Which home improvements have the biggest ROI?

March 18, 2022
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If you’ve owned your home for a while, chances are there are some improvements you’d like to make, whether it’s adding a master bath or legitimizing that non-conforming bedroom in your basement. The good news is, as you lower the amount you owe on your mortgage loan by making regular payments (or even paying extra!), you’re building equity — which you can leverage to tackle your dream projects. So how do you know the improvements you’re making will translate to resale value? We’ve done some digging (but not in your landscaping, we promise) and have come up with some pointers on which home improvement projects are worth the money from an ROI perspective. Let’s take a look.

Make it look better. If people aren’t crazy about your home’s exterior, it will affect how they feel about the inside, so it makes sense that landscaping costs can reap a whopping return on investment at resale — as much as 100%!1 A new steel front door, garage door, or attractive walkway are also great ways to enhance curb appeal to prospective buyers.2 To take that exterior improvement concept one step further, stone veneer, exterior paint, and new siding all landed pretty high at the top of ROI lists.

Make it low-maintenance. This one’s not nearly as much fun as some of the more cosmetic changes, but items in need of maintenance or updating are always a good first step for ROI. Are you living on borrowed time with your water heater, HVAC system, or roof? Start there, keeping in mind that improvements that lower or eliminate maintenance are great ways to increase home value. Replace high-maintenance wood siding with vinyl or steel (which can also boost that curb appeal we talked about). Consider replacing easily stained carpet with hardwood floors, and keep this same principle in mind when shopping for roof shingles or gutters.

Make it smarter. Our love affair with technology has extended to our homes, and buyers want the ultimate combination of smart and safe. Scope out Bluetooth thermostats, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks, and lighting that fit the bill. You can reap the benefits of a smart, safe, secure home both now and later, as research shows that even non-techie buyers are likely to pay more for smart-tech upgrades.2,3

Make it energy-efficient. You might not get too excited about making your home more energy-efficient, but you might be pretty close to ecstatic over reduced heating and cooling costs. And the majority of realtors agree: Green energy will most definitely yield green when it comes time to sell (plus, our planet will thank you). When thinking energy-conserving improvements, consider double-paned windows, door and siding installations, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances as your ROI top choices. Smart picks also include installing solar panels, replacing your old toilets with low-flow fixtures, and enhanced attic insulation.3

Make it minor. What is considered a minor remodel for a bathroom or kitchen can result in a major payoff for you, the homeowner — both now, as you splash (or cook) up a storm, and when it comes time to sell.2,3

According to HGTV, a bathroom spruce-up (tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity, and fixtures) could have a recoup rate of as much as 102%.1 Even a budget option, like re-glazing your old tub, removing shower doors, and updating fixtures, could have a big payoff.

A minor kitchen remodel — mostly aesthetic, no nifty island or floor plan changes — has a regain rate of up to 98.5%, according to HGTV.1 Re-face kitchen cabinets, replace the sink and fixtures, swap in a new oven, or update countertops and flooring for a new look you can take to the bank.

Make it major. Consider those same bathroom and kitchens remodels, only this time you’re adding square footage, buying new cabinets instead of refacing, or adding more of the upgrades on tile or flooring. If it’s in your budget, build the space of your dreams — the ROI on these oft-used rooms is still quite high.1

Make it bigger. While adding a room or removing a wall may not be in your budget, or even your timeline, there are other things you can do to add more space and make your home more appealing for prospective buyers. Adding a deck that doubles as an outdoor entertainment space, finishing an attic to serve as a bedroom, or finishing those basement rooms are all great uses for your home improvement dollar, as they yield a nice return. Plus, you get to enjoy the square footage until you pack up for your next forever home!1,2

Whatever you decide to do to your home, enjoy the result. If you’re interested in taking out a HELOC, we’re here to help. And now is a great time to take action: You can get a HELOC from UBT with a great promotional rate of 3.99% APRꭝ for 60 months (after that, 5.00% APRꭝ–8.00% APRꭝ). Click through to get started. 

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ꭝOffer subject to credit approval. Requires automatic payment from UBT checking or savings account. Minimum loan amount of $10,000 in new money. Promotional APR of 3.99% (daily periodic .010932%) effective for a 60-month period from the date account opened. Upon expiration of the 60-month period, rate will be variable equal to Wall Street Journal published Prime Rate (“index”) then in effect plus a margin. The index as of 05/05/2022 is 4.00%. Current margins range from .50% to 4.00% resulting in corresponding variable APRs up to 8.00% based on the current index. The variable rate may change monthly and is subject to minimum APR of 5.00% and a maximum APR of 16.00%. Fees to open the plan rate from $220 to $815 and there is a $49 annual fee. You must also carry insurance of the property that secures this plan. Consult your tax advisor on deductibility of your interest. For applications received by 05/31/2022. Not valid on loans in process. Member FDIC.