6 Renovation Projects That Pay Off for ROI, According to an Expert

The Bottom Line: Give yourself $1,000 per window for a mid-range, brand-name window, Ziegler suggests. If you’re going more upscale, that price will increase. That said, assume you’ll get your money back.

Story Addition

The Nitty Gritty: In addition to the finishing of the new space itself, any exterior work will involve changes to everything from the roof and siding to the foundation, potentially. Also, your ROI will depend on the houses around you. “Is your square footage smaller than average currently? Adding space can have a higher ROI if you’re bringing your home in line with the neighborhood comps,” Ziegler says. If you’re already on the larger end of typical size for your area, adding more space might have value in terms of function for your family, but not in direct ROI.

The Bottom Line: Homes with a larger-than-average size tend to command a below-average price per square foot, Ziegler explains. “More space does not result in a directly correlated value increase, but that doesn’t mean it might not be worthwhile for your priorities!” she adds.

Redoing Floors

The Nitty Gritty: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly renovation, consider removing carpeting. “It’s relatively low cost—or DIY!—and if you know that hardwood exists under the carpet, it can be a terrific choice for high ROI,” Ziegler says. Even without hardwood floors underneath, a luxury vinyl tile can take you a long way in comparison to dingy old carpets.

The Bottom Line: Since most buyers replace carpets prior to moving in, taking care of the floors (e.g. removing carpet AND refinishing the wood or replacing carpet and advertising it as brand new) can be a weight off of buyers who want to move in quickly, Ziegler says.

Repainting Walls

The Nitty Gritty: A fresh coat of paint may seem like a small endeavor, but the payoffs are big. “If you have time, buyers might not love the colors, but they’ll appreciate a fresh coat of paint—that means they don’t have to paint before moving in,” Ziegler says.

The Bottom Line: Sometimes lower-cost improvements have an outsized impact as buyers evaluate their bottom line. “If your budget is tight and sale seems imminent, focus on repairs and maintenance over upgrades,” Ziegler says. Simply put, a property that is well-maintained might sell for less, but your ROI will be stronger too.

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