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7 Home Improvements that Reap Rewards


Four years after the pandemic sparked a plethora of home improvement projects, housing prices soared, and interest rates increased. Consequently, some homeowners are electing to renovate rather than move. Meanwhile, those still planning to sell want to increase the home’s appeal.

So, which home renovations are expected to add value in 2024? It’s a tricky question, considering buyer preferences change. Moreover, it can take time to reap a reward.

“Extensive renovations typically don’t have an immediate payback,” says Diana Melichar, a Lake Forest, Illinois, architect. “A full kitchen renovation that costs $50,000 might give you a return on investment of about half when you sell it.”

Is it worth it? Yes, if it adds to your longer-term enjoyment of your home, she says. But not all improvements or renovating efforts are pricey. Some just require elbow grease. Here are seven home improvement ideas for boosting your quality of life now—and potentially your resale value later.

Woman adding clear coat to outside sidings

An unsightly lawn, weed-filled beds and cracked walkways may deter even the most open-minded buyer. According to a study published in the September 2019 issue of the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, curb appeal accounts for up to 7% of a home’s sale price, and landscaping can increase the home’s perceived value by up to 12%, according to a report published by Virginia Tech.

Paint, replace siding, spruce up landscape, and install good lighting.

To get a good ROI, look for projects that conserve energy, says Ryan Chaw, founder of, a real estate coaching business.

For instance, replace old windows, HVAC systems, and appliances with energy-efficient models.

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A coat of interior paint and new cabinet hardware can “breathe new life into the space without breaking the bank,” Chaw says.

Quinn Babcock would agree. “Replace fixtures such as faucets and towel bars,” suggests the construction and design operations lead at Block Renovation in New York. Refinish or replace a vanity cabinet, and reglaze the tub.

Creating more space pays off at resale. “If a home has three bedrooms, consider adding a fourth with a full en suite bath,” Melichar suggests.

An addition may not be necessary. Rework the existing floor plan to open a kitchen, for instance. Or turn a walk-up attic into a home office. Conversely, convert a dust-collecting home office into a bedroom.

Changing a carport into a garage increases storage space and protects your vehicle. As for the basement, ensure there are no humidity and water issues before you refinish it, Melichar notes. Ideally, there is access to the outdoors, preferably a patio.

Man and woman, DIY kitchen project

Bathrooms and kitchens are frequently renovated for good reason; they’re used daily. Upgrading these areas will create a strong appeal and attract more interest.

In the kitchen, trending elements include an island, a walk-in pantry and storage for gadgets. Babcock recommends natural stone or solid-surface materials, hardwood cabinets, tile, vinyl plank or hardwood floors, and stainless-steel appliances. Tile, glass mosaic, and natural stone remain popular backsplash materials.

In the bathroom, he suggests natural stone, quartz, or solid-surface vanities, stone or tile floors, high-quality chrome or brushed nickel fixtures, and LED lighting and tile, For the shower and tub, he recommends stone or acrylic/fiberglass surrounds.

Primary bathrooms deserve extra attention, says Rebecca Rains, managing broker and CEO of Integrity All Stars at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Chandler, Arizona. “I have seen plenty of homes sold because a wife fell in love with the master bathroom setup,” she says. Install good mirrors, lighting, a high-end shower, and a spectacular tub.

According to a Fixr survey of real estate professionals, 48% of respondents said buyers want a combination porch and patio, with the former being the higher-priced item.

Pools often add value only if the home is in a warm climate and other homes in the community have pools.

No matter the project, keep costs in line with the value of your home and others in your community, Melichar says. For instance, if your house is worth $200 per square foot, don’t build an addition that costs $400 a square foot, she explains. “You might end up with the highest-priced house in your neighborhood,” she warns. “That’s a tough sell.”