The Best and Worst Remodeling Projects for Boosting Resale Value

The thought of undertaking major home renovation before selling the property crosses every homeowner’s mind more than once. And why not? It is a sound strategy to upgrade an investment property before putting it on the market. The 2020 Cost vs. Value report predicts an overall increase in return on investment in more than 22 remodeling projects. However, it must be put out there that not all home improvement projects are worth the effort and money. The key is to prioritize projects which offer a comparatively appealing return on investment while also improving the living conditions. Let’s look at the top choices of home improvement projects you should make and those you shouldn’t.

Add a deck

You’d be surprised to know that adding a deck falls on the inexpensive side of home improvement. According to the Cost vs. Value report, the top high return projects are exterior replacement projects. For instance, installing a 16×20 foot modern wooden deck with stairs would cost an average amount of $14,360. Its average resale value is $10,355, making its cost recoupment percentage around 72%. If we talk about a composite deck, the cost recouped is about 67%, while it would cost more than a wooden deck. You should remember that the cost recoup percentage depends on location as well.

Minor bathroom remodeling

There’s a difference between minor and upscale bathroom remodeling. Experts suggest that instead of adding midrange or an upscale bathroom, homeowners should focus on improving the existing space. For instance, in a place like Des Moines, a midrange bathroom renovation will offer only a 55.6% cost return. Therefore, it’s best to hire contractors who understand the basics of sprucing your bathroom appeal through inexpensive yet effective upgrades. A simple Google search for the term ‘bathroom remodel Des Moines’ will give you plenty of results for potential contractors you can hire for affordable upgrades. You can go for a fresh coat of paint, install new fixtures, add light, regrout the bathtub, fix the pipes, etc.

Garage door replacement

If you want the cost of your project to hit a significant recouping percentage, replacing the garage door is your best bet. Upgrading your garage door is not only an excellent idea for curb appeal but also a smart choice for increased functionality. A garage door will also improve energy efficiency by not letting the warm/cool air escape your home. Let’s face it; no buyer would like the garage door to rummage down on their new car. If you invest anywhere over 3k on replacing a garage door, you’ll get almost 95% cost return on investment. We recommend going for steel doors instead of fiberglass or wood as they are readily available, maintenance-free, and affordable.

Manufactured stone veneer

Try installing a manufactured stone veneer if you want a home improvement project that gives more than a 95% cost return. Why a stone veneer? Stone veneers look gorgeous, require virtually no maintenance, are affordable, lighter, and highly durable. A midrange project such as a stone veneer wall, a fireplace, or a beautiful little spot in the yard is enough to raise the value of your property. It gives off an extremely modern vibe and doesn’t require extreme construction. Instead of vinyl siding, investing up to $9,300 on a stone veneer will help you retain up to $9,000.

Window replacement

We may think windows don’t attract much attention, but buyers are skeptical of almost anything regarding the home appeal. Statistics suggest that replacing windows is one of the best home improvement projects you can take on to increase the property’s value. You’ll recoup an estimated 72% of your investment, but there are more benefits than just this. Replacing windows with vinyl frames, weatherstripping, low-E glass, etc., offers energy efficiency, which lets you save a ton on monthly bills. Moreover, it is also great for curb appeal, added security, and reducing outside noise. 

Home improvement projects which do not pay off

Quirky and expensive wallpaper

How would you like to walk into your new living room and get greeted by a cheetah-print wallpaper? Not cool, right? Installing expensive and quirky wallpapers to increase home value is nothing short of a scam. It is a waste of time and money if the buyer does not share your taste for interior décor. It’s a project that neither adds value nor does anything particular to decrease it. If you’ve got absolutely no money to spare, you should skip it.

Garage conversions

You may think that converting your garage into an extra room may cause a sparkle in a buyer’s eyes. However, it does the opposite because most buyers prefer the garage to perform the role it is meant for instead of increasing the living area. For example, if a homeowner spends an average of $10,000 on garage conversation, which adds little to no value to the property.

Built-in appliances and luxury upgrades

According to statistics by Remodeling Magazine, homeowners receive only 54% of the total cost put in the major remodeling of a high-end kitchen. The thing is, if you invest your entire savings on putting in a great kitchen that doesn’t match up with the rest of the house, it just won’t appeal to an average buyer. The same goes for expensive built-in appliances that the buyer isn’t looking for. They wouldn’t appreciate the waste of space and energy consumption, which will affect the house’s value.

Major kitchen remodeling

As discussed before, undertaking an upscale kitchen remodeling will do nothing to add value to your house. According to the Cost vs. Value report, major upscale kitchen remodels offer only 54% of cost returns. Instead of renovating the entire space, try adding value through minor upgrades like changing the cabinetry, countertops, knobs, and light fixtures. If we talk about midrange kitchen remodel, the story isn’t different here as well, with only a 59% cost recouped.

Swimming pool

Who doesn’t love a pool at the back? But does every homebuyer appreciate this upgrade? Not so sure. Under the right circumstances, a pool will slightly increase the value of your house. However, the slight increase is not worth the extensive amount of money and time put into it. If you happen to live in a cold region or your property isn’t big enough, adding a pool on it would do you no good. Statistics suggest that you will only recoup half the value of what you put in the project, which is a deal-breaker. 


Every property or homeowner deserves to get a good value for their property when they put it on the market. There are multiple ways to increase the value of your house, and home improvement is one of the best ways. While some projects will pay off in the long run, some only drain your bank. Therefore, take pointers from the above list and make smart decisions! 

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