9 Home Improvements That Offer the Best Value for Real Estate Investors

by | BiggerPockets.com

You want a good-looking rental that attracts tenants and rents out easily — or maybe you’re flipping properties and are looking to add upgrades that make for a quick sale. What amenities are worth adding and which items give you the best bang for your buck? Let’s take a look at some smart additions that offer the highest value, starting with curb appeal.

Download Your FREE guide to evicting a tenant!

We hope you never have to evict a tenant, but know it’s always wise to prepare for the worst. Navigating the legal and financial considerations of an eviction can be tricky, even for the most experienced landlords. Lucky for you, the experts at BiggerPockets have put together a FREE Guide to Evicting Tenants so you can protect your property and investments.

Click Here For Your Free Tenant Eviction Guide

Exterior Upgrades

New Front Door

This addition isn’t too costly and makes a huge difference in the way your house presents itself to the neighborhood. Also, on the obvious side, if you have a drafty door that is creating a nuisance with your heating bill, this upgrade should be a no-brainer. Adding a new door really gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to home improvement. If you’re wondering what type of door to swap for your old one, steel doors are on the rise and can be extremely cost efficient.


New Siding

Changing the exterior siding majorly impacts the look and feel of your house. It can change your home from worn down to refreshed. Siding prices depend highly on the size of your home, but most projects run around $9-11k, often adding up to an 80 percent return. Right now vinyl siding is the most popular choice by buyers.

Related: The Top 5 Items to Replace or Upgrade in Every Rental Property You Buy

Energy Efficient Windows

Who doesn’t want to save money on their gas and electric bills every month? This is an obvious go-to fix to help maximize your repair budget. By letting your potential buyers know the house has been improved upon in this manner, they’ll appreciate the fact that they’ll be able to enjoy a future of lower energy bills and a warmer home.

Detached Garage

Some locations don’t offer an attached garage or even a garage in general, and you can add serious value to your property by adding in your own. Even a simple carport will add value to your home without busting the bank.

New Garage Door

It’s amazing how much a new garage door can add life to a home, especially when looking from the street. Adding a new garage door can increase your home’s selling price up to an extra $10k. Even if you have a strict budget for upgrades, you may still add this to your list since an average two-car garage door sells for under $2,500.


Patio and Deck Upgrades

This is one not everyone thinks about; however, the addition of a deck or patio only adds square footage to the “living space” of the home. Look around your neighborhood to see what other homes are offering, and see if you can match or surpass those. This also adds creativity to your home that others on the market might not have — and it’s such a cost effective way to add style and space before adding an extra room to your house.

Interior Upgrades

Kitchen Remodel

This should be a priority when looking to maximize the ROI of your upgrades because the kitchen is where many people spend a large amount of time. Most buyers are looking for new countertops and appliances — but if that isn’t in your price range, think about performing a facelift instead. You can upgrade a kitchen by making small changes like a new coat of fresh paint on those cupboards or swapping in new light fixtures that add sophistication to a boring and outdated kitchen. You’d be surprised how many people would rather stay home and cook than go out if they love the kitchen they have.

Related: 14 Easy Upgrades to Attract Guests to Your Vacation Home for Under $500

Bathroom Upgrades

Again, this doesn’t need to break the bank if you don’t have the money, but it will increase the value of your home significantly. Just as with the kitchen, it’s amazing what a fresh new coat of paint will to do a bathroom, along with other small changes, such as changing the faucet and hardware to something stylish and modern. Also, if you don’t have a tiled shower, I’d try and make the money for that. New tile in a bathroom can make even the smallest bathroom look chic and beautiful.


Turning Your Attic into a Bedroom

This is the easiest way to add living space without having to build out your already home’s existing footprint. This can raise your property’s value by thousands by creating another living space that can be used for anything from a new master bedroom to a child’s playroom. The price for the upgrade can cost up to $70k, but you should be able to get about 65 percent of your investment back!

Investors: Are these upgrades you regularly perform in your properties? What would you add to this list?

Don’t forget to leave a comment below.

About Author

Hilary Catton

I am the Director of Member and Public Relations for BiggerPockets! My expertise encompasses different aspects of strategic communications, where I observe member analytics, and grow our audience by developing and executing strategies that are intended to create and uphold a positive public image for our company. I manage and oversee our quick and amazing support team, and make sure our members have the best experience while interacting on our site. I directly work on forming relationships with various members of the media, government, and the general public to generate new business opportunities for the growth of BiggerPockets!


  1. Great article! I particularity agree with your comment about the exterior front door. A potential buyers first impression is one of the most crucial aspects of closing the deal. First impression is definitely my most valued sales tactic. Keep up the great work guys!

  2. Robert Haynes

    Agree mostly with this list.

    From what I’ve seen, the biggest returns are from the Front door/siding, Garage Door, and turning an office space or unused space into another bedroom.

    Also, good landscaping can take a home that’s been on the market for MONTHS and make it desirable again!

  3. wesley c.

    Sometimes a new garage door isn’t needed for a dramatic effect. If your door is functional but boring, you can buy a carriage door conversion kit which is a hardware package for about $20 on amazon. If you want to get even fancier you can get faux windows to add to a bland door for a couple of hundred bucks. All this plus fresh paint can totally change the look and feel of a home for very little money.

    • Seth C.

      Nice one. I did a search on those and I like the windows much more than the carriage package which seemed awkward in the photos. Had to find out the window frames are paintable before being sold on the concept. Anything to break up those monolithic lines!

  4. A good, informative article however, geographic location plays a significant role. I’m in south Florida, vinyl siding is non-existent and you’d never want a metal exterior door unless you wish to replace it every ten years when it rusts out. This said, both upgrades are worthwhile using stucco or cement board and a fiberglass door.

  5. Kevin Izquierdo

    I read an article on Realtor.com about the best upgrades for ROI and they stated insulating the attic, stone veneer, and a few other things as great imvestments for a good ROI. Several items listed on this was on that list too 🙂 great article

  6. Julie Marquez

    Good ideas. As long as you don’t go overboard on the upgrades. Here in the northwest, having a landscaped yard is a huge selling point these days. And I question vinyl siding, as I think it looks ugly. Here we quickly remove the old vinyl and use a cement fiberboard like Hardie. It looks great and lasts a long time.

  7. Great post! I flip homes in and around Michigan. I’ve done several homes where I turned the attic into bedroom space. It’s not exactly cheap, but it is a heck of a lot cheaper than building a whole new addition.

Leave A Reply

Pair a profile with your post!

Create a Free Account


Log In Here