Sometimes a home improvement project comes from an obvious need for more space or a repair that morphs into a renovation.

In other cases, homeowners may be undecided about whether to upgrade their bathroom first or tackle the exterior of their home.

We asked two experts to provide some insight into how homeowners can raise their home value while making improvements. The following commentary was supplied via email by Jeremy Sicklick, CEO and co-founder of HouseCanary, a real estate analytics firm that provides home valuations; and Michael Rodriguez, senior vice president and head of the free to consumers ComeHome, a division of HouseCanary where homeowners can view projects with the highest return on investment, connect with licensed professionals and secure financing for home renovations:

Before the onset of covid-19, significant home upgrades could reduce the time a home spent on the market by about 11 days. Now, due to the supply-constrained real estate market, demand for properties is higher than ever and while upgrades may not have the same influential impact on time spent on the market, they have proved to significantly bolster the value of homes.

Throughout the second half of 2020, some homeowners were able to increase the value of their properties by more than 25 percent through simple home improvements. For example, our data shows that remodeling an outdated kitchen and bathroom can increase the value of a home by approximately 27 percent.

Concurrently, since March — when the health crisis forced millions of Americans to work from home — the number of home improvement projects in the U.S. skyrocketed to all-time highs.

As more homeowners begin to embark on renovation projects, it is critical to understand exactly how much value home improvements can bring to a property. There are a few ways to estimate a home project’s cost. One place to start is ComeHome.

Generally, according to ComeHome:

  • Remodeling an outdated bathroom increases the value of the home by 12 percent.
  • Remodeling an outdated kitchen increases the value of the home by 19 percent.
  • Remodeling both and outdated kitchen and bathroom increases the value of the home by 27 percent.

Which home improvements provide the biggest bang for their buck?

Through our partnership with HomeAdvisor, we’ve found that the five upgrades with the highest return on investment include garage door replacements (97.5 percent ROI), manufactured stone veneers (94.9 percent), minor kitchen remodeling (80.5 percent), deck additions (75.6 percent) and entry door replacements (74.9 percent).

Larger renovations, such as adding a home office or a deck, finishing your basement or updating kitchens, can also add meaningful value to your home. These are all particularly appealing to home buyers during the pandemic — when 85 percent of people are spending more time in their homes — and more open, bright and convenient layouts are all top of mind for homeowners and prospective buyers alike.

Remodeling during covid-19

Not only have people completed more home projects than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, but the last 10 months have had a definite impact on which — and how many — home projects people completed. Because of the increased time spent at home, homeowners have required more from their homes as they cook, work and find new ways to entertain from home.

Through our partnership with HomeAdvisor, we’ve found that the top three completed home projects in 2020 were, in order: interior painting, bathroom remodels and the installation of new flooring. As we enter into 2021, we anticipate that completed home updates will continue to rise and that the most popular home improvement projects will likely remain the same.

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