According to the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report ( the highest return on investment is replacing your garage door, before you sell. This applies if you have an old warn or damaged garage door and you replace it with an upscale decorative, well insulated door. The 2nd highest return is replacing the front door, followed by adding stone veneer to the front of your home. 

All three of these projects improve your curb appeal and buyers may choose your home over your neighbor’s home, but according to the report, the average price is $13,500 if you do all three, and the average return on investment is less than 100%. 

Additions and major remodels provide the lowest return, but most homeowners typically  make those improvements for themselves, and not to sell their home.

Deck additions average an 80% return. There are many homes that are 10 years old or less that have a patio door off the kitchen but still no deck. I find many buyers don’t have the money to add a deck once they move in, so they may choose a home that has a deck instead. In this case, it would be beneficial to have the deck put on, so your home is competitive during the peak marketing time when prices are at their highest. If your home is passed by, you may end up doing a price reduction to attract a buyer.

Vinyl window replacement recouped 70% of the investment, according to the report. If you plan to stay in your home for a while it is probably worth replacing all your old windows, but many sellers will just replace rotted or damaged windows with a similar product and leave the rest.

Bathroom remodels came in at 54% return on investment, with an average price of $22,700. I’ve seen sellers make some great improvements with a new countertop, faucet, cabinet hardware, and mirror for less than $1500. 

The bottom line, is not to remodel your home for someone else. Buyers are more concerned about the mechanicals, and bones of the house, along with the layout and location. A good cleaning, fresh paint, and updated flooring make a house look fresh and ready to move in.

An experienced real estate agent can give you advice on how to best maximize your gain.

 Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.