Updated: May 7, 2020
You want to improve your home, but you also might be selling within a few years. Which home projects give you the best return on your investment? You might be surprised at just how much you can get back from some inexpensive, simple projects.
Want to MAKE money with home efficiency?
Head to the home improvement store of your choosing and buy up all the fiberglass attic insulation you need. For every $100 you spend, you can expect to get $115 back in savings when you improve your home's energy efficiency. It might not boost your home's selling price, but you'll literally make money as you watch your heating and cooling bills plummet. Not sure how to install it? The DIY network has this video, or start here on YouTube and get lost in home improvement nirvana.
How about just breaking even?
Refinish your hardwood floors. Yes, you need to move all the furniture and get out of the house for a few days while the varnish dries, but you'll get all of your investment back in the list price of your home. And your floors will look gorgeous!
You want to do more. And you don't mind only getting most of your investment back.
Use stone veneer to spruce up your home's fireplace. You'll get about 93% of your investment back when you sell your house. Click here for a great photo and description of this product.
Improve your doors. Your garage door and your front door, specifically. If you do this, you can expect to get just over 90% of your money back.
But you want to do even more! You won't be selling right away and you want your home to be more comfortable while you're still there, and you don't mind getting only 2/3 back.
Convert your basement into livable space. Turning a dark, bare, concrete area into a bright and homey office, TV room or play space will score you nearly a 70% return. Check out the gallery on this page from the popular HGTV Show Love it or List It.
There are a couple of projects to avoid if you're looking to get a significant return.
Don't add a deck. Real Estate agents talk a lot about "curb appeal," how your house looks from the outside. A deck will look great, but you'll only get just over half of your investment back when you sell. Plant a few shrubs and water the lawn to save yourself a headache and loss of investment.
Don't add a Master Suite. Yes, everyone loves the idea of a gigantic bedroom with its own bathroom attached. But if you're doing it purely to boost your listing price, it's not worth it. You'll only get a 57% return.
Keep in mind that regions vary regarding market appeal for certain projects.
For example, central air is a must-have in Florida, but isn’t necessarily essential in New England. Curious about other projects? Remodeling online has a nifty little tool that allows you to search any region in America to see the cost vs. value reports on a host of home improvement projects.