29 home remodeling projects that offer the best payback


When it comes to remodeling, there’s what we want — maybe a gazebo, a chef’s kitchen, heated floors, a star-viewing deck. Then there’s what we need — a new roof, maybe, or bedrooms enough for the entire family.

And finally, there’s what makes investment sense. How much of a project’s cost will you get back when you sell the house?

Home improvement projects that offer the best return on your investment

The good news is that with home values on the rise, the payback from many home renovations is rising, too. That’s according to Remodeling Magazine, a trade publication, which recently released its 30th annual Cost vs. Value report.

The report covers return on investment for a broad range of common home improvement projects — from garage-door upgrades and bathroom remodels to window replacement and two-story additions. Some projects were considered “midrange” and others “upscale,” depending on the size of the projects and whether they incorporate higher-end trim and amenities.

How does your renovation project measure up as an investment?

See where it fits in this rundown from the report — which ranks the 29 remodeling jobs by percentage of project cost that homeowners can expect to recoup when selling the home.

Read more: How to get trusted referrals for home repairs

29 remodeling projects with the highest ROI

29. Bathroom addition (midrange): 53.9%

This midrange project envisions a 6-by-8-foot bathroom addition with a cultured marble countertop and ceramic tile floor. At a 53.9 percent return on investment, it is the least cost-effective of the 29 projects studied in Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 report.

  • Cost: $43,232
  • Home value increase: $23,283

28. Backup power generator (midrange): 54%

home remodel upgrades with best return

  • Cost: $12,860
  • Home value increase: $6,940

27. Backyard patio (midrange): 54.9%

  • Cost: $51,985
  • Home value increase: $28,546

26. Composite deck addition (upscale): 56.4%

Create a 16-by-20-foot deck of composite decking materials, with stairs to a second lower 10-foot-diameter platform at one corner and other custom details.

  • Cost: $39,339
  • Home value increase: $22,171

25. Bathroom addition (upscale): 57.1%

This project envisions adding a 100-square-foot master bathroom to an existing bedroom, with a shower in a frameless glass enclosure, a freestanding soaker tub and other amenities including electric in-floor heating.

  • Cost: $81,515
  • Home value increase: $46,507

24. Bathroom remodel (upscale): 59.1%

Expand a 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet, relocate and upgrade fixtures, and add such amenities as in-floor heating.

  • Cost: $59,979
  • Home value increase: $35,456

23. Master suite addition (upscale): 59.9%

  • Cost: $250,687
  • Home value increase: $150,140

22. Major kitchen remodel (upscale): 61.9%

home remodel upgrades with best return

  • ​Cost: $122,991
  • Home value increase: $76,149

21. Master suite addition (midrange): 64.8%

  • Cost: $119,533
  • Home value increase: $77,506

20. Bathroom remodel (midrange): 64.8%

  • Cost: $18,546
  • Home value increase: $12,024

Read more: 19 budget-friendly home improvement projects

19. Composite deck addition (midrange): 65.2%

Create a 16-by-20-foot deck of composite decking materials.

  • Cost: $17,249
  • Home value increase: $11,252

18. Major kitchen remodel (midrange): 65.3%

  • Cost: $62,158
  • Home value increase: $40,560

17. Bathroom remodel for universal access (midrange): 68.4%

As the big baby boomer generation remodels homes with aging in place in mind, the emphasis on universal design is growing. This project, for a 5-by-7-square-foot bathroom, includes widening doorways for wheelchair access, dropping the height of electrical outlets and switches, replacing the tub with a roll-in shower and adding a more-accessible toilet among other improvements.

  • Cost: $15,730
  • Home value increase: $10,766

16. Roofing replacement (midrange): 68.8%

  • Cost: $20,664
  • Home value increase: $14,214

15. Family room addition (midrange): 69.3%

  • Cost: $89,566
  • Home value increase: $62,055

14. Basement remodel (midrange): 70%

  • Cost: $71,115
  • Home value increase: $49,768

13. Grand entrance (upscale): 70.1%

This one-day “grand entrance” project involves expanding the entry to accommodate a new, higher-end fiberglass door with surrounding sidelights. 

  • Cost: $8,358
  • Home value increase: $5,855

12. Two-story addition (midrange): 71.1%

  • Cost: $176,108
  • Home value increase: $125,222

11. Wood deck addition (midrange): 71.5%

home remodel upgrades with best return

  • Cost: $10,707
  • Home value increase: $7,652

10. Wood window replacements (upscale): 73%

This project envisions replacing 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated windows featuring interior hardwood finish and exterior aluminum cladding.

  • Cost: $18,759
  • Home value increase: $13,691  

9. Vinyl window replacements (upscale): 73.9%

In this project, the 10 insulated replacement windows are vinyl with simulated wood-grain interior finish.

  • Cost: $15,282
  • Home value increase: $11,286

8. Siding replacement (midrange): 76.4%

  • Cost: $14,518
  • Home value increase: $11,093

7. Garage door replacement (midrange): 76.9%

  • Cost: $1,749
  • Home value increase: $1,345

6. Fiberglass entry door replacement (upscale): 77.8%

  • Cost: $3,276
  • Home value increase: $2,550           

5. Minor kitchen remodel (midrange): 80.2%

  • Cost: $20,830
  • Home value increase: $16,699

4. Garage door replacement (upscale): 85%

home remodel upgrades with best return

  • Cost: $3,304
  • Home value increase: $2,810

3. Manufactured stone veneer: 89.4%

This project involves removing 300 square feet of vinyl siding along the bottom of the home’s street-facing facade and replacing it with manufactured stone veneer.

  • Cost: $7,851
  • Home value increase: $7,019

2. Steel entry door replacement (midrange): 90.7%

  • Cost: $1,413
  • Home value increase: $1,282

1. Fiberglass attic insulation (midrange): 107.7%

home remodel upgrades with best return

Adding loose fiberglass insulation to a 35-by-30-foot attic floor is the only project in the study that, on average across the nation, earns homeowners back more when the home is sold than it cost to do. Payback for these projects can be quite different at a regional or city level, though.

  • Cost: $1,343
  • Home value increase: $1,446

For more details on how much projects return on investment by your region or state, see the full Remodeling Magazine report here.

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