Home Improvement Projects with the Highest ROI

When people decide to sell their home, most do so with an understanding that they will need to do at least some renovating in order to make sure that their house is competitive in the real estate arena. Apart from the many components of the home that should be addressed in anticipation for fairing well on a home inspection, tackling projects that can increase the overall value of your home is also a popular thing to do and can help make your home stand out in the market. However, not all home improvement projects produce the same level of benefits, and some may not be worth the time, effort, and financial investment they require. As a home inspector in the central Maryland and South-Central Pennsylvania regions, I literally see hundreds of homes and it allows me to see the trends in home improvements. To help you navigate through the dozens and dozens of home improvement project choices, we have put together a list of some home improvement projects that we feel offer a high return on investment (ROI) for you to consider.

Kitchen Remodeling

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and it has even changed the way that people have been buying homes. Nowadays, according to top agent insights, more people are including a well-built kitchen in their list of top priorities. Before officially listing your home on the market, take a look at your current setup and look into ways of creating space and ease of use. Unless you have serious contractor skills and experience like carpentry, plumbing, flooring, and even electrical, kitchens are one area best left to the kitchen remodeling and redesign experts. However, one fairly easy and quick recommendation is to install stainless steel appliances, which is one of the top upgrades that increase home value. Stainless steel is all the rage these days, and black stainless seems to be becoming more and more popular, too.  In addition to stainless steel appliances, you can also upgrade storage and install a larger, farmhouse sink.  Even upgrading old laminate counter tops to natural or synthetic stone such as granite, marble, or Corian® can totally change the overall appearance of your kitchen and give it a modern, updated appeal.

Upgrading the Outdoors

With the COVID-19 situation, many people are looking to spend more time outdoors rather than indoors. Another upgrade to consider is creating an enjoyable, private outdoor living space at your home. If you have the room outdoors for it, consider installing a new patio or even a deck that can fit outdoor furniture and perhaps a grill. If you have an existing deck, consider having it checked over by a professional for safety. Most people do not realize that a good portion of deck construction elements have a much shorter life expectancy than you would think such as composite and/or wood plank decking typically reliably lasting just 8-15 years. Be sure that existing deck(s) have good sealant on them, too, where necessary, to not only protect them, but to keep them looking great for your home’s showing. Even better, consider adding a fire pit to your patio or deck (just make sure it is rated safe to use on decks if you plan to use it on one). According to top Agents, a fire pit and patio each yielded an approximate 85% ROI. If you have the resources, a privacy fence is also recommended. 

Adding a Home Office

The necessity of a home office space that is not in the living room or bedroom or kitchen or dining room has suddenly become much more prevalent in recent months, thanks again to COVID-19. When considering renovations, if you have the extra space, consider making one of the rooms a dedicated office space. Houses already set up with a dedicated area to be used for a home office offer huge purchase appeal to potential buyers. Some upgrade ideas for the home office space include adding extra and adjustable lighting, making sure that there are enough properly grounded electrical outlets, and adding in shelves for storage. Consider adding a ceiling fan as a simple but effective upgrade to help keep the workspace comfortable. If your home has low-voltage Ethernet cabling in place for a home network, consider this also when choosing the home office location. If possible, choose a room with window(s) for natural light to help those sometimes long hours of having to be desk-bound. Paint the room a bright but neutral color to make it more welcoming for those days spent working from home.

Work on Curb Appeal

The first thing that people see when they come to your home, or look it up online, is going to be the exterior of your home. Make that first impression count! Some ideas that come with a considerable ROI include a new steel front door (91% ROI), a garage door replacement (98% ROI), and fresh paint and caulking to make the place look clean and new. If you have the time and resources, another possible idea is to install a stone veneer to the front of your home to give it a classy and upgraded appearance. Be sure to do some manicuring work on your bushes, hedges, and other vegetation near and around the structure and keep them trimmed back from exterior surfaces at least 9-12 inches. Consider applying a fresh coat of sealant to asphalt driveway(s) if you have one as the fresh sealant can often make your driveway look brand new again. Be sure to sew new grass seed into any bare patches in your lawn to improve the visual appeal, too. How important is the visual look to the exterior of your home? As a Home Inspector, I have seen several instances where the exterior pictures of the home have been photo-shopped with green grass, bushes, and flowers that were not there during the inspection!


When preparing to list your home on the Real Estate market, take some time beforehand to consider some of the various projects we have presented here in this article. Everybody wants to maximize the price of their home when selling it, and we have given you some of the better home improvement projects that can potentially help to increase your sales price and thereby increase your ROI. At a minimum, pick a few of the easier projects that are “low hanging fruit” that may not require a big investment of time and resources on your part.

Finally, at Absolute Assurance Home Inspection Services, LLC, we want to ensure that your home sale goes smoothly. Something you may want to consider as you begin the home selling process is to have us perform a pre-listing home inspection for you. By having a home inspection up front, you put yourself in the driver’s seat because you can pick and choose the repairs you want and do not want to tackle, and you can adjust your selling price accordingly in anticipation of negotiations with potential buyers. Home selling and buying is stressful enough; why wait for the buyer’s inspection to surprise you with a long list of items you did not realize needed to be addressed and being given a short time frame to make repairs?

For a quote in Maryland or Pennsylvania, contact us today at 443-939-HOME (4663) for all of your Home Inspection needs including mold inspection and testing, radon testing, and water testing! We can provide these services as well as full and partial home inspections for buyers/sellers/investors, rental inspections, annual home inspections, and more!

Portions of this article are not the author’s original work and were sourced under copyright permission courtesy of Mackenzie Kirk at HomeLight.