Home Improvement – High-Intensity, Low-Return Projects

One of the few certainties in life is that, as a homeowner, home improvement projects are inevitable. Whether they come in the form of a leaking roof or an overflowing basement, there will always be something to fix. But not all projects are created equal: Some renovations will have much more of an impact on your living space than others. This is particularly true for those that are aimed at improving your home’s energy efficiency, such as installing new windows or adding insulation.

Home improvement can be a costly endeavor, especially when it comes to high-impact projects that don’t typically yield a good return on investment (ROI). In fact, according to data from the contractor growth network, homeowners have seen only a 20% ROI on average for their kitchen and bathroom renovations. But if you’re willing to do your research and pick the right projects, you can make your home a more comfortable place to live while still getting some of that money back when it’s time to sell.

In our September survey, 80% of respondents said that they could pay for the majority of their home repair/improvements without tapping into savings or going into debt. This is a significant increase over last year when only 69% of homeowners reported being in this position. In addition, three-fourths of those surveyed say they stick to the budgets that they set for their projects.

When it comes to picking the right home improvements, it’s important to remember that your personal value is just as important as the return on investment (ROI). If you plan to live in your home for several years, you should only take on those projects that add comfort and convenience or reduce your daily living costs. For example, an in-ground pool may not be worth the cost if you live in a neighborhood with above-ground pools, and a hot tub can quickly eat into your home’s outdoor space.

Another factor to consider is the local market. If you live in an area with a lot of competition for homes, you’ll want to make sure that your upgrades are attractive and affordable to the local buyers. This is why it’s important to consider the average home prices in your neighborhood before starting any project, and to avoid going over that mark.

Keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy your home’s improvements and be confident that they’ll pay off when the time comes to sell. And don’t forget — as long as you plan wisely and are careful not to over-renovate, you can have the best of both worlds: a beautiful home and a healthy return on your investment. Good luck! Samantha Walczak is a freelance writer and editor who covers all things home-related including home repair, design and organization. She has edited home-related content at websites like The Spruce and HomeAdvisor, and launched multiple home improvement review boards staffed with licensed pros. She has been writing and editing professionally for more than two decades.