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The Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Home's Value in 2015

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Jun 27, 2015 at 6:12PM

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Before you open your checkbook, it helps to know which projects will pay you back.

According to Remodeling's latest data on home improvements, some renovation projects won't do much for the value of your home. For example, if you add a sunroom or remodel your home office, you can expect to recoup less than half the cost of the project when you sell the home. On the other hand, a handful of home improvements nearly pay for themselves in terms of the value they add to your home. Here are the five projects that could give you the most bang for your buck in 2015 (note: for the purposes of this list, I didn't include "luxury" renovations).

Source: flickr user ntm1909

5. Add a wooden deck (Cost recouped: 80.5%)
A new deck will set you back about $10,000 on average, but you can expect to recoup more than $8,000 of your investment. A deck can expand a home's usable living space at a fraction of the cost of an actual addition, and this extra space can appeal to buyers.

It's important to note that composite decking (which is much pricier) doesn't have nearly the same ROI as wood, even though it has several other advantages, including a longer life span.

Source: flickr user ntm1909.

4. New vinyl siding (Cost recouped: 80.7%)
Few projects will make your home look newer than replacing its siding. While the average siding replacement project runs about $12,000, you'll recoup a fair amount of that money.

You'll notice a general trend here that the projects with the best ROI are those that freshen up the appearance of your home, and new siding can do just that. However, it's important to take the time to maintain your siding after it's installed, because the ROI of this project declines as the new siding wears out and becomes dirty or weathered.

3. Replace an old garage door (Cost recouped: 88.4%)
The exterior doors (including garage doors) are where prospective buyers first notice a home's condition. Replacing a worn-out garage door with a brand-new one does wonders to freshen up a part of your home that people look at quite often.

However, the ROI listed here applies only to a midrange garage door replacement. In general, replacing parts of your home that are either too "cheap" looking or too high end when compared with the rest of the home aren't the best investments. The same can be said for things such as kitchen and bathroom renovations -- after all, it wouldn't make financial sense to put a $100,000 kitchen in a $150,000 house, and buyers aren't willing to pay for such luxuries.

Source: wikipedia user craftstoneoz.

2. Replace some siding with a manufactured stone veneer (Cost recouped: 92.2%)
Adding a stone veneer (see the picture if you're not familiar with these) creates a "high-end" look to your home, and buyers are willing to pay for the increased curb appeal. Remodeling's cost estimate is $7,150 to replace 300 square feet of vinyl siding toward the bottom of your home with a manufactured stone veneer, and you can expect to recoup all but about $550 of this amount when you sell.

1. Install a new steel front door (Cost recouped: 101.8%)
Topping the list, and the only project that will add more value to your home than it costs, is a steel entry door replacement. The front door represents potential buyers' first impression of your home, and a brand new one can set a positive tone. On average, a new steel door costs $1,230 and adds $1,252 in value to a home.

It's also worth mentioning that the same rule doesn't apply to fiberglass doors, which tend to be more costly. In fact, a more "upscale" fiberglass door will only return 72% of its cost in the form of increased value.

Do your research first
Having said all of this, it's important to note that every real estate market is different, particularly in terms of what buyers want. For example, if you live in a location like South Florida where it's warm all year, adding a pool would produce a better ROI than it would in, say, Michigan.

Fortunately, Remodeling breaks down the data geographically, so make sure to check out your area's ROI information if you're concerned about adding the most value to your home. Or, better yet, talk to a real estate professional in your area. Of course, this is just a study, and every individual situation is different, but it should give you some good guidelines if your goal is to add value to your home.

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