Top 5 Upgrades that Pay for Themselves

Houses aren’t a cheap investment. We all know that – whether you’re buying a move-in-ready or a fixer-upper, the money doesn’t stop flowing once you sign on the dotted line.

That’s just a given.

But before you pick up that hammer and dive into ‘demo day’, you really should strategize which upgrades you’re opening your wallet for. The trick is understanding which upgrades are going to boost your home value and give you the most bang for your buck. That’s not to say that board and batten isn’t absolutely gorgeous, or that backsplash isn’t exactly what you’re looking for – but if you’re looking to recoup some of that money if and when you ever decide to change addresses, you may want to be discerning about where those funds are directed.

So, if you’re turning in circles wondering which upgrades may be the best, whether you’re thinking of selling right now or just thinking about the future, here’s a good list of home updates that pay back.

#1 – Garage Door Replacement

You can’t deny that curb appeal can make or break the opinion of a potential home-buyer. If you’ve got a stunning garage door, chances are your curb appeal will be increased dramatically – and for less costs upfront than other more costly upgrades, you can make a huge difference in a short amount of time. The average US cost of a garage door replacement is #3,470, with a resale value of $3,411.

That’s a whopping 98%.

#2 – Deck Addition

There’s nothing like a great yard. Extending a beautiful living space to the outdoors can really add value to a beautiful home. It helps people to picture the lifestyle they’re shopping for, aside from just a beautiful home.

This is the kind of upgrade that you can really enjoy for years and years – with the added bonus of recouping itself if and when you decide to move.

A mid-range wood deck addition can cost upwards of $11,000 – with a resell value of around $9,000. If instant math isn’t your thing – that’s an 82% recoupment* rate.

Not too shabby, hey?

#3 – Kitchen Update

Note the term ‘update’ here – this is not the same as a full remodel. That basically means demo day is going to be much shorter than normal – we’re likely not changing floor plans here, but some rather significant cosmetic updates.

Things like re-facing cupboards, installing new appliances, mid-level countertops & flooring. Paint, appliances, and updated light fixtures will put you in the $15-20,000 range.

Good choices can leave you with a recoupment rate of somewhere around an 81% recoupment rate. Worth it? Probably. Livable and sellable – that’s what we’re looking for here.

#4 – Window Replacement

New windows, believe it or not, can be one of the best investments you can make. While you’re living in the home, a solid investment in decent windows can save you a significant amount of money in energy costs. That (valid point) aside, new windows can also add substantial visual value in curb appeal. Adding vinyl windows averages nationally, in 2018, to be about $16,000. You’re going to get about $12,000 back for that investment. That comes in at about a 74% recoupment rate.

#5 – Bathroom Update 

Bathrooms are one of the biggest decision making aspects of a home when people are walking through. They can seem either amazing or overwhelming, depending on the imagination of the buyer. If you want to err towards the side of ‘amazing’, making sure that you’ve got a solid background for your bathroom.

Updating the tub, tile, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures can potentially get you a 70% recoupment* rate.

Add those updates to continued maintenance, good landscaping and yard care, and you’ve got a good solid plan for not only updating your home – but getting some of those hard-earned dollars back if you decide to sell.

*Cost vs. value recoupment rates retrieved from