Save Your Time + Money: Worthwhile Home Improvement Projects

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, the overall value added by home renovation projects—especially those focusing on upgrades, replacements, and curb appeal—has improved for the first time in six years.

The study focused on the “cost-value ratio” of 35 common home improvement projects (this ratio expresses the value a project retains once the house sells in relation to the original cost of the project; the greater the percentage of the original cost a seller recoups once the house sells, the greater the cost-value ratio). The continued decline in construction costs (down 6.0%) combined with relatively stable resale values (down only 1.4%) has finally created favorable conditions for homeowners to make those upgrades and remodels they’ve been putting off in recent years. For all 35 projects studied in the survey the cost-value ratio rose, making for an average 60.60 cost-value ratio across the board.

Sixty percent may not sound like much of a return on investment, but keep in mind that the 60.60% figure is merely an average of the cost-value ratios of all 35 projects. The projects at the top of this year’s list boast a cost-value ratio of 90% or higher in many cities. Nationwide, the top 10 lists are dominated by outdoor replacement projects that cost relatively little but have dramatic impact on curb appeal, a very strong factor in raising the perceived value of a home in the eyes of potential buyers.

The most worthwhile home improvement projects in our region were no exception. Below are the five projects with the highest return on investment in western Kentucky:

  1. Replace entry door (steel) – Replacing your existing front door with a steel door is inexpensive and relatively easy for an experienced DIYer. It can be painted an eye-catching color or made to match your home’s existing color scheme, and paired with quality hardware it can make for a simple, but impactful little facelift for the front of your home. The door’s steel outer layer will be susceptible to denting, so swing for a kickplate. Not sure if you want a steel door? Here are more details on the pros and cons of fiberglass and wood doors too. Estimated ROI: 87.60%
  2. Add a deck (wood) – If you’re looking to add living space, a deck is an easy and cost-effective alternative to a full addition, and it provides a great way to enjoy the outdoors when the weather’s nice. If you keep it simple and build the deck yourself with pressure-treated lumber, you can knock off almost 50% of the cost. Clean and seal it annually to keep it in good shape. Here are some tips on how to plan for a deck that suits your home, meets your budget, and offers the best possible return on your investment. Estimated ROI: 86.40%
  3. Replace siding (vinyl) – There’s a good reason why vinyl siding is so popular; it’s reasonably priced, it’s durable (good-quality vinyl siding can last 30 years or more), and its light weight makes it easy to install. Plus, it comes in almost any color you can imagine. Here’s more information on vinyl siding, as well as other siding options such as fiber-cement and wood. Estimated ROI: 79.90%
  4. Garage door replacement – This is a GREAT way to improve your home’s curb appeal. An attractive, mid-range garage door can do wonders for the overall appearance of your home, and a skilled/brave DIYer can install one in a weekend. For smart garage storage ideas and how you can exploit more storage space visit
  5. MINOR kitchen remodel. Resist the urge to do a complete kitchen overhaul, and keep your remodel to-scale—installing big, fancy appliances in a small home will rarely ever pay off. Stick with high-quality fixtures, and make smart cosmetic updates to modernize the look of your kitchen. For more tips on remodeling your kitchen without going overboard and over budget, click here. Estimated ROI: 76.60% and also you can keep the house plants san diego in your kitchen for fresh air.

As you tackle your own home improvement projects, keep in mind that your end goal is to increase the value of your home, and work to-scale. For example, if you live in a neighborhood full of mid-sized three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath homes and your home only has one-and-a-half baths, you will likely benefit more from adding a bathroom to bring your home up to the neighborhood standard than by doing a complete kitchen overhaul. Think strategically, shop smartly, and do the work yourself when you can. Here’s to a high cost-value ratio for all your home improvement projects to come!