The 5 Renovations with the Biggest ROI

by | Mar 2, 2020

Abbie WeeksJoJo Gilbert-Ross

When it comes to renovations, be sure to set your expectations appropriately. Doing some minor, strategic renovations and updates can add a lot of market value making your home sell quicker and for more. However, it’s unlikely you’ll see a 100% dollar to dollar return on improvements, a more realistic goal is in the 80% range.

Something to consider: it’s not always worth putting the money in your house if it’s just for selling vs. your wanting to enjoy living in this exact house and location. Before renovating talk to us; we’ll pull comparable homes that are for sale in your area. We want to make sure you have the full picture and information to best invest your money. Would your money go further into a different house?

So, why renovate?

  • Personal enjoyment and use

  • Resale value

  • Or both!

Here are the renovations and upgrades that get the biggest ROI:

1. Increasing finished square footage

…and/or adding a bedroom/bath by finishing unfinished space (basement, attic, etc.) From an appraisal point of view, the golden rule of increasing home value is adding finished square footage & bathrooms.

2. Garage door replacement

  • Average cost: $3,611

  • Average resale value: $3,520

  • Cost recouped: 97.5 %

Add these for a super affordable finished look! Household Essentials 240 Hinge It Magnetic Decorative Garage Door Accents | Black

3. Minor kitchen/minor remodel

  •  Average cost: $22,507

  •  Average resale value: $18,123

  •  Cost recouped: 80.5 % (a major remodel? 59 %)

New appliances, reface or paint cabinets, new countertops, new hardware, install a new sink and faucet/vanities, add new flooring, repaint, new toilet and reglaze tubs.

4. Deck addition (wood)

  •  Average cost: $13,333 estimated based on a 16-by-20-foot deck

  •  Average resale value: $10,083

  •  Cost recouped: 75.6 %

Having a wooden deck can be an extra enhancement to enjoy the outdoors around your home and can really highlight your lot. When prepping for sale, at a minimum we recommend a combo of replacing rotten deck boards, powerwashing, staining or painting.

5. Siding replacement

  •  Average cost: $16,036 – 1,250 square feet including factory trim

  •  Average resale value: $12,119

  •  Cost recouped: 75.6 %

Old, dilapidated siding can make even the nicest house look worn-out and can definitely flip a buyer’s “buying switch” to off. When prepping for sale, at a minimum we recommend pressure washing your siding, sidewalks and decks.

Other improvements we love:

  • Canned lighting – especially in dark rooms

  • Entry door replacement (steel) (cost recouped: 74.9%)

  • Removing popcorn ceilings

Final thoughts 

Before you renovate ask us to pull comparables for your home – could your money go further in a different house?

Renovations like the highest level countertops (marble, onyx) don’t get the ROI that one expects. Lean towards the middle of the road price points. We don’t recommend making improvements on things appraisers can’t see OR overbuilding for your neighborhood.


Ready to start the conversation?



Not sure you’re ready to dive in? No worries! Our first conversation is super low-key. You ask questions; we learn your goals.


When you’re ready to move forward, we manage all the details, absorb the stressful bits, and keep the enthusiasm high.


Your success is our favorite part, and we celebrate big on closing day. Bear hugs all around! (Handshakes are fine, too. You pick.)


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