There's no doubt about it: home improvements are a good idea most of the time. The added enjoyment you get out of your house, plus the additional value your home gains-which turns into a higher price when you do eventually sell-all make most home improvement projects worth it.

But let’s face it: not all projects are created equal.

The kitchen and bathroom are the most popular rooms to renovate. They are also the most expensive. In some housing markets and neighborhoods, these are good renovations to make, with a high return on investment. But in others, they only return as low as 50% of their initial cost. So, when considering your future home improvements, think about your local housing market, and ask an agent who specializes in your area.

No matter your area, there are five home improvements that almost universally improve both the homeowners’ quality of life, and have a consistent return on investment.

According to Realtor.com, here they are:


A NEW DECK - 75% ROI

If you currently have a deck and it’s a little weathered and beaten, it may be time to get it redone. With a universal average return of 75%, this project is a solid choice for improving both quality of life and home value. And the return is about the same if your house does not currently have a deck. Also good to note is that decks are most desirable—and therefore have the highest return—in warm climates, with nice weather, such as Orange County.

FINISHING A BASEMENT - 70% ROI

Finishing a basement creates a whole new level of living space, and that is a big value-booster no matter what market you are in. This is a great example of an improvement that provides a greater quality of life while also increasing value with a good return.

A NEW FRONT DOOR - 91.1% ROI

Getting a new front door can get you a return over 90%, while also increasing curb appeal. And we can never say enough about the importance of curb appeal. Because, as we know, curb appeal goes way beyond just landscaping. It is about the overall picture of the exterior of the house.

ATTIC INSULATION - 116.9% ROI

Not only does it have a positive return on investment, but it could cut your electric and gas bills by making your home more energy efficient. The ongoing energy bill savings surprises most homeowners once they install attic insulation.

PLANT A TREE - infinite ROI

This one is a long-term investment; plant-and-grow for the long haul. Planting a tree can be extremely cheap, and a mature tree can add anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more to the value or your home.


Overall, the return on investment should only be a factor to consider when doing home improvements, and you should always consider how it will improve your quality of life. Our biggest tip is to always seek the advice of a real estate professional who specializes in your area, since they will be the most in-tune with what is best for the local market.

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