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10 Best Home Improvements for Resale in 2020

By Jarrod Heil

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The best home improvements for resale are those that add value to your home’s price and your family’s life. But let’s face it, home improvement projects typically don’t provide the same return on investment as you see on reality TV shows. Some projects recoup more cost than others, while some simply please the owners at a drastic loss.

Buying a home is probably the biggest investment of your life. Even though it’s the place you may hope to live for many years, you should still treat it as an investment. If you decide someday to sell, don’t let your home improvement projects cut into your profit.

Remodeling.com’s Cost vs. Value report took the most popular remodeling projects in 149 different markets across the United States, gauging the cost and resale value after completion to find out which projects provide the most return on investment for the average homeowner.

What home improvements add the most value in 2020? The following 10 projects are the best home improvements for resale:

1. Garage Door Replacement

  • Job Cost: $3,470
  • Added Resale Value: $3,411
  • Cost Recouped: 98.3%
  • Estimated Loss: -$59

Replacing your garage door is the best project on the list for recouping your initial cost. This home renovation project completely replaces a four-section, 16-foot by 7-foot garage door and its tracks. Experts recommend installing a garage door with windows in the top panel, for added curb appeal, a lifetime warranty and heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks.

2. Manufactured Stone Veneer Siding

  • Job Cost: $8,221
  • Added Resale Value: $7,986
  • Cost Recouped: 97.1%
  • Estimated Loss: -$235

There’s just something aesthetically pleasing about stone siding on houses. While real stone can become too expensive very quickly, manufactured stone veneer siding is a perfect substitute that adds all the curb appeal at a fraction of the price — and far more recouped cost at the sale. The figures represent the replacement of 300 square feet of existing vinyl on the lower third portion of the street-facing side of your home. Outline the front entryway in stone veneer to spruce it up a little more.

3. Steel Entry Door Replacement

  • Job Cost: $1,471
  • Added Resale Value: $1,344
  • Cost Recouped: 91.3%
  • Estimated Loss: -$127

Replace your existing front door with a 20-gauge steel unit door, which provides a reinforced entryway that makes it tougher to break in. The replacement door includes a half-panel, double-pane glass window, too. You can spice it up a little bit and paint it with a wood pattern.

4. New Wood Deck

  • Job Cost: $10,950
  • Added Resale Value: $9,065
  • Cost Recouped: 82.8%
  • Estimated Loss: -$1,885

A wooden deck is much nicer and more appealing than a simple set of stairs leading out the back door of your house into the backyard. By adding a 16-foot by 20-foot, pressure-treated deck with stairs, a bench and built-in plant potters, you’ll add just over $9,000 to the resale value of your home. Recouping more than 82% of your investment is also a major plus.

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel

  • Job Cost: $21,198
  • Added Resale Value: $17,193
  • Cost Recouped: 81.1%
  • Estimated Loss: -$4,005

Before upgrading your entire kitchen to reflect the modernity you saw on a major-network reality TV show, slow down and think about the resale value. While your updated kitchen will have a more aesthetically appealing glow to it, will anyone be willing to pay what you spent to upgrade it? Probably not.

Instead, upgrade the outdated kitchen, cabinetry and countertops with new materials. This minor remodel calls for a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of countertops and cabinetry. Keep your old cabinet boxes in place, just replace the front drawers and wood panels. Replace your appliances with new energy-efficient models and redo the tile floor.

6. Siding Replacement

  • Job Cost: $15,072
  • Added Resale Value: $11,554
  • Cost Recouped: 76.7%
  • Estimated Loss: -$3,518

This valued project makes your home look newer and recoups more than 76% of the original job cost when you go to market. This cost estimate accounts for 1,250 square feet of siding with the factory trim at all corners and openings.

7. Minor Bathroom Remodel

  • Job Cost: $19,134
  • Added Resale Value: $13,422
  • Cost Recouped: 70.1%
  • Estimated Loss: -$5,712

Unfortunately, this minor bathroom remodel doesn’t account for your master bathroom. However, you can recoup more than 70% of the initial job cost with a somewhat simple remodel to a second or third bathroom that’s about 5 feet by 7 feet. Simply replace your tub with a 30-inch by 60-inch, porcelain-on-steel tub surrounded by ceramic tiles and a new shower head. You can also replace the sink and countertop, toilet, medicine cabinet and tile floor.

8. Roofing Replacement

  • Job Cost: $20,939
  • Added Resale Value: $14,320
  • Cost Recouped: 68.4%
  • Estimated Loss: -$6,619

You may be surprised how inexpensive it is to replace a roof. This job calls for two skylights to the room of your choosing, a vented ridge and 30 squares of 235-pound fiberglass asphalt shingles. You could recoup more than 68% of your total investment.

9. New Composite Deck

  • Job Cost: $17,668
  • Added Resale Value: $11,239
  • Cost Recouped: 63.6%
  • Estimated Loss: -$6,429

Composite decks look very similar to wood decks. However, they last much longer than wood decks. In theory, you’d recoup more money by installing a composite deck than installing a wood deck and having to repair or replace it. However, this list only accounts for the addition and sale thereafter. A new composite deck calls for the exact same dimensions and enhancements as the wood deck at number four.

10. Additional Bathroom

  • Job Cost: $44,717
  • Added Resale Value: $26,769
  • Cost Recouped: 59.9%
  • Estimated Loss: -$17,948

The more the merrier, right? With bathrooms, that’s always a yes. Installing a 6-foot by 8-foot bathroom typically adds more than $25,000 to your home’s value. Make sure you also add a 30-inch by 60-inch fiberglass tub, toilet, sink and ceramic tile floor to get the most bang for your buck — and to recoup about 60% of your total job cost.

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