Replacement vinyl siding. It's not what Laing would call a "sexy" update, but a $9,000 vinyl siding job can add $8,000 to a home's asking price when it comes time to sell, an 89 percent return on investment (ROI).
Major bathroom remodel. Among those surveyed by Sherwin-Williams and NARI, the bathroom is the top choice for a remodel. A bathroom overhaul costing $13,000 can add $11,000 to a home's asking price, an 85 percent ROI.
Vinyl replacement windows.Windows are a functional update that are not so noticeable visually, but are much appreciated for improving energy efficiency. A $10,000 expenditure on new windows can bump up an asking price on a house about $8,500, according to ISoldMyHouse.com, for an 85 percent ROI.
Major kitchen remodel. In a survey commissioned by MasterBrand Cabinets, 27 percent of homeowners planned to spend between $10,000 and $24,000. And 35 percent of those remodeling kitchens were doing so to invest in the long-term value of the home.
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Homeowners who shell out $54,000 on a kitchen remodel can count on adding about $44,000 to their home's asking price, for a 81 percent ROI.
Basement remodel. A renovated basement can become an in-law suite, add guest or family bedrooms or even bringing in rental income before the home is sold. A basement remodeling project costing $57,000 can add $45,000 to a home's asking price, for a 79 percent ROI.
Roof replacement. A major roof repair or replacement can add up to a big expense. Spending $14,000 on a new roof can add curb appeal and up the asking price by $10,500, for a ROI of 75 percent, says the ISoldMyHouse.com report.
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Deck addition. A new deck is impossible to forget when potential buyers are touring a home, and for those costing about $15,000, they add about $11,000 to the asking price, for a ROI of 73 percent.
Smart renovations don't always guarantee results, of course, especially in the current real-estate market.
Chris Pomeroy, senior vice president at the realty firm Halstead Property, and his partner bought their house in Hudson, N.Y. in 2007, at the top of the market. Intending to eventually sell the home at a better price, they invested in renovating the entire pool area, the landscaping, interior decoration, and they added a new lighting system and security system for the house.
Despite the improvements, they recently listed the house for less than their purchase price.
Pomeroy still believes their improvements will be helpful in selling the home. As he tells his clients, you don't always get back what you put in, and it's better to sell the house at the right price than to not sell it at all.