Remodeling Ideas and Home Improvement Projects News & Opinion

Remodeling Ideas And Home Improvement Projects: What Pays Off?

Homeownership has its benefits. One of those benefits is that you have the real opportunity to make it your own space. Sick of looking at those busted, old cabinets? Yank ’em out and replace them with cabinets that don’t look like they were fashioned in the 70’s. Will knocking out that center wall really “improve the feng shui” of your living room? Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t, but if you actually own the home, you have the freedom to indulge yourself. Of course, some remodeling ideas are more born from necessity. Say you’re trying to sell your house, but your roof leaks like a sieve. You’ll need to replace the whole thing and repair any damage to have the hope of attracting a buyer.


Whatever the case may be, some home improvement projects add legitimate value to your house, while some projects might fall more into the “vanity project” camp. We looked at the latest Remodeling Impact Report to find out which projects will allow you to recoup more of your money through the value that these home improvement projects add to your home.  Whether you’re planning on selling your home soon, or just looking into making your place your own through some general home improvement, we’ve got some remodeling ideas that might help you narrow down where to start.

Home Improvement Projects: Where Not To Invest

Surprise, surprise, not all remodeling ideas are good ones, at least not if you’re actually looking for a high return on your investment. While any home improvement project will likely improve the livability of your house, these projects present the smallest cost recovery of any of the typical remodeling ideas that homeowners come up with.

Quick note – keep in mind that these are national averages. While the cost of some renovations will seem high for some areas, the recovery percentages should be pretty solid.

Bathroom Renovation/New Bathrooms

Remodeling Ideas and Home Improvement ProjectsThe National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) estimates that the typical cost for remodeling a bathroom will fall around $30,000. While upgrading your bathroom will definitely improve the functionality and look of this important room, the National Association of Realtors estimates that you’ll recover around $15,000 when you sell. $30,000 in, $15,000 out – that’s only a 50% cost recovery on this home improvement project.

New Master Suite

You might think that remodeling your master bedroom would jump the value of your home up, but this is another area that you won’t get anywhere near what you put into it. NARI estimates that your total cost for renovating your master suite will run somewhere around $125,000. Realtors estimate that you’ll recover $65,000 of that initial cost, meaning that you can expect to recoup 52% of your investment.

Remodeling Ideas and Home Improvement Projects

Kitchen Upgrades

If your latest remodeling ideas include redoing the kitchen, you might reconsider upgrading the kitchen if you’re only trying to clinch a sale. On a $35,000 investment, Realtors estimate that you’ll only recover $20,000 through added equity. Sure, a kitchen upgrade looks better than bathroom renovations or upgrading the master suite, but you should still only expect to make 57% of your money back.

Remodeling Ideas and Home Improvement Projects

Remodeling Ideas: Where To Maximize Value

Interior Home Improvement

Wood Floors

Do you have old, wooden floors hiding under that carpet? Can your existing hardwood floors use some freshening up? Do you not have hardwood floors, but wish you did? In any of these cases, renovating or refinishing your floors make for great places to start when it comes to home improvement. To refinish, NARI estimates that you can expect to spend $3,000, but also that you can expect to recover $3,000. That’s 100% of your value recovered.Remodeling Ideas and Home Improvement Projects

Even if you’re installing new wood floors, the National Association of Realtors considers starting from scratch to present a great value. At an estimated cost of $5,500, you can expect this home improvement project to net you $5,000 added value upon resale. While you might not get every bit of your money back in home equity, you’re still looking at around 91% of your value recovered.


While not as “sexy” as flooring, improving your home’s insulation has proven to be another one of those fantastic remodeling ideas. Not only will it save you money on your power bill, but new insulation should recover you $1,600 from an initial estimated investment of $2,100. That’s 76% of your value recovered. The energy savings will save you or your buyer the rest.


Similarly, HVAC replacement presents some decent value. NARI estimates that replacing your old HVAC system could run you around $7,475, but that you can expect to recover 67% of that money upon resale. Of course, newer, energy-efficient models will save money on power costs as well.

Remodeling Ideas and Home Improvement ProjectsExterior Remodeling Ideas


Apparently, the number one place you ought to consider when it comes to home improvement starts with your roof. You’ll likely drop around $7,500, but Realtors estimates that you’ll make back 109% of that cost at around $8,150 of added value when it comes time to sell. Beyond these numbers, replacing your tired, old roof will increase your energy efficiency, reduce water damage, and add curb appeal.

Garage Door

A new garage door will also improve the aesthetics and functionality of your home, and you’ll recover 87% of the initial cost through added value. NARI estimates that a new garage door will cost around $2,300. Since this upgrade is a relatively simple home improvement to install, this is one of those remodeling ideas that is a no-brainer.

Remodeling Ideas and Home Improvement Projects


New siding, specifically fiber-cement siding, can be a solid investment. Although the upfront costs can run an estimated $18,000, this siding is durable, long lasting, and it looks great. Plus, this upgrade has a relatively high cost recovery of around 83%.


Final Thoughts

Ultimately, what remodeling ideas will pay off? It all depends on your housing situation. If you’re not planning on moving anytime soon, but would like to enjoy your living space more than you presently do, that $30,000 bathroom upgrade might actually make sense. If you’re flipping houses, you’ll probably avoid bathroom and kitchen remodels; despite the fact that these upgrades will likely attract buyers, you probably won’t make a great financial return on the investment. Meanwhile, new roofing and insulation will not only attract buyers, but they will also allow you to adjust your asking price, as they will almost certainly increase the value of your home.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments