August 05, 2020 at 8:47am | Michael Hunter

2019 is shaping up to be a big year for residential remodeling. Home values are up, which means it’s a good time to invest in your house by making key upgrades. Keep in mind, however, that not all remodeling projects offer a decent financial return on your investment (ROI). For instance, when the time comes to sell your home, it’s unlikely that you’ll recoup the cost of installing a swimming pool or creating a home office. If you’re looking to update your home in 2019 with an eye toward increasing its value, consider instead some of the 13 remodeling projects shown here, which may offer just the change you're after—and a good cost-to-value ratio, to boot.

Basement Remodel

With price per square foot on the rise, many homeowners are opting to stay put but stretch their living space by turning their basements into recreational retreats. The trend in 2019 will focus on upscale renovations with a luxury feel. Small home theaters (seating for eight or fewer), wet bars, and open entertainment areas are good bets, but skip the wine cellar if you want to draw in potential buyers. Well-designed basement upgrades offer a 70 percent return on your investment.

Accessibility Upgrade

Older Americans are choosing to remain at home longer, a trend known as “aging in place.” This means that the demand for accessible homes is on the rise. If someone in your family would benefit from an accessibility upgrade—think wider doorways and hallways, lever-style doorknobs, or flush or recessed thresholds—this is a good year to do it. Not only will you improve the quality of life for a family member with disabilities, you could also realize a 68 percent return on your investment.

Deck Addition

Enhanced outdoor living and entertaining spaces rank at the top of many a home buyer’s wish list, so if you’ve been dreaming about a new deck, this is a good year to make those dreams come true. Well-designed decks are top selling points, and you could recoup 65 percent of the money you spend on a new composite deck. Wood decks, such as cedar or redwood, are even more popular, netting homeowners a 71 percent ROI.

Attic Insulation

Year after year, one remodeling project consistently nets homeowners the biggest return on their investment: adding attic insulation. Houses lose the greatest amount of heat through the roof, making additional attic insulation investment in energy savings as well as home value. The average cost to insulate an attic with fiberglass insulation runs about $1,300, but the project increases resale value as much as $1,400, which means that you could recoup as much as 105 percent of the project's cost when it's time to sell.

Master Suite Addition

Many of today’s brand-new homes feature elaborate master suites, so if you have just a tiny bathroom off your master bedroom, it may be time for an update. A master suite addition is a pricey project, running $100,000 to $250,000, or more, but it could net from 65 percent to 80 percent ROI. Trending master suite amenities include his-and-her walk-in closets, separate bathing and changing areas, and smart-home functionality.

Entry Door Upgrade

If your home's shabby, worn entry door is a visual downer, pencil in a new steel entry door at the top of your remodeling list. Not only will a new entry door freshen up your home’s facade, but you’ll also recoup a whopping 90 percent of your investment if you then sell your house. Solid wood entry doors are as beautiful as steel, but a steel door offers the most security and the best ROI.

Masonry Veneer Siding

New siding is one of the best ways to refresh your home’s curb appeal. While any type of siding offers an updated look, masonry veneer will give you the best bang for your buck, with a whopping 91 percent return on investment. Choose from dozens of styles of either brick or stone veneer, and have it professionally installed for the best appearance and resale value.

Window Replacement

Replacing old, drafty double-hung windows with today’s versions that have double or triple panes, low-e coatings, and argon gas, or even opting for easy-to-open casements, offers an approximate 73 percent return on material-and-installation costs. Old windows make a house look dated and turn buyers off, so if you're renovating with an eye on resale, this is one upgrade that can really increase your home’s appeal—and with new new, energy-efficient windows, you'll save on utility costs as well.

Minor Kitchen Renovation

The kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms to fully remodel, but a minor renovation can look almost as good, and it comes with an 80 percent ROI. A minor renovation involves replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and refacing the existing cabinet base. Add new hardware, a counter top, and a sink for a dramatic new look. By contrast, a full remodel (complete tear-out and replacement), will net only a 65 percent return.

Garage Door Upgrade

The garage door sets the visual tone for your entire home. A run-down or dented garage door detracts from the look of your house and causes potential buyers to question how well you’ve maintained the rest of your property. Replacing your old garage door with a new mid-range model will boost your home’s curb appeal and offer a 76 percent return on the money you spent.

Roof Replacement

When the appraiser comes calling, a new roof on your house will translate into a 69 percent return on the money you spent to have the old shingles removed and new asphalt shingles (with a 25-year warranty) installed. Not only does a shabby roof discourage potential buyers, but a mortgage company may not lend money to buyers if the roof shows signs of damage. If you plan to sell your home in the near future, consider replacing that old roof in 2019.

Minor Bathroom Renovation

If your bathroom has seen better days, this is a good year to undertake minor renovations. Consider, for example, replacing a worn tub and adding a tile surround. Small upgrades like luxury vinyl flooring and a new sink and vanity won’t break the bank, and you could see a full 100 percent return on your investment. To get the most value for your bathroom remodeling dollars, choose inexpensive to mid-range fixtures; buying high-end fixtures doesn’t pay off.

Attic-to-Bedroom Conversion

Turning an unused attic into an additional bedroom (or more) can yield as much as a 93 percent return on the cost of the project. New bedrooms—plus an extra bathroom, if possible—offer a greater ROI than converting the attic to a loft, den, or recreational area. Real estate agents list homes by the number of above-grade bedrooms, so adding two bedrooms in the attic of a three-bedroom home will result in classification as a five-bedroom, raising the home's value and increasing its marketability.


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