Home Improvements: 10 Best Upgrades for Home Value

Posted by Laine Smith on 12/5/15 1:42 PM

If improving the quality and value of your home is on your to-do list in 2016, you should know that not all home improvements are created equal. According to Remodeling magazine's 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, the following mid-range home improvements recovered the most investment costs.


If you're considering home improvements to increase resale value down the road or just to improve your homeownership experience, these are some of the best home improvements for home value.

Entry Door Replacement (steel)

Average cost: $1,230

Cost recouped: 101.8%

Steel doors are a good option for replacing your current door. Not only are they typically cheaper than wood or fiberglass but are also lower maintenance, energy efficient, insulating, and secure.

Manufactured Stone Veneer

Average cost: $7,150

Cost recouped: 92.2%

2015 is the first time manufactured stone veneer has made the Cost vs. Value report, let alone one of the best improvements for resale value. This estimate is based on a project that calls for replacing 300 square feet of vinyl siding from the bottom third of a house with manufactured stone veneer.

Garage Door Replacement

Average cost: $1,595

Cost recouped: 88.4%

A new garage door will instantly boost your home's curb appeal and lessen the need for regular basis maintenance. This home improvement increased in the Cost vs. Value report by nearly 13% from 2014. The new door used for analysis was uninsulated, single-layer, embossed steel with a 10-year limited warranty. An insulated door would be more energy efficient but would also increase your investment.

Siding Replacement (vinyl)

Average cost: $12,013

Cost recouped: 80.7%

You'll know it's time for new siding if your current siding is rotting, warping, cracked, faded, etc. New siding will up your curb appeal and decrease heating and cooling bills.

Deck Addition (wood)

Average cost: $10,048

Cost recouped: 80.5%

Outdoor living areas, like decks, are increasing in popularity as homeowners bring the comforts of their home out into the open. A 16x20' deck, used for cost and value analysis, is likely to recoup a large portion of investment when it comes to resale.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

Average cost: $19,226

Cost recouped: 79.3%

Mid-range kitchen remodels recoup investments well, simply because it's a room homeowners spend a large majority of their time in. Remodeling magazine used a dated 200 square-foot kitchen for analysis by leaving cabinet boxes in place but replacing fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware. Wall ovens and cooktops were replaced with new energy-efficient appliances. Laminate countertops were replaced, mid-priced sink and faucets were installed, walls and trim were repainted, and the flooring was replaced with resilient flooring.

Window Replacement (wood)

Average cost: $11,341

Cost recouped: 78.8%

While replacing existing double-hung windows with insulated wood replacement windows topped the list, remember that wood models require more maintenance than vinyl. Wood windows are a beautiful option in terms of craftsmanship, but when it comes to efficiency, wood and vinyl are very similar.

Attic Bedroom

Average cost: $51,696

Cost recouped: 77.2%

Making use of unused square footage can be of great advantage for homeowners. For analysis,Remodeling magazine used costs for a 15x15' attic bedroom with a 5x7 bathroom with shower, insulation and finishing of ceiling and walls, carpeting, electrical wiring and lighting.

Window Replacement (vinyl)

Average cost: $11,198

Cost recouped: 72.9%

Vinyl windows are a great option for window replacement, because they are essentially maintenance-free, and depending on the type and size, can be as much as half the price of wood counterparts.

Basement Remodel

Average cost: $65,442

Cost recouped: 72.8%

Your basement remains one of the smartest places in your home to remodel, finish, or renovate. You can add useable square footage to your home without an addition at a third of the cost. Use this blog post for a guide on adding value to your home with a finished basement.

Other Home Improvements with a High Cost Recoup

  • Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass) - 72%
  • Roofing Replacement - 71.6%
  • Bathroom Remodel - 70%
  • Deck Addition (composite) - 68%
  • Major Kitchen Remodel - 67.8%
  • Garage Addition - 64.8%
  • Family Room Addition - 64.1%
  • Two-Story Addition - 64.1%
  • Master Suite Addition - 61.7%

If you're interested in financing any major or minor home improvements, download our free Rehab and Construction Guide for options on combining the cost of renovations and your mortgage into one monthly payment.

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide

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