More often than not, it’s about the time, money and effort you devote to the property while living there. The more updates and proper maintenance put in, the more likely you are to see it reflected in the final sale price when you put the home on the market.

But not all renovations are equal, and some make for a better return on investment when it comes to sale prices.

When you’re making renovations to a home, how do you know what’s a solid investment? A worthy update can either serve to reduce your cost of living while you remain in the home or add significant value to the home sale price when you decide to put it on the market.


Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can take make a world of a difference, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. HomeAdvisor reports that backsplash installation costs, on average, $1,000. A backsplash isn’t particularly difficult to install yourself and doesn’t take long to do, but like other DIY opportunities around the house, it’s not a project to complete sloppily if you want it to add value and appeal to your home.


Old windows on a house can be an eyesore, not to mention a pain to open and close. Zillow reports replacement of midrange windows can see an ROI up to $1.15 for every dollar spent on the project, but that profit decreases with more upscale windows. New windows can also have the cost-saving benefit of cutting down on drafts and increasing energy efficiency. Especially if you’re not planning to move yet, consider the possible reduction in utility bills when you look at your bottom line. You can easily get replacement windows as well, so if you are thinking about doing it, then you should really consider doing it sooner, rather than later.


Attractive cabinets are key to an enticing kitchen, but that doesn’t necessarily require brand new cabinets. Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report notes that replacing just the cabinet faces with a Shaker style as part of a minor kitchen remodel in the midprice range can bring back 80.5% of the cost when it comes time to sell. If you have the classic five-piece, framed look characteristic of Shaker cabinets and they’re in pretty good shape, refinishing or painting is a great alternative.

Bathroom Vanity

The bathroom is another key room for buyers, so giving it a face-lift prior to sale is important. Like the kitchen, you don’t necessarily have to do a massive overhaul. Visiting and getting some new faucets could also make a big difference too, especially if the existing vanity is in a good condition. New faucets can freshen up the vanity and create a whole new look. Real estate information company Zillow reports a minor bathroom remodel consisting of new light fixtures, tiling the floor and adding a double vanity can result in a $1.71 increase in the value of the home for every dollar spent on the project. HomeAdvisor reports a premade double vanity will cost between $600 and $2,200 to put in your home. Based on Zillow’s estimate, you could see your home value rise by more than $2,500 for the more luxurious bathroom look. You may also want to find a local affordable plumber to help with your plumbing.


The exterior of your house can take a beating from rain, snow, hail and dirt, and after a while it shows. The Cost vs. Value report notes new siding will recoup 75.6% of the cost when you sell your house. Replacing part of that siding with manufactured stone veneer, however, will have a bigger impact. Homeowners who install a stone veneer on their house – usually on the bottom third of the exterior – see as much as 94.9% of the cost come back in the sale price. Alternatively, something like the siding solutions provided by james hardie siding installers denver co could prove a preferable option.

Functioning Fireplace

If you have one, don’t get rid of it. A 2016 Angie’s List survey of more than 100 real estate agents across the U.S. found more than 68 percent believe having a fireplace in a home increases its value. The vast majority of real estate agents – more than 83 percent – see fireplaces adding between $1,000 and $4,999 to the home’s value, according to the survey.

Energy-Saving Thermostat

A smart thermostat, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, that can learn your habits and turn heat or air on only while you’re home serves as a great potential saver on energy bills. While it might not increase a home’s value significantly, the amount you could save on utility bills is worth the $250.

Garage Door

A new garage door may not provide the same enjoyment that a brand-new kitchen might in the interim before you sell, Fisher points out, but this project has a visual impact on a house you’re planning to put on the market soon. Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report shows replacing a garage door can recoup 97.5% of the cost in resale.

Solar Vents in the Attic

This update probably won’t go widely noticed when it comes time to sell, but solar vents in the attic are worth it if you’ll be in the home a while. The vents help to expel hot air in the attic in the summer, which has a tendency to keep your air conditioner working harder to keep the home cool. Home Advisor reports most homeowners spend between $342 and $752 for an attic fan installation, including the cost of the fan itself. Installing solar vents will likely cost about the same amount. The vents themselves vary widely in price from $100 to more than $550, so it’s best to check out reviews and determine which option would be most effective for your home.


The house’s curb appeal is often undervalued by homeowners when they put their home on the market. But as the first thing any house hunter will see when they come to tour the home, it’s important to seed any dead patches of grass, mow the lawn regularly and add a bit of color with flowers or bushes without overwhelming the yard. “Making a good first impression is overall good ROI,” Fisher says.

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