6 Home Improvements that Pay Back

Making improvements on your home is part of being a homeowner. And while cosmetic changes come and go, there are some projects that will earn a higher percentage of return at resale. Whether you’re making improvements for yourself or with the intention of selling, these 6 upgrades will earn you the biggest bang for your buck.


Buyers typically assume that if the exterior of a house hasn’t been taken care of or maintained, then the inside hasn’t been as well. Make a good first impression, to get buyers through the door to see the rest of your home. Improvements made on the outside that are more practical will add value when they make a house more durable or safe, which appeals to any buyer.

1.New Roof

The holy grail of home upgrades is ... a new roof. You're likely to make back all of your costs when you sell — and then some. A new roofing system has so many benefits. It helps with energy efficiency, therefore reducing costs, and improving comfort levels (preventing your heat or AC from escaping). A new and improved roof also decreases the chance of water damage compared to the old, leaky one. Plus, it instantly boosts your curb appeal and adds value to your home. This project is a smart one for both homeowners who are planning to stay put for a while and those who are looking to sell soon.

2.New Fiber-Cement Siding

Durable and long-lasting, fiber-cement siding can completely transform the exterior of your house. While more expensive than its cheaper counterpart, vinyl, it is fire-resistant, moisture resistant, and insect- and rodent-resistant, and because it's a thicker material, it can be texturized to resemble wood. Installing new siding is no small project but, is well worth it.

3.New Garage Door

While probably not your first thought for a project, a new garage door makes for a simple — yet smart — home improvement. Improved functionality, enhanced curb appeal and aesthetics will all work in your favor as a seller. This is likely a very visible element of your home, and with so many options with automatic and smart doors, a beat-up door is a no-brainer to replace.


Interior improvements should also be practical in order to earn a return. These can create a more comfortable environment that a buyer will notice immediately. Although there are more glamorous improvements to make, improving the quality of the living environment will give you more return. And since not everyone has the same taste in décor, these will be appreciated by the majority.

4.Hardwood Flooring Refinish

If you have old wooden floors that are dinged up or hiding under carpet, a hardwood flooring refinish can completely revitalize your space at an affordable price. Not only are you likely to recoup your costs at resale, but with its popularity it also can help seal the deal with prospective buyers.

5.Insulation Upgrade

Energy efficiency is all the rage these days, and for good reason. While a lot less glamorous than shiny new floors, an insulation upgrade is another worthwhile project. Not only will you recover about three-fourths of your costs when you sell but think of the additional energy savings you'll gain from having a better insulated home. According to the EPA, homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs simply by sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, crawl spaces, and basement rim joists. It just makes sense.

6.HVAC Replacement

Waiting until your furnace or AC unit completely conks out is never a good idea. If your HVAC system is struggling to keep up with Mother Nature (or if it's more than 10 years old), it's probably time to upgrade. Be sure to have a professional do an energy assessment on your home to determine what your needs are. As you're weighing out which system to purchase, look for high-efficiency ENERGY STAR units, as they'll reduce your energy consumption and can help decrease your annual energy bill.

Big projects can be daunting, but they will give you a bigger return on investment than a simple coat of paint can. And having a home you can be proud to show buyers will make you feel great. Especially when you know you got the most out of your money. If you’re thinking about making improvements, you’ll need to decide how to finance the cost. If you don’t have enough cash in savings, a home equity loan can be used to pay for the improvements. Learn more about home equity loans or talk with one of our loan experts to find the best solution for you.

Lincoln Savings Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender