June 2019

The Best Home Improvement Projects Offering High ROI

Every homeowner has a wish list of home improvement projects. In fact, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, American’s spent over $425 billion on home improvement and repair projects in 2017, the latest year figures are available.  

But does the amount we spend on improvement projects really increase the overall value of our house when it comes time to sell it?

The answer is yes! Remodeling Magazine released their annual survey on Cost Vs Value for home improvement projects, and on average the payback in a home’s resale value is 56% of the cost of the improvement project. 

But some projects offer better ROI than others. Large remodeling project, such as a complete kitchen remodel, actually end up returning less than small improvements to the kitchen, like updating fixtures, repainting cabinets, or changing the lighting. Those smaller improvements have an 81% return on your investment, while the major kitchen remodel returns 59%.

If you are thinking about a home improvement project, here are the top five that offer great returns when it’s time to sell your house.

1. Curb Appeal

Projects that improve the look of your house from the outside have highest ROI according to the Remodel Magazine study. Replacing your garage door offers the highest ROI in the study, at 97%. Coming in a close second is replacing the siding on the bottom 1/3 of the front of your house with stone veneer. Replacing your front door with a steel door has a 91% return. Replacing all your siding offers a 76% ROI.

2. Creating More Living Space Indoors….

Buyers look for more usable square footage when looking for their next home. According to the National Association of Home Builder’s Home Buying Preference Report, people looking for a new house cite the need for more space. Finishing off the basement is a great way to create more usable living space without going through the expense of an addition, which often offers a much lower ROI. Turn your old basement into a fun entertainment space, build a bedroom suite for visitors, or make private a home office. A well done basement remodel offers an ROI of 70%.  

Opening up the floorplan is another way to create more living space. New homes are built with open plans that flow from the kitchen to the family room. If you have an older home that feels like rooms are closed off, consider ways to open it up by tearing down walls. While it doesn’t add more square footage, it gives buyers the illusion that your home is bigger. Be sure to use a licensed contractor for this type of project though, who can ensure the home remains structurally sound.  

3. ….And Creating More Living Space Outdoors!

American’s love to spend time with friends and family hanging out on outdoor patios and decks. Adding a deck – or replacing an old deck – has an ROI of 76% for wood and 69% for composite. While a patio’s ROI is lower, you can still expect to recoup 55% of the cost of putting in your new patio. If you dream about an outdoor oasis, it’s a good investment when it comes time to sell your house.

4. Home Maintenance Projects


When we think of home improvement projects, we typically think of remodeling projects. But keeping your home in good working order is another great way to improve its value. Replacing old windows offers the highest ROI in this category at 73.4%. Putting on a new roof has an ROI of 68%. Even upgrading your heater and air conditioner can add value to your home at the time of sale. These improvement projects also have the bonus of offering ongoing costs savings while you own the home because of their energy efficiency.

5. The Bathroom

While kitchens often get the most attention, bathroom remodels have a better pay-off! Whether you do a mid-range or upscale bathroom remodel project, you can plan on recouping 60 – 68% of your costs. Bathroom remodels could be as simple as replacing the vanity and fixtures to complete remodel projects where you replace the tile or add a soaking tub. Whatever your dream bathroom looks like, remodeling this space in your home can be smart investment.


Financing Your Project


While understanding the ROI of your home improvement project helps in the long-term, you still have to pay for the project to get started. SECU is here to help! We offer traditional Home Equity Line of Credit loans with great rates to help finance your project. If you don’t have enough equity, we also recently introduced an Unsecured Home Improvement Loan that has no equity requirements, a fixed low rate better than most personal loans, and quick access to fund, often within 7 days. With SECU, you can make your home renovation dreams a reality!

Looking past ROI and financing your project, this is your home. Home improvement projects usually start because you want to change something about your living space to make it feel more like your home. The sooner you get started on your project, the sooner you will be able to enjoy it!


Finding the Right Mortgage for You

Are you ready to buy but confused about mortgages? Fixed rate, 100% financing, jumbo loans…how do you know which mortgage solution is the right one for you? As a member-owned credit union, our Mortgage Loan Officers take the time to understand your unique situation and offer the right mortgage solution to get you comfortably  into your dream house. They are available to answer any questions you may have throughout the sales buying process. They also understand the local market, and will help you every step of the way.


We offer a simple approach to mortgages with great low rates and flexible financing options including:

  • 100% Mortgage Financing
  • Fixed and Adjustable Rates
  • Jumbo Loans
  • FHA
  • M.D. Loans for Medical Professionals
  • Refinancing Solutions

Learn more about all of our mortgage solutions.

Not sure where to start the home buying process? Check out SECU’s Home Advantage program, where you can find a Realtor, learn more about our Title services, set up a search for your perfect property, and earn rewards that can be used to help with closing costs. Let SECU be your partner on your path to buying your new home.


SECU In the News

  • SECU Announces New Partnership with Baltimore Orioles to Benefit Kennedy Krieger Institute As we celebrate the start of baseball season, SECU is pleased to announce a new K’s for Kids partnership with the Baltimore Orioles to benefit the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the world’s premier institution dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with pediatric developmental disabilities. Through K’s for Kids, SECU will donate $50 to Kennedy Krieger for every strikeout made by a Baltimore Orioles pitcher at Camden Yards. Learn more about the partnership here.

  • SECU’s Mobile Banking App Recognized as Most Improved in 2018 –SECU’s mobile banking app was recognized by Magnify Money as one of the most improved banking apps of 2018. The award, based on ratings and consumer feedback in app stores, ranks the apps of the top 50 banks and credit unions in the country. This award reflects the recent changes our digital banking team has made to our app based on your feedback to bring you a more user-friendly experience. Thank you for the great ratings and positive feedback that helped us achieve this recognition! .