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What Home Improvement Projects Offer the Highest ROI?

By: Kelly Leighton on in

Outdoor home improvement projects are offering homeowners the biggest bang for their buck this year.

According to Remodeling magazine’s 33rd annual Cost vs. Value Report, nine of the top 10 best investments for projects were exterior ones, with a minor kitchen remodel being the sole interior project offering a strong return on investment.

What exterior projects should homeowners concentrate on if they’re looking for the best ROI? The magazine said manufactured stone veneer is the winner. It costs $9,357 on average, but has a resale value of $8,943, or recoups 96% of its original cost. A garage door replacement is next, costing $3,695 on average, with a resale value of $3,491 or 94% and a siding replacement of fiber cement is in third, costing $17,008, with a resale value of $13,195 or 78%.

Other outdoor projects that offer a strong recoup value include a vinyl siding replacement (75%), a vinyl window replacement (72%), a wood deck addition (72%), a wood window replacement (69%), a steel entry door replacement (69%) and a composite deck addition (69%).

“As in years past, the national averages for exterior replacements outperformed those of larger discretionary remodeling projects,” said Clayton DeKorne, editor-in-chief of Remodeling magazine. “Exterior facade facelifts improve the curb appeal and makes a great first impression as buyers approach the home, that translates to real dollars at the closing table which is why we see such tangible returns on that investment.”

A minor kitchen remodel, the only inside project to make the top 10, costs on average, $23,452, but has a resale value of $18,206, or 78% of its cost.

The project that offers the least ROI is an upscale master suite addition, which costs $282,062, while the resale value is only $145,486, or a cost recoup of 51.6%.

Overall, the cost-to-value ratio of projects is 63.7%, a decrease from 2019, and down 7.5% from a high of 71.2% in 2014.

Comments (6)


  • Peter Muehlbronner   February 7, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Goo information to have…. always amazes me how some homes are marketed with zero curb appeal! A good first impression is very important and, as a home inspector, it can set the tone for the rest of the inspection.

    Reply to Peter Muehlbronner
  • Vince Range   February 7, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Great article! Good information to know when going on a listing appointment.

    Reply to Vince Range
  • Patricia Chapple   February 7, 2020 at 10:09 am

    Great information to include in my listing presentation!

    Reply to Patricia Chapple
  • Kenneth Enochs Jr   February 7, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Thank you for this timely article. More and more sellers need advice on maintenance and upgrades prior to marketing their property. This provides our Realtors with some specific knowledge and creates value for our members.

    Reply to Kenneth Enochs Jr
  • Jodi Diego   February 7, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Wonderful article and perfect timing so we are able to share with our clients!

    Reply to Jodi Diego
  • Lisa Tidwell   February 7, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you, for always keeping us Realtors updated. Great Information

    Reply to Lisa Tidwell

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