Home improvement projects are not all equal when it comes to how much money (or equity) you can expect to get back from your investment. People are usually surprised when they realize that it’s almost always less than 100% of what you spend.
That said, certain projects will get you much more than others. I’m here to break down the projects that will give you the best return on your investment. And this data is specific to Portland, thanks to the folks at Remodeling magazine, who share this region-specific data each year.
If you’re doing home improvement projects this year, you can’t afford to miss this information.
Key Remodeling Trends for 2019
This year’s cost vs. value report shows just how robust the remodeling industry has been throughout the past year. Remarkably, every single project in the report shows an increase in value over the previous year.
The downside is that the cost for these projects has also increased, thanks to tariffs that have hit commodity markets hard. This means a slight downturn in the percentage you’ll get back on some projects. On the flip side, overall returns are also up slightly over last year.
In general, you’ll also see that exterior improvements tend to be worth more than interior improvements, and that’s held true each year.
1. Garage Door Replacement
A perennial favorite on this list is a garage door replacement for your home, and this year, it’s the number one project. This improvement will get you 97.9% of what you spent on it. Not bad at all!
You’ll want to install a new, four-section garage door on brand-new, heavy-duty steel tracks. You can use your existing motorized opener. The door should be high-tensile strength steel and have two coats of factory paint. You should also ensure that it has foam insulation with thermal seals and a lifetime warranty.
2. Entry Door Replacement
An entry door replacement can make the front of your home look completely different. This home improvement project gets you back 93.8% of what you pay for it, so it’s well worth doing.
Remove the existing entry door and jambs and replace it with a new, 20-gauge steel door. It should have a clear, dual-pane half-glass panel, as well as new jambs, an aluminum threshold, and a composite doorstop. The door should be factory finished with the same color on both sides. Exterior brick-mold and interior colonial or ranch casings should be prefinished to match the door color. Don’t forget a new lockset to make sure everything looks shiny and new.
3. Minor Kitchen Remodel
The second project on the list comes pretty close to a full return on your investment at 88.4%.
You may be surprised to know that a minor kitchen remodel actually gets you a better return on your money than a major, expensive kitchen overhaul (which is 60.6%). A minor remodel can make a dated kitchen look entirely different, and honestly, a complete remodel might not even be necessary.
A minor remodel should include a few key upgrades. You can leave the existing cabinet boxes, but you should replace the fronts with new, shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts. Don’t forget the new hardware! Replace the cooktop, oven range, and fridge with energy-efficient models, probably stainless steel. Replace countertops with laminate (there are a lot of really beautiful options these days that mimic real stone). Add a new mid-priced sink and faucet. Then you can repaint the trim and walls, and you’re done!
4. Siding Replacement
A siding replacement can be an excellent choice for a home improvement project. It will make your home look entirely different and will net you 85.9% of what you spend.
For this project, replace all existing siding with new siding. Don’t forget to include factory trim at all openings and corners.
5. Manufactured Stone Veneer
Adding manufactured stone veneer to your home is a smart move. This year, it will net you 83.0% of what you spend to get the job done.
Just take a band of siding from the bottom third of your house’s street-facing façade. You’ll begin at the garage and go around the main entry. Replace that siding with manufactured stone veneer. Include new sills, corners, and an address block with two separate layers of water-resistant barrier underneath the veneer to protect your home.
6. Grand Entrance
A new fiberglass grand entrance will get you 75.6% of what you spend on it, and it will do wonders for a dated home.
For this upgrade, remove your existing entry door and cut and reframe the opening for a new door with dual sidelights. The fiberglass door should match the upscale entry, including color, threshold, lockset, and decorative glass. The sidelights should match the door.
The exterior trim should be wrapped in PVC to match the existing trim. There should also be wider interior colonial or ranch casings in hardwood that have been stained to match the door.
7. Midrange Bath Remodel
Last but not least, we have a midrange bath remodel coming in at 73.3%. Just like the kitchen remodel, a midrange bath remodel is better than a luxury remodel when it comes to a return on your money. An upscale bathroom remodel comes in at 63.4%.
For this project, upgrade the bathroom by replacing all its fixtures. Include a porcelain-on-steel tub with ceramic tile surrounding it. You’ll also need a new single-lever temperature and a pressure-balanced shower control. The toilet can be a standard white one, and you’ll need a solid-surface vanity counter with an integrated sink and a medicine cabinet with a light. This remodel should also include new ceramic floor tiles and vinyl wallpaper.
I hope this helps you decide what home improvement projects you’d like to tackle next, whether you’re planning to sell or are staying put. If you have any other questions about the value of home improvement projects on homes here in the Portland area, please give me a call.