A house is an enormous financial investment for most people who own one, and unlike an asset like a car, it grows in value over time. One way homeowners can increase their investment is to make improvements or upgrades to the house.

Although many homeowners don’t start to think about maximizing their home’s value until they’re getting ready to sell, this is typically a mistake because the return on investment for something like a home upgrade is (almost) never more than 100%. In other words, you’re not going to get more back from your upgrade than you put into it.

This means there are two ways that homeowners should think about home improvement projects:

  • What’s going to give me the most comfortable or best lifestyle while I live in this house?

  • What’s going to increase its resale value down the road?

Every year, Remodeling Magazine releases a cost-versus-value survey that assesses how much return on investment (if any) a homeowner could get for various home improvements. The 2022 cost-versus-value survey confirmed that the cost of home improvement has gone up due to increases in the costs of construction materials.

These are the highest-return home improvements that you can make in 2022 if you’re hoping to sell your house. But remember: The highest and best return includes enjoying an improvement before you sell!


Replacing Garage Door: 93%

Outdoor “curb appeal” improvements tend to have the highest return on investment.

This project involves removing and disposing of the existing door and installing a new four-section door with windows in the top panels on new steel tracks.


Replacing Siding With Manufactured Stone Veneer: 91%

Another curb appeal project, the siding replacement covers a “300-square-foot continuous band of … siding from bottom third of street-facing façade.”

The replacement installation includes 36 linear feet of sills, 40 linear feet of corners, and an address block.


Minor Kitchen Remodel: 71%

The kitchen has been said to be the heart of the house, and giving it a relatively simple face-lift can make a house much more appealing.

This project includes:

  • Replacing cabinet fronts with “new shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts, including new hardware”

  • Replacing cooktop and oven range

  • Replacing fridge

  • Replacing laminate counters

  • Mid priced sink and faucet

  • “New resilient flooring”

  • Painting walls, trim, ceiling


Replacing Siding With Fiber Cement: 68%

Another “curb appeal” project, this siding replacement covers replacing 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new fiber-cement siding that’s been primed and painted in the factory.


Replacing Windows With Vinyl Windows: 67%

Windows have a big impact not only on your home’s appearance, but also its level of comfort; it’s hard to keep a house cool or warm when the windows are drafty.

This project involves replacing 10 three-by-five double-hung windows with “insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-light vinyl windows with a custom-color exterior finish.”


Replacing Siding With Vinyl: 67%

Vinyl siding isn’t the most expensive option on the list, and its return isn’t the highest, but it can still fetch you a higher price for a house while sprucing up the look.

This project involves replacing 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new vinyl siding, including factory trim at all openings and corners.


Replacing Windows With Wood Windows: 66%

There’s a negligible difference between vinyl and wood windows in this report, so wood is still a solid option if you prefer that look. Like the vinyl windows, this project includes replacing 10 existing three-by-five-foot double-hung windows with “insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-light wood windows.”


Adding A Wood Deck: 65%

This project won’t expand your home’s square footage, but it will give you and your family another nice place to enjoy each other’s company!

The deck in question is 16-by-20 feet, supported by posts anchored to concrete piers and built with pressure-treated deck boards “in a simple linear pattern.” It includes stairs, a complete railing system, and “built in-bench and planter of the same decking material.”


Replacing An Entry Door With A Steel Door: 64%

Perhaps surprisingly, replacing your entry door can actually improve the value of your house, at least by a little bit!

This project involves removing the existing door and replacing it with a new “20-guage steel unit, including a clear, dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs, and aluminum threshold with composite stop.” It also includes exterior brick-mold and interior casings, and replacing the existing lockset.


Adding A Composite Deck: 62%

A composite deck is more expensive than a wood deck and lasts for longer, but you won’t get quite as high a return on investment for it.

Like the wood deck, this project covers adding a 16-by-20-foot deck, supported by posts anchored to concrete piers and built with pressure-treated deck boards “in a simple linear pattern.” It includes stairs, a complete railing system, and “built in-bench and planter of the same decking material.”


Adding A Fiberglass Grand Entrance: 60%

An entrance makes a statement! Instead of replacing your front door with a steel version, you could go all-out.

This project includes:

  • Removing the existing door

  • Reframing the opening for a larger door with dual sidelights

  • Moving electrical box with two switches

  • Matching door blank to entry, including “color, threshold, lockset, and decorative half-glass with sidelights”

  • Exterior trim and interior casings


Replacing Roof With Asphalt Shingles: 60%

Asphalt shingles won’t last quite as long as a metal roof, but they’re less expensive to install and still look nice.

This project includes:

  • Removing and disposing of existing roofing

  • Installing 30 squares of 235-lb. Fiberglass asphalt shingles with new felt underlayment, galvanized drip edge, and aluminum flashing

  • Custom flashing at two average-size skylights


Mid-Range Bathroom Remodel: 59%

Making an existing bathroom (35 square feet) more welcoming is well worth the investment for your current residents (including you).

This project includes:

  • Replacing all fixtures

  • A porcelain-on-steel tub with ceramic tile surround

  • New shower controls

  • Standard toilet

  • Vanity counter with sink

  • Recessed medicine cabinet with light

  • Ceramic tile floor

  • Vinyl wallpaper


Remodeling A Bathroom For Universal Design: 57%

“Universal design” means it’s widely accessible to everyone, which could wind up being a bigger selling point when your time comes to sell than it is today.

This project involves updating an existing bathroom to be wheelchair-accessible by completing the following tasks:

  • Widening the door, if needed

  • Installing flat-panel electrical switches at sitting level

  • Comfort height toilet with elongated bowl and bidet

  • Curbless, tiled, walk-in shower with adjustable showerhead and fold-out seat

  • Electric radiant heat in new vinyl floor

  • Adaptive living vanity with handles and adjustable mirror

  • Lighting and fan installation

  • Tiled walls

  • “Nine towel bars that can support 250 pounds and reconfigure storage to be accessible from a seated position”

Mid-Range Major Kitchen Remodel: 56%

Remodeling the kitchen to take it from functional to enjoyable includes the following:

  • 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets

  • A three-by-five-foot island

  • Laminate countertops

  • Double-tub stainless steel sink with standard faucet

  • Energy-efficient range

  • Vented range hood

  • Built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal

  • Custom lighting

  • Resilient flooring and painted walls, trim, ceiling


Replacing Roof With Metal: 55%

A new metal roof is expensive, but they last a really long time; you probably won’t need to worry about the roof again while you occupy the house, and that’s nothing to sneeze at!

This project involves:

  • Removing and disposing of existing roof

  • Installing ice-barrier membrane

  • 3,000 square feet of prefinished standing-seam metal roofing with matching drip edge, gable trim, vented ridge flashing, and other accessories

  • Custom flashing at two average-size skylights


Upscale Bathroom Remodel: 54%

Making an existing and conveniently located bathroom more luxurious will certainly make it more pleasant to use. 

This project includes:

  • Expanding bathroom from 35 square feet to 100 square feet (using existing floor space)

  • Relocating fixtures

  • Large “neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls, accent strip, recessed shower caddy, body-spray fixtures, and frameless glass enclosures”

  • Stone countertop with dual sinks

  • Freestanding soaker tub with high-end faucets

  • Two mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting

  • A water closet

  • A control fan

  • General and spot lighting

  • Custom drawer base and wall cabinets

  • Electric in-floor heating


Adding A Mid-Range Primary Suite: 53%

This project includes expanding your home’s square footage over a crawlspace with a 24-by-16-foot room that will feature:

  • Walk-in closet and dressing area

  • A freestanding soaker tub

  • A separate tile shower

  • Double-bowl vanity

  • Tiled bathroom

  • Carpeted bedroom floor

  • Paint, exhaust fan, and lighting


Upscale Major Kitchen Remodel: 52.5%

The upscale kitchen remodel includes many of the same components as a mid-range or even a minor remodel, but with more attention to details.

This renovation involves:

  • “30 linear feet of top-of-the-line custom white cabinets with built-in sliding shelves and other interior accessories”

  • Stone countertops

  • Imported tile backsplash (ceramic or glass)

  • Built-in fridge

  • Commercial-grade cooktop and vent hood

  • Wall oven

  • Built-in microwave unit

  • “High-end undermount sink with designer faucets and water filtration system”

  • Low-voltage undercabinet lights

  • New flooring (“tile or similar flooring that looks like wood”)


Adding A Mid-Range Bathroom: 52%

This bathroom addition involves adding space (six feet by eight feet, so 42 square feet total) to the house. The renovation includes:

  • Cultured-stone vanity with molded sink

  • Standard chrome faucets

  • White fiberglass tub/shower combination with ceramic tile surround

  • Single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced faucet

  • Low-profile toilet

  • General and spot lighting

  • Mirrored medicine cabinet

  • Linen storage or cabinet

  • Ceramic tile floor


Adding An Upscale Bathroom: 52%

Sometimes it’s the little details that take a bathroom from “mid-range” to “upscale.” A bathroom addition includes adding 100 square feet of floor space and also involves:

  • A large “neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls, accent strip, recessed shower caddy, body-spray fixtures, and frameless glass enclosures”

  • A freestanding soaker tub with upscale faucets

  • A stone countertop with dual sinks

  • Two mirrored medicine cabinets with lights

  • A water-closet area

  • Exhaust fan

  • Electric in-floor heating

  • Custom drawer base in cabinetry and wall cabinets


Adding An Upscale Primary Suite: 46%

This project involves adding a bedroom suite (32 by 20 feet) with a “spacious sleeping area with lounging/sitting area” and a bathroom. 

The upscale version includes:

  • “Custom bookcases and built-in storage with millwork details”

  • “High-end gas fireplace with stone hearth and custom mantle”

  • Walk-in closet and dressing area with linen storage

  • Walk-in shower with stone walls, floor, and custom frameless glass enclosure

  • Freestanding soaker tub

  • Two sinks in separate custom vanities with stone countertops

  • Partitioned water closet area

  • “Hospitality center” outside bath with bar sink, fridge, stone countertop, and microwave

  • Soundproofing and in-floor heating, and high-end lighting controls


The Best Improvement To Make?

Some of the improvements that would most enhance your comfort as a homeowner (such as remodeling a bathroom for universal access) don’t necessarily have the highest return on investment. So does that mean you should skip them?

If an improvement is going to make your house more pleasant and livable for some or all of the people who live there, then that’s ultimately how you should think about this decision. The additional boost in sales price is nice to have, but what you need to have is a house that works well for you today.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.