Whether you just bought a new home or have lived in yours for years, home improvement seems to come with the territory. It’s understandable—you want your home to feel like it’s your home, which means matching your tastes. That said, it literally pays to think about how much resale value any improvement is likely to bring. After all, it’s your biggest investment. With return on investment in mind, here are six top exterior improvements that not only pay you back, they’ll also pay dividends every time you (and the neighbors) gaze at your gorgeous home.
What’s one of the fastest (and most affordable) things home makeover shows do to spruce up a house? Put in new plants and lay down fresh mulch. Just a few new flowering plants and shrubs make any home looked cared for. And that layer of mulch gives a fresh look that welcomes any buyer at your doorstep.
More than just a welcome safety feature, exterior lighting gives your home a warm, inviting glow. Landscape lighting highlights architectural details, spotlights your beautiful new plants (see tip #1) and helps would-be buyers envision relaxing evenings outdoors. The best part? It need not be expensive. You can hire a professional to do a simple landscape light plan. Or go the solar garden light route with a quick trip to your local home improvement store and do it in an afternoon.
For outdoor improvements with great ROI, it’s hard to beat a wood deck. Not only does wood typically cost less than other materials, it gives a higher return when you sell your home. A wood deck that costs around $10,000 to build gives you back more than 80 percent of that investment when you sell your home, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value That’s a higher ROI than you’d get with a composite deck, by the way. And if you’re concerned about carbon footprint, here’s where wood shines. Plastic composite decks use 15 times more energy than wood decks – and 87 percent of that energy comes from carbon-emitting fossil fuels.
Not only does siding protect your home, it’s one of the top features that contribute to curb appeal. If your siding is damaged, old and worn, replacing it can add significant value. And if you go with natural siding materials like pine, cedar or redwood, which are today’s trends, you add a boost to your home’s look that any buyer is bound to notice.
Nothing’s faster at improving appearance than a fresh coat of paint. And it’s wonderfully affordable if you do the job yourself. Resale tip: go with popular exterior paint colors like white or off-white, grays, neutrals like putty, warm yellows, or light blues—the colors you expect to see on a well-maintained home.
If the eyes are the windows into the soul, then windows are the way to let light and soul-nourishing views into your home. Beyond their beauty, windows also affect your home’s energy efficiency. If yours are old and inefficient, consider meeting both needs at once using wood replacement windows. Remodeling Magazine says they return nearly 79 percent of their cost when you sell your home — a higher ROI than vinyl windows.
These are just some of the top ways you can enhance your home’s curb appeal and value. For other tips, tricks and trends on exterior improvements and interior design ideas like natural wood pergolas, feature walls and ceilings, take a look at our Home Ideas + Inspiration.