One of the sad truths about making home improvements is that you are unlikely to recoup the financial outlay. Even if the resale value of your home is increased due to your home improvement, it is unlikely to make enough of a difference for you to break even. Add in the cost of a home equity loan (if you used one to finance the effort), and you might find that the financial value is even less.

According to Remodeling Magazine, there are some home renovations that offer a better return on investment than others — if you are looking purely at resale value. Here are some of the most worthwhile home improvements you can make:

Entry Door Replacement (Steel)

According to the magazine, this is your best bet. On average, you will pay $1,218 for this door. However, it will boost your resale value by $1,243 — 102.1%. Another advantage to this simple fix is that you can improve your curb appeal, making it easier to sell your home. Plus, it is within the realm of possibility that you could save up for your replacement door, meaning that you won’t have to pay finance costs associated with a loan.

Garage Door Replacement

This is another relatively inexpensive ($1,291) curb appeal enhancer. Add in a keypad, and you could do a little better. The estimate is that you will recoup about 83.9% of your “investment.” And, like the entry door replacement, you can probably save up for the door, and avoid the costs associated with financing a loan.

Wood Deck

It seems a little strange, at first, to realize that you can do well with all these outdoor upgrades. You might spend right around $11,000 to put in a wood deck, and get close to $8,000 in resale value increases. However, for those who are handy, purchasing the materials and building the deck on your own can save you some money, while still increasing the resale value of your home. You might have to finance your project, though, and that can add to the costs. The great thing about a wood deck, though, is that you can enjoy it yourself before you sell your home.

Minor Remodel in the Kitchen

Remodeling Magazine estimates that you can get about 72.8% of the cost of a minor kitchen remodel back in resale value. Do some minor upgrades to the fixtures, cabinets and counters, and you can see a big difference. Get even more bang for your buck by taking care of cosmetic items, like refinishing the cabinets (rather than replacing them), adding molding, or replacing some of the appliances. You can improve your ROI (estimated at 72.8%), spend less than the $21,695 you are estimated to spend, and enjoy the feeling of a fresh look to your kitchen.

Siding Replacement

We’re back outside, improving your home’s curb appeal. If you already have siding, keeping it properly maintained and clean can ensure that you get a better price when you sell. If you don’t have siding, you can get a 72.4% ROI when you add it. Plus, you’ll save money on maintenance costs over the long run — especially if you have had to paint your home every few years.

General Cosmetic Improvements

Really, though, your best bet is to make general cosmetic improvements to your home. Fresh paint, adding window treatments, upgrading fixtures, and doing a deep clean for your carpet, can be a real help. Outside, keeping your landscaping neat and attractive, and even putting in garden boxes, can be relatively inexpensive ways to improve the appeal of your home. Simple, small fixes are often those that provide you with the best bang for your buck.



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.