How to Get a Positive ROI on Your Home Improvements

Written by | Updated December 16, 2015


This post was written for SafeWise by Jacob Hurwith from, a home remodeling and home improvement resource website.

Many of us remodel in order to sell our home. Others remodel to take out those dreaded kitchen counters or ugly bathroom wall. Sadly, few homeowners remodel with their return on investment (ROI) in mind.

Few home remodeling projects will give you a positive ROI. It’s common knowledge that kitchens and baths sell homes, but believe it or not, rarely do either bring back even 80% of your initial investment. Fortunately, there are five renovation projects that bring very high returns.

Note: All facts below were taken from Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value report or Home Improvements Return on Investment (ROI) Facts.

1. Home Security & Safety

Before we get into the raw numbers, it would be naive to not mention home security and home safety. While we can not put a price on your family’s safety, we can all agree that it’s more than the price of a new door, new counters or new deck. Therefore, if you have faulty home security or are thinking of updating your current security system, we’d always recommend completing this project first.

2. Front Door Replacement

Believe it or not, front door replacement has been and remains one of the most profitable home remodeling projects out there. In fact, national averages show that 102% of the money you put into a front door replacement will be recouped when you sell the home.

Steel entry door replacement has the biggest return with an average national cost of $1,230. However, if you handle the project on your own, the price drastically reduces. Steel entry doors typically cost between $160 and $500, according to ImproveNet’s material estimator.

Despite the added security with a new front door, there are other ways to protect your home via the front door.

3. Replace the Garage Door

Besides the front door, the garage is a major point of access for burglars. Therefore, it’s a key part of your home’s security system. Furthermore, a new garage door gives your home a fresh curb appeal and most likely, will improve your home’s insulation, saving you money (especially during the winter).

According to ImproveNet data, the average price to replace a garage door is approximately $964 and you can expect to recoup roughly 88% of your cost input once you sell your home.

4. Build A New Wood Deck

Wood decks are great. They give you most usable square footage outside, provide a fun atmosphere to any summer BBQ and let’s you take advantage of any nice day right in the confines of your own backyard. Luckily, according to the report above, homeowners who add a deck recoup 80% of the cost put into it.

While the price of building a deck can balloon up to $6,000, the overall cost largely depends on your wood of choice and whether or not you hire a professional. Pine, despite being a popular option, can be expensive ($5-$11/sf), but Ipe hardwood, a very strong type of wood, can go as low as $3.50/sf.

Building a deck by yourself is not one of the easier DIY projects, but one that does not 100% require a pro. Nonetheless, it would save you a lot of cash as time and labor can add roughly $1,000-$2,000 to your overall project cost.

Note: That $6,000 price above does include hiring a pro.

5. Replace the Windows

Despite high installation costs, every aspect of your home wears over the years. Few, though, have a larger affect on your house than your windows. While it can be expensive, there are a few telltale signs that your windows need to be replaced.

  • Drafts inside the home
  • Clear cracks or gouges in the glass
  • Long-term mildew or damage around the frame of the window
  • Rotten window sills
  • Windows that are hard to open or close

Nonetheless, like the projects above, window replacement usually posts a very positive ROI. In fact, vinyl window replacement recoups 73% of its total cost. Furthermore, replacing your windows will certainly reduce your energy costs and improve your home’s insulation. Like every project on this list, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Written by Jacob Hurwith

Jacob is the content marketing manager at ImproveNet, which connects homeowners (for free) with local contractors. Jacob started his career with the Chicago Sun-Times, but has since worked in the marketing departments for various agencies and brands. Learn more

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