the exterior and increase the curb appeal, especially if you’re working toward a resale. First impressions matter and exterior renovation, like new doors and windows, can make your home ready for resale cheaper. This year’s Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine, in partnership with the National Association of Realtors, proves that renovations to the outside of your home improve the curb appeal and are worth the costs involved.
For the first time in six years, all 35 of the renovation projects improved in overall value for the homeowner. They range from renovating the basement and attic to adding a backup power generator. The most expensive renovation project is the master suite addition at an estimated cost of $224,989. The report breaks down the cost between a remodeling job and the estimated return on the project. According to the 2014 report, lower construction costs allowed homeowners to remodel for less and recoup more. While all the projects improved in value, the renovations to the home’s exterior were the best. Eight of the top ten projects were exterior renovation items.
A front door can say a lot about a home’s personality. Replacing the front door with a steel door was the best renovation project with 96 percent of the cost recouped. It improves the exterior of a home drastically.
“They just look new, neat and interesting,” says realtor Lela Wislocka of Vintage Realty Inc. in Chicago. As an integral part of a home’s exterior, the front door can make or break the opportunity for a resale.
“If they don’t like the look of the front of the house in a photo, they may not even visit to check out the inside,” she says.
Even better, updating the door was the least expensive project on the list of 35 renovation items at $1,162.
“Steel doors are necessary for security, especially in urban areas where they make the house safer in the long run,” says Mario Tovar, owner of Mario’s Custom Restoration in Chicago. Security is a must-have in cities but if a new steel door is too much of an investment, painting will freshen the look as well. A more high-end option is to replace it with a fiberglass door, which yields about 70 percent of the original investment.
Replacement garage doors are another great renovation to improve curb appeal, especially if they match the house structure. Also, an insulated garage door will make for warmer temperatures, as cars can be ruined by constantly staying in below-freezing weather, according to Tovar.
“People sometimes think it doesn’t matter if the garage is freezing. But that’s where you keep an important asset: your car,” he says.
Many homeowners use their garage as their primary entrance and sprucing up this highly used space can lead to an 83 percent return on investment. The average cost of a garage door replacement is $1,534, according to the report.
Increasing the living space of a home goes a long way, even if the space is outside. Wooden deck additions earned an 87 percent return of job cost in the report. A wooden deck addition runs at about $10,000 while adding a composite deck can go above $15,000.
“It’s purely for adding space, especially in urban areas, every extra square foot is essential,” said Wislocka. Wooden decks also provide a nice transition to a yard and a community gathering space in the hot summer months. But don’t go overboard on spending too much on deck amenities; the lights and patio furniture can be very tempting.
Finally if there’s room left in the home improvement budget, upgrade the windows and vinyl siding. Spending the extra on renovating the wood siding will bump the savings up $1,000. Upgrading the windows and siding will cost about $10,000 a piece. For windows, the most energy efficient brands will impress buyers, says Tovar.
“What’s not on the report is changing over your system to LED lighting, that is also good idea for energy-conscious buyers,” he says.
In order to make the best investment for your home, start budgeting for exterior renovation projects that will pay off in the long run rather than big-ticket items such as a master suite addition that won’t return as much value.