Only you can decide how much joy you'll gain from a remodel vs. the amount of time and effort you're willing to spend. But when it comes to cold, hard cash, researchers have crunched the numbers to see exactly which home improvement projects provide the best return on your investment.
Each year, Remodeling Magazine publishes its Cost Vs. Value report, which ranks 22 popular home improvement projects by how much of their cost is recouped when the house is eventually sold. You might be surprised at which home improvement ideas are worth refinancing for.
1. Garage Door Replacement
This project definitely doesn't make top billing on HGTV, but it practically pays for itself when you sell your house with a sky-high 97.5% of its value recouped. That's probably because everyone knows just how awful it is to deal with a cheap, malfunctioning garage door. A good one significantly improves your quality of life.
This project isn't exactly easy, but with patience and a full handyman's tool kit, you can get the job done in a weekend. Replacing the door alone is easier than mounting new tracks and hardware; if you're not an avid DIYer, it's probably worth hiring someone since you can be sure of making back your investment.
2. Manufactured Stone Veneer
This one may also come as a surprise, but it's all about curb appeal. Replacing some of your siding with manufactured stone accents is a great
way to make your house stand out, and it can also be used to make a plain concrete foundation or chimney look more historic.
This is a job best left to the professionals, since manufactured stone is heavy and requires special masonry skills to install properly.
3. Minor Kitchen Remodel
Kitchens sell houses, and updating your old one will make you fall in love with your home again. The key word here is minor: A full gut job actually has a poorer ROI because it's so expensive to start with. Instead, keep the layout and cabinet boxes but replace doors, appliances, and fixtures.
Keeping the layout means you can skip the plumber and electrician, so most homeowners can manage the smaller tasks of redoing a tile floor or swapping out fixtures -- and everyone can do their own repainting and decorating. The more you tackle on your own, the better your ROI will be.
4. Deck Addition
Outdoor living is all the rage, and decks continue to be hugely popular. Real wood decks have a better return on investment than composite, probably because they look more upscale as long as you take good care of them.
Building a deck is a highly satisfying project for a DIYer, and you can get good results if you have confidence and take your time. If sawing wood and pouring concrete footings are out of your league, you can still take on the job of sanding and finishing the deck. When you do that yourself, you'll be more personally invested in annual cleaning and sealing to preserve the finish you worked so hard on.
5. Siding Replacement
Replacing the siding on your house is another important curb appeal project, but it's also an important way to protect your home. Loose shingles, crumbling brick and cracked clapboards allow rainwater to seep in and rot the walls of your home. Excess moisture can also lead to mold and mildew problems.
Residing your house is a big, time-consuming job. When you remove the old siding, you may find other problems that you aren't equipped to fix, so this is another task best left to the pros.
The Bottom Line
Ready to invest in your home? Refinancing your mortgage allows you to take cash out and fund your dream home improvement projects.
Check today's refinance rates, and make those home improvements you've always dreamed of!