If you’re seeking remodeling projects that will deliver the most bang for your customers’ buck, exterior projects have proven time and time again to be winners. According to two recent industry studies, refreshing the outside of the home with new garage doors, windows, siding, and decks provides the highest return on investment.

The Remodeling 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, the 36th annual study that compares the average costs of 23 remodeling projects with the value those investments will retain at resale, found that seven of the top 10 best cost-recouping projects were on the home’s façade.

Leading the way among exterior projects were garage door replacements, recouping 102.7% of costs. It was topped only by HVAC electrification conversion, which recoups 103.5% of costs. Also in the top 10 were vinyl window replacement and wood window replacement, returning 68.5% and 61.2% of their investment, respectively.

The other exterior projects in the top 10 were manufactured stone veneer (102.3% cost recouped), steel entry door replacement (100.9%), vinyl siding replacement (94.7%), and fiber cement siding replacement (88.5%). Minor kitchen remodel and a midrange bath remodel joined HVAC conversion as the only other non-exterior projects in the top 10.

“The reason for high returns on exterior projects stems from what real-estate professionals regularly witness from buyers: If their first impression is a run-down exterior, they tend to enter the property wary and reluctant to spend large on the property,” Remodeling editors said. “If, on the other hand, the home looks well taken care of, they enter with a more positive view from the outset.

Windows performed even better in a similar return-on-investment study conducted by Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford this year. Like the Remodeling magazine report, the Today’s Homeowner study also found that exterior remodeling and renovation projects resoundingly deliver the largest return, with garage doors leading the way.

The study examined data from 70,000 homes in more than 1,200 markets, analyzing the cost versus value recouped for 34 different project types. Today’s Homeowner found that the average return for all projects is 69%. But the average cost recovered for exterior remodeling projects is 23% higher than interior projects; in fact, all top 10 projects reaping the best ROI in this study were on the exterior.

“Curb appeal really matters when selling your home,” Realtor Suzanne Coddington, of Dickens Mitchener, told Today’s Homeowner. “It’s difficult to get buyers to see a home that has little or no curb appeal.”

Garage door replacement, which was found to reap a full 100% return on investment, was followed by wood window replacement (95.5% cost recovery), screened-in porch addition (92.9%), fiber cement replacement (92.7%), and vinyl siding replacement (91.0%) and vinyl window replacement (91.0%).

The remaining projects in the top 10 comprised an in-ground pool (90.1%), composite deck addition (86.9%), concrete backyard patio (86.4%), and wood deck addition (80.1%).

See the full Remodeling 2023 Cost vs. Value Report study and associated trends at www.costvsvalue.com. View the full Today’s Homeowner study results and expert commentary, here.


(Remodeling 2023 Cost vs. Value Report: © 2023 Zonda. Complete data from the Remodeling 2023 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.)