People are often surprised to learn that home improvement projects are not equal when it comes to how much of a return you can expect to get on your investment. It’s nearly always less than 100% of the amount you spend on the improvement, though there are a few exceptions.
That said, certain home improvement projects will net you much more than others. I’m here to break down which ones will give you the best return on your investment. And this data is specific to Portland, thanks to the folks at
Remodeling magazine, who share this region-specific data each year.
If you’re doing home improvement projects in 2020, you can’t afford to miss this information when making decisions about what to do and how much to spend.
Key Remodeling Trends for 2020
The 2020 report shows a predictable increase in costs for all of the projects. However, this year, there’s also a drop in the perceived value of the improvements. There’s a slight downturn in the return for nearly all of the projects across the board.
This is likely because of jittery consumers, who are beginning to feel a bit concerned about the economy. The good news is that although remodeling activity is growing at a slower rate than in the past few years, it is still continuing to grow.
However, Portland specifically has seen a pretty hefty rise in the return rate of some of these projects.
1. Garage Door Replacement
A perennial favorite on this list is a garage door replacement for your home, and this year, it’s the number one project by a longshot. This improvement will get you a whopping 144.3% of what you spent on it. That’s a pretty unheard-of return on your investment!
You’ll want to install a new, four-section garage door on brand-new, heavy-duty steel tracks. You can use your existing motorized opener. The door should be high-tensile strength steel and have two coats of factory paint. You should also ensure that it has foam insulation with thermal seals and a lifetime warranty.
2. Manufactured Stone Veneer
Adding manufactured stone veneer to your home is a very smart move. This year, it will net you 114.7% percent of what you spend to get the job done.
Just take a band of siding from the bottom third of your house’s street-facing façade. You’ll begin at the garage and go around the main entry. Replace that siding with manufactured stone veneer. Include new sills, corners, and an address block with two separate layers of water-resistant barrier underneath the veneer to protect your home.
3. Siding Replacement
A siding replacement can be an excellent choice for a home improvement project. It will make your home look entirely different and will net you 101.7% of what you spend. Wow!
Interestingly, a vinyl siding replacement doesn’t yield nearly as much (around 80%).
For this project, replace all existing siding with new fiber-cement siding, factory primed and painted. Don’t forget to include factory trim at all openings and corners.
4. Entry Door Replacement
An entry door replacement can make the front of your home look completely different. This home improvement project gets you back 90% of what you pay for it, so it’s well worth doing.
Remove the existing entry door and jambs and replace it with a new, 20-gauge steel door. It should have a clear, dual-pane half-glass panel, as well as new jambs, an aluminum threshold, and a composite doorstop. The door should be factory finished with the same color on both sides. Exterior brick-mold and interior colonial or ranch casings should be prefinished to match the door color. Don’t forget a new lockset to make sure everything looks shiny and new.
5. Window Replacement (Wood)
Coming in at number five is replacing the windows in your home with new wood windows, which nets you 89.5% of what you spend on the job. Vinyl windows are only 82.5%.
Replace existing wood windows with double-hung, insulated, low-E windows. The interior finish should be stained hardwood and the exterior finish should be custom-color aluminum cladding. Trim the exterior to match existing, and do not disturb existing exterior trim.
6. Minor Kitchen Remodel
The second project on the list comes pretty close to a full return on your investment at 88.4% (interestingly, this is exactly what it was last year).
You may be surprised to know that a minor kitchen remodel actually gets you a substantially better return on your money than a major, expensive kitchen overhaul (which is 59.3%). A minor remodel can make a dated kitchen look entirely different, and honestly, a complete remodel might not even be necessary.
A minor remodel should include a few key upgrades. You can leave the existing cabinet boxes, but you should replace the fronts with new, shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts. Don’t forget the new hardware! Replace the cooktop, oven range, and fridge with energy-efficient models, probably stainless steel. Replace countertops with laminate (there are a lot of really beautiful options these days that mimic real stone). Add a new mid-priced sink and faucet. Then you can repaint the trim and walls, and you’re done!
7. Wood Deck Addition
Who doesn’t want a brand-new deck? And at an 86.2% return on your investment, this is a smart and fun choice. This doesn’t yield quite as much of a return as it has in years past, but it’s still an excellent choice. (Note that a composite deck is worth slightly less at 79.3%.)
You’ll add a 16X20-foot deck with pressure-treated joists and boards. You should also include some extras, like a built-in bench and a planter made from the same material as the deck. You’ll also want stairs and a complete railing system made out of the same material.
I hope this helps you decide what home improvement projects you’d like to tackle next, whether you’re planning to sell or are staying put. If you have any other questions about the value of home improvement projects on homes here in the Portland area, please give me a call.