10 home improvements that are totally worth it


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Home has always been where the heart is, but lately it has been where everything is. For many people, work, play, family time, and basically every moment is taking place at home while social distancing recommendations are in place. Creating a home you love and feel comfortable in has never been more important than it is now.

Lots of homeowners have been tackling home repairs as of late or doing major remodels. It’s understandable you may want to give your home a refresh after not leaving it for months, and you also may have in mind the long-term financial gains associated with home projects. 

Keep reading to see what improvements deliver the highest return on investment.

Please note that the cost estimates and expected ROIs for the following projects can vary with specific project needs, location, and other factors.

Related: A guide to remodeling your closets

Image Credit: Feverpitched/ iStock.

1. Bathroom Remodel

Who doesn’t dream of having a shiny new bathroom that gives off major spa vibes? In a recent National Association of Realtors survey, 19% of people who renovated a bathroom did so because it felt like time for a change, and 41% wanted to simply upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials. 

After completing a bathroom renovation, 58% felt an increased sense of enjoyment at home, and 80% felt a major sense of accomplishment. Many real estate agents are fans of this project, too, with 33% recommending sellers renovate a bathroom before putting their home on the market.

  • Cost Estimate: $35,000
  • Expected ROI: 57%

Image Credit: Feverpitched / istockphoto.

2. Deck Addition

There’s nothing quite like spending time in the great outdoors, especially now. Adding a deck to your backyard can be a great way to enjoy the fresh air and your outside space. 

The cost of a deck can vary based on the type of material used (wood generally costs less than composite materials, for example) and the size. But generally, homeowners can expect the below cost estimate and ROI when adding a deck.

  • Cost Estimate: $14,360 – $19,856
  • Expected ROI: 66.8% – 72.1%

Image Credit: WoodysPhotos / iStock.

3. Kitchen Upgrade

Admit it: You’ve lusted after the dream kitchens on HGTV. Shiny new backsplash, countertops, and appliances—we want it all. Considering that we all spend a decent amount of time in our kitchens, it seems fair to want a beautiful room to cook, eat, and entertain loved ones in. 

If you’re unsure whether you want to remodel your kitchen or not, consider that 85% of homeowners who completed the project reported feeling a stronger desire to spend time at home, according to the Realtors survey.

  • Cost Estimate: $38,300
  • Expected ROI: 52%

Image Credit: Feverpitched/ iStock.

4. Entry Door

Selling a home? Improving curb appeal can’t hurt. Not to mention, this project is one of the more affordable ones on this list. If your front door is looking a little worse for wear, consider swapping it for a shiny new one.

  • Cost Estimate: $1,881
  • Expected ROI: 68.8%

Image Credit: mirsad sarajlic / istockphoto.

5. Roof Replacement

Not all home reno projects are fun. Some are just a necessity, whether you plan to stay in your home or sell it. Rain or shine, you need a solid roof over your head, and if you’re looking to sell, your buyers will need one, too. 

In fact, the roof and structure are part of the four-point inspection that gauges homeowner’s insurance risk. Replacing a roof before snow or storm season rolls around or before you sell a home can be advantageous.

  • Cost Estimate: $24,700 – $40,318
  • Expected ROI: 61.2% – 65.9%

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

6. Garage Door

Basements are tricky. They can be a great extra living space if set up properly, or can be kind of creepy if left to their own devices. 

Which is why a renovation may be in order. Want a home gym or a winter play area for your children? What about a quiet home office if you’re working from home? 

Converting a basement to living space has allure, as 85% of people surveyed who had remodeled their basement felt a greater desire to be at home since completing the project, the Realtors Association reported. We could all use a little extra motivation to stay home right now.

  • Cost Estimate: $46,900
  • Expected ROI: 64%

Image Credit: DFTidrington / istockphoto.

8. New Wood Flooring

Giving what’s underfoot a refresh can feel pretty good, considering how much wear and tear our floors get. New wood flooring can majorly make over a home, which is probably why 78% of consumers reported feeling a major sense of accomplishment whenever they reflected on the project. 

Adding new wood flooring can be expensive, depending on the size of your home and type of wood you’d like to use, but this isn’t one of the most expensive home upgrades on this list.

  • Cost Estimate: $4,700
  • Expected ROI: 106%

Image Credit: hanohiki / istockphoto.

9. Insulation Upgrade

While this home project isn’t one you can see, it’s one you can feel both physically and financially once it’s complete. 

When asked why they were motivated to upgrade their insulation, 93% of consumers said they did so to improve energy efficiency. After completion of the project, 47% reported that the upgrade led to better functionality and livability.

  • Cost Estimate: $2,400
  • Expected ROI: 83%

Image Credit: brizmaker / istockphoto.

10. Closet Renovation

For those who have discovered the joy of tidying up, a closet overhaul is likely high on their dream list of home projects. A perfectly organized closet does sound pretty darned convenient. A big closet renovation can set you back a bit, but for those who crave organization, it can be an investment worth making.

  • Cost Estimate: $6,300
  • Expected ROI: 40%

Image Credit: PC Photography/istockphoto.

How to Finance Home Projects

In a perfect world, we would all build our dream homes immediately. Tackling a fixer upper can sound ideal, but let’s face it, home projects cost money and take time to execute. 

Funding home projects can be challenging, and you may need to carefully consider what adds value to a home before you start a renovation project. Luckily, there are financing options out there that can help you tackle home upgrades in a manageable way.

Homeowners who are looking to make improvements may have the option of taking out a home equity loan. The home is used as collateral in order to borrow money. It’s worth noting that if the borrower can’t pay back the full loan amount, the lender can foreclose on the home.

Image Credit: Jelena Danilovic / istockphoto.

Personal Loans for Home Improvement

For low-income households looking to improve their heating, cooling, or electrical systems, the Weatherization Assistance Program  provides free weatherization services. You can learn more about the Department of Energy’s general eligibility guidelines and application procedures.

A variety of personal loans are available to help consumers finance large purchases. Generally with personal loans, a borrower pays back the money over an agreed-upon time period. Secured loans require property as collateral, similar to a home equity loan. Unsecured loans don’t require collateral, which makes them riskier for lenders, so they often charge a higher interest rate.

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