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Which home improvement projects have the greatest value for buyers and sellers?

A complete kitchen renovation is the interior improvement that offers the most value for buyers and sellers, according to a new report about home improvement projects.
A complete kitchen renovation is the interior improvement that offers the most value for buyers and sellers, according to a new report about home improvement projects. THE WASHINGTON POST

Renovating the bathroom or adding an outdoor deck are things homeowners often do to improve their enjoyment of their own living spaces.

But when it comes to increasing a home’s resale value, not all improvement projects are created equal.

The 2019 Home Improvement Report by the National Association of Realtors reveals the top three return-on-investment home projects are:

New roofing (107 percent of value recovered by sales price)

New hardwood floors (106 percent of value recovered)

Refinished hardwood floors (100 percent of value recovered)

The study, which combines responses from homeowners, Realtors and the remodeling industry, also revealed the top three interior projects with the highest overall impact for buyers and resale prices. They are 1) a complete kitchen renovation, 2) a kitchen upgrade and 3) a heating/cooling/ventilation upgrade.

The top three exterior projects with the highest impact for buyers and resale prices were 1) new roofing, 2) new vinyl windows and 3) new vinyl or fiber cement siding.

A kitchen renovation also clocked in first when ranked by “joy score,” or the level of pleasure it brings to homeowners who continue to live in the property. Closet renovations brought the second highest level of smiles, while a full interior paint job came in third.

According to the study, 36% of property owners did the home improvement project themselves, while 35% hired a professional. About 14% hired the labor but purchased the materials.

The U.S. home improvement and repair industry is a $400 billion business that is not only driven by the desire for creature comforts. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, a niche but growing driver for the industry are health concerns such as indoor air and water quality, safety and comfort issues and the replacement of harmful chemicals or materials used during initial construction.

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