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The Best (and Worst) Projects for Your Home’s Resale Value

Are you looking for a specific renovation project that will improve the resale value of your home more than the cost of the project? Your return on investment is important but not all home projects add much value to your house. Here are the best and worst projects if you want the most bang for your buck.

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Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen remodels tend to involve a lot of usability upgrades, which buyers love. This remains one of the best projects to increase resale value, and will probably always have a top spot. Bonus: a $20,000- mid-range renovation can recoup an average of 80 percent of the cost through increased value.

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Best: New FireplaceFamily Handyman

Best: New Fireplace

Installing a new fireplace can quickly increase resale value. And if it's an upgrade from an older, less efficient wood stove to a gas or electric stove, bonus points. Even renovations for appearance and safety can make a big difference in climates where fireplaces see a lot of use.

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Best: New Front DoorLighttraveler/Shutterstock

Best: New Front Door

These days, a new front door is seeing a massive 90 percent resale value: The reason? A new door is immediately apparent, adding to curb appeal while also allowing you to improve security and smart device features.

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Best: Resale Value Conversion to BedroomPhoto: Courtesy of manufacturer

Best: Resale Value Conversion to Bedroom

Finishing an area of the house, especially an attic or basement, into another bedroom can greatly increase the resale value of a house. This is because it adds more square footage, creates a new usable room and opens the house up to buyers with larger families.

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Best: Attic Insulation

Best: Attic Insulation

Attic insulation with fiberglass is seeing over 100 percent cost recouped. And this means you are technically gaining resale value at no expense when adding important attic insulation. Make sure all gaps are covered and cracks are sealed against pests. Plus: Finishing an Attic

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Best: New Garage Door

Best: New Garage Door

Front-facing garage doors can impact curb appeal more than most home components, leading to an return of investment of around 77 percent. Upgrade to a better garage door with windows and smart control features to really impress potential buyers.

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Best: Stone VeneersMarko Poplasen/Shutterstock

Best: Stone Veneers

A veneer can add a skirt of stone to your siding or stone-like wall patterns to various walls inside and outside your house. It can also drastically change the appearance of your home at relatively little cost, leading to a resale value above 80 percent.

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Worst: Backup Generator

Worst: Backup Generator

A generator may be useful as a safeguard but it doesn't add a lot of everyday resale value to homes. And this is what buyers care the most about. Exceptions occur in rural or off-grid homes where generators see a lot of use in bad weather. Plus: Choosing the Best Power Generator

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Worst: Backyard Patio

Worst: Backyard Patio

The patio is a great DIY project but don't expect to recover more than half the cost as added resale value to your home. These patios aren't especially visible and are quite common. However, a full upgrade will be more impressive than a just a layer of stone. Plus: 11 Amazing Stone Patios

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Worst: Bathroom AdditionJohn Wollwerth/Shutterstock

Worst: Bathroom Addition

When considering a bathroom addition, it's important to ask, "Does the house need a new bathroom, based on the number of bedrooms?" A bathroom involves expensive renovation.  And it only adds resale value if you really did need a half-bath in the hallway. However, bathroom remodels see better returns.

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Worst: Master Bedroom AdditionWorldWide/Shutterstock

Worst: Master Bedroom Addition

An expanded master bedroom can be an expensive resale value project. And, today's buyers don't really care about making master bedrooms larger. Further, as a general rule, only plan a master bedroom addition if you want it and you're planning on staying in the house for years to come. Plus: Ideas for bedroom storage

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Worst: SunroomPhotographee.eu/Shutterstock

Worst: Sunroom

A full sunroom needs careful design, proper insulation and a lot of maintenance. And potential buyers may end up asking, "Why not something else?" Think about a gazebo or screened porch to increase resale value instead. Plus: How to Build a Gazebo

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Worst: Home Office RenovationFamily Handyman

Worst: Home Office Renovation

Home offices are great if you regularly use them and a renovation may be important for your work flow.  But don't expect everyone to feel the same way. Additionally, these renovations don't contribute much to market resale value. Plus: How to Build a Home Office

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Worst: Garage AdditionFamily Handyman

Worst: Garage Addition

While a garage door has a big impact on home appearance, a bigger or more elaborate garage is harder to notice. And it has limited uses compared to other indoor renovations, which add resale value. Plus: Customizable Garage Storage Space

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Worst: Window Replacement

Worst: Window Replacement

Window replacements can vary greatly for resale value. And good projects may be as high as 70 percent return of investment. But casual window installations aren't expected to add much value at all. Look for replacements where you can expand windows for more light or greatly improve their insulation.