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It’s a Seller’s Market. Should You Bother with Home Renovations?

A beautifully remodeled kitchen.
photo curtesy of Architectural Digest

Why Invest in Home Renovation?

In this fast-paced seller’s market, you may be thinking there’s no need to renovate your home before listing. Houses are selling in hours after all, right? It’s true – in this market your home will most likely sell no matter the condition. Before you write off renovations completely, though, consider your goal. Is your goal to sell your home with as little effort as possible? Or is your goal to quickly sell your home with the biggest return on your investment? 

Not all renovations are created equal. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of home renovation in the current market and share some of the home improvements with the highest rate of return. 

As we mentioned before, if you are looking for a quick sale, you might not need to do much to your home. However, in just about any other situation, a little work can go a long way if you’re looking to profit off your investment.

Home Improvements with the Highest Return on Investment

According to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, these five home improvements have the highest rate of return:

  1. Manufactured Stone Veneer

Also known as faux stone, manufactured stone veneer is a manmade material designed to replicate the beauty of natural stone. Virtually maintenance free and a fraction of the cost of real stone, stone veneer is an affordable home upgrade that almost perfectly mimics the real thing.

Replacing the existing vinyl siding of your home’s entryway with manufactured stone veneer, an endeavor projected to cost around $10,000, averages a 93% rate of return.

A home remodeled with a stone veneer exterior, vastly improving return on investment.
A home with a renovated exterior featuring manufactured stone veneer.
  1. Garage Door Replacement

Replace your existing garage door with a high quality, custom designed door with a lifetime warranty. Not only is this a functional improvement, but it is also an enhancement that will increase curb appeal for homes with street-facing garages. An estimated $3,800 project, this renovation averages 92.8% cost recouped. 

  1. Minor Kitchen Remodel

Minor upgrades to a functional but dated kitchen are always a good idea. Consider painting or replacing cabinet and drawer fronts, including new hardware. Appliances can be swapped out for newer energy-efficient alternatives and laminate countertops and floors can be replaced with granite and luxury vinyl flooring. 

Minor kitchen remodels ranging from $15,000-$30,000 typically are expected to recoup 70% of overall cost.

A mid-range kitchen remodel designed to increase return on investment for potential sellers.
A kitchen remodel featuring painted cabinets, modern hardware, and a neutral herringbone backsplash.
  1. Vinyl Window Replacement

Modern windows offer better insulation and decrease energy bills, not to mention the additional security they provide your home. If you are replacing windows, trim the exterior to match the existing trim and do not touch interior trim. Replacing your home’s windows is a roughly $20,000 investment from which you’ll recoup about 70% of the overall cost. 

  1. Siding Replacement

Another investment-savvy home improvement to consider is updating your house’s siding. Fiber Cement, also known as hardiplank, is a higher quality upgrade to standard vinyl siding. Fiber Cement siding is a sustainable, fireproof alternative to vinyl that can be customized to match the rest of your home’s exterior. Just make sure to install a water-resistive barrier underneath the siding. 

Replacing your home’s siding is an approximately $20,000 project that, on average, results in a 70% return on your investment.

A home who's garage door has been replaced with a custom designed door, increasing home value.
A home renovation featuring new siding and a custom garage door.

*2021 Cost vs. Value Report – South Atlantic Regional Data

How to Determine the Best Home Renovations for Your House

What is the takeaway from this data? When it comes to home improvement for resell, focus on cosmetic touch ups and actual problems. The goal is to brighten, refresh, and modernize, not transform. Give your home a makeover, but keep it neutral; prospective buyers should see a polished space upon which they can leave their personal stamp, not feel like they are intruding on someone else’s home.

The Cost vs. Value Report above outlined some pretty expensive renovation investments. While each one of these will result in a high rate of return, it’s not always easy to spend such a large amount. Instead, we can examine the best improvements and scale them down as needed.

Fix leaky faucets, tighten loose door handles, and repair any signs of past water damage. A fresh coat of paint, inside and out, goes a long way. Assess your current landscaping and consider how you can clean up your curbside appearance. Landscaping and a clean exterior can make a huge first impression. 

A home featuring a beautifully curated exterior landscape design intended to increase home value for future resale.
A thoughtful and simplistic landscape design improves your home’s curb appeal.

Selling a home can be a daunting task, even in a market that often favors sellers. Investing in the right home improvements can ensure a quick and profitable sale. Another key to selling your home at the right price is hiring a listing agent to represent you!

Interested in selling your home? Hamilton & Company is a team of Greenville, SC real estate agents ready to reveal the secrets of how we can help you sell your home. From setting the price to creating marketing campaigns for traditional media and web, we have a proven plan that will match your home with the right buyers for the right price. Let us help you sell your home to the right buyer for the right price today!


A picture of Real Estate Agent Dan Hamilton


Dan Hamilton is the founder of Hamilton & Co. and the lead listing agent for the team. He is the only agent in the Upstate endorsed by Shark Tank star and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran. Additionally, Dan hosts a weekly radio show on The Answer 94.5 and 106.3 WORD giving tips and advice on real estate and is a frequent contributor for real estate on Your Carolina TV show on WSPA Channel 7.

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