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If you’re thinking about jumping into a serious home improvement project, chances are you have an eye toward both the new comfort that project can bring as well as the potential resale value it might add down the road.

Though it is true that newly remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, deck additions and other improvements can add to the value of your home, look closely at the true return on investment before you leap into the project.

These home improvements might pay for themselves

Each year, Remodeling Magazine compares the average cost of the most popular home improvement projects and compares them with the average value the project adds at resale time. If you are thinking about putting your home on the market in the next few years, these home improvement projects could offer the biggest bang for your buck.

1. Minor kitchen remodel

The kitchen is often what sells the home, so it pays to make it as welcoming as possible. A minor kitchen remodel can offer an average return on investment of 72.1 percent. The recoup can be even greater when you turn to money-savers like cabinet refacing and vinyl tile flooring. Think a more expensive remodel is better? Think again. The 2011 average return on investment for a major kitchen remodel was 57.4 percent–much less than you might make back by taking the cheaper route.

2. Siding replacement

At a 78 percent return on investment, adding fiber cement siding is definitely a good idea for a home improvement project. Vinyl siding can also be a good option, giving you back 69.5 percent of what you put into it.

3. Entry door replacement

The front door makes a first impression and provides security for your family. Opting for a steel entry door can provide beauty and safety while giving you a nice 73 percent return on investment. With an average cost of $1,238 per project, it is also one of the most affordable improvements you can make.

4. Creating an attic bedroom

The more bedrooms you have in your home, the more potential homebuyers you will attract. Adding an attic bedroom can give you a 72.5 percent average return on investment. In some cases, since the bones of the room are already in place, an attic bedroom can be substantially cheaper than a new construction addition.

Other upgrades to consider

There are many other common home improvement projects that can bring you a boost when it’s time for resale. Other good options include vinyl replacement windows and the addition of a wooden deck. Replacing your garage door with a new one is one of the most affordable projects at an average cost of $1,512, and it is also one of the nicest returns, giving you back an average of 71.9 percent on investment.

Doing your research pays off

Before you choose to sink money into a remodel, look into what the latest trends are and what potential homebuyers in your area are looking for, then plan your improvements accordingly. If the goal is to enjoy the improvements for a few years and then sell the house for a tidy profit, these four projects can help you make that plan a reality.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.