Every home, whether modest or mansion, eventually gives way to age (especially after a winter like this one). When done right, simple changes, reasonable upgrades, and major remodels all increase the value of your home. But how do you determine between what’s aesthetically pleasing and what’s a true investment?  Well this year’s Cost Value Guide can help.

Here’s what we found: there is a solid reason why home improvement and remodeling is a $230 billion industry. People are finding value in these projects, and so can you! What we’re talking about is your return on investment (ROI) and the trick lies with knowing where to place your hard earned money. Turns out, one of the most valuable changes in New England is a minor kitchen remodel. The job might cost you an average of $19,000, but you stand a good chance of recouping 75% of that back. On the other hand, a home office remodel might not be worth your time. Where the job may cost $28,000, you’re only looking at a resale value of $11,000. Projects like this, that only recoup about 39% of their value, may be less of a good idea.

There is a common misconception about a home improvement turning into an investment: “The bigger the project, the bigger the return”. While you may be willing to spare no expense on your project, just note that the return might not be there.  A $156,000 Two-story Addition may only bring back 63% and a $74,000 Sunroom Addition only recoups 43%. On the other end of the spectrum, some of the smaller costs have some of the biggest returns. A new steel entry door could cost you $1,100, but you’re also looking at an 86% return. New vinyl for your home windows and siding aren’t a bad investment either, these expenses typically recoup 72%-74%, while only costing $9,982-$11,447.

Another aspect of return on investment is what projects to do first. There is a simple rule to this: home repairs and maintenance should be done before anything else. The integrity of your home is at risk when these projects aren’t done. Solid structures and systems are critical factors in the mind of a home buyer. Of course, just because they’re “repairs” doesn’t mean you won’t gain back value. Like we mentioned before, new siding and windows have a pretty high return. Other repair and maintenance areas on the list include: your roof, chimney, gutters, brick, foundation, plumbing, electrical, and furnace.

Remodeling’s Cost Value Guide