10 Home Improvements with the Best Return on Investment

10 Home Improvements with the Best Return on Investment featured image

Home contractors have been notably busy since Pennsylvania reopened after quarantine. With all the lifestyle shifts caused by Covid-19, homeowners want more function and enjoyment from their space. Luckily, many of your wished-for home improvements may also bring a good return on investment when it’s time to sell. Here are the top 10 home improvements with the best return on investment for Bucks County homeowners. If you need financing for your own renovation projects, The First can help! Check out our Personal Lending options.


Garage Door Replacement

Is your current garage door showing its age? Whether it’s broken or just plain ugly, a replacement can add an instant boost to your home’s curb appeal. Here are the most important factors to consider:

Tilt-up vs. Sectional

A tilt-up door is a single panel that pivots out and up, sliding into the ceiling of your garage when up. Tilt-up models consist of a single panel door that pivots out and up, sliding in a single section along the ceiling of your garage.

For a more modern choice, sectional roll-up doors are made of horizontal sections that are hinged together and mounted with rollers on tracks. Because the door rolls straight up and back, it takes up less space in the garage overall.

Most Common Garage Door Materials

  • Wood: A very attractive choice but also requires regular maintenance to keep it looking good.
  • Steel: The strongest and most secure option, which can also be made to look like wood. Also compatible with garage door openers.
  • Aluminum: A less expensive option with many of the same design options as steel.
  • Fiberglass: Consists of an aluminum frame with fiberglass sections.

According to HomeAdvisor, average pricing includes:

Garage door installation costs $1,116 on average with a typical range between $737 and $1,495. A standard, single garage door ranges from $600 to $1,500 installed. A double car door averages $800 to $1,500 installed. Labor costs about $300 per unit, while the price of a new garage door is $300 to $1,100.


Minor Kitchen Remodel

When it comes to home improvement shows, the more dramatic the renovation the better. However, you may not need to take your kitchen down to the studs to create a modern aesthetic. Here are the most popular types of smaller kitchen projects:

  • Painting: May include walls, trim, and even cabinets. A professional painter can give your existing cabinets a different color without sacrificing quality.
  • Refacing cabinets: If you don’t want to paint your cabinets, you could have them refaced for a completely new look without installing brand new cabinets.
  • Sink upgrade: Trade in your dingy sink for a larger and/or better-looking model. You could also add a garbage disposal if you don’t have one already.
  • New backsplash: If you just have painted walls, you could add a new tile backsplash. If tile is already there, you could replace it or have it re-glazed to look like new.

According to HomeAdvisor, a smaller kitchen remodel could range from $10,000-$15,000. As with every home project, the choices you make about materials, appliances, etc. will affect the overall cost.


Wood Deck Addition

Sprucing up your outdoor space is always an improvement with a good return on investment, both in terms of your quality of life as well as the value of your home. And if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, Covid concerns are making outdoor space even more of a priority for homebuyers.

According to HomeGuide, the national average cost for building a new deck is $6,280. However, you could spend less than that depending on the size.


Siding Replacement

Everyone agrees that curb appeal is an important part of selling a house. If your siding is dirty and/or in disrepair, replacing it can help your home shine. The cost depends on the size of your home, its shape, whether the only siding can be layered over, and the type of materials you use. For example, vinyl may be the cheapest, but it isn’t necessarily the best long-term choice.

Overall, you can expect to pay between $5,000-$14,050 for siding installation.


New Insulation

“Insulation is the best investment you can make in a long-term residence,” according to HomeAdvisor. While it may not add visible appeal to your home, insulation can help you and future homeowners save on utility bills and it’s friendlier to the environment. Here are the four types of insulation and average costs:

  • Spray Foam: Fixes leaks and gaps inside walls. Choose between open-cell foam, $0.35-$0.55 per board foot, and closed-cell foam, $1-$2.00 per board foot.
  • Blown-In Insulation: Works well and has been around for decades. You could DIY this type of insulation for about $500 or hire a pro for $1,500-$2,000.
  • Fiberglass Batts: Usually the most inexpensive type of insulation, fiberglass batts are also good for open-wall areas such as an attic. The cost ranges from $0.64-$1.19 per square foot.
  • Reflective or Radiant Barrier: Specifically designed for your attic, this type of insulation can provide a buffer against cold temperatures while also reducing heat in the warmer months. The cost is $0.15-$0.30 per square foot.


Minor Bathroom Remodel

As with the kitchen, you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach to remodeling. Smaller touches such as new flooring, light fixtures, and other changes can update your space without costing you a ton. Here are a few ideas:

  • Bathtub: Could it be refinished instead of replaced?
  • Vanity: Instead of getting a new one, consider replacing just the counter and/or faucet fixtures. You could also give the base a fresh coat of paint, depending on what it’s made of.
  • Floor: For a quick and inexpensive change, consider vinyl floating planks, which can be installed over the existing floor.
  • Light fixtures: Could you add lights around the vanity mirror? Replace the central light with a fan/heater/light combination?
  • Shower: A prefabricated shower will cost you less than a brand new custom tile shower.
  • Toilet: Consider swapping out your old “ceramic throne” with a newer, water-saving model.
  • Painting: There’s also nothing like a fresh coat of paint to give some shine to your bathroom!


New Windows

Newer windows are definitely a good selling point with a home. And in the meantime, you’ll enjoy lower utility bills and increased temperature comfort in your home, especially during the colder months. According to HomeAdvisor, you can expect to pay between $300-$700 per window for materials and labor.


Interior Paint

Giving your whole house a fresh coat of paint can get expensive, but strategic repainting, such as an accent wall or select rooms, could give you the most improvement for your dollars. If you’re planning to list your home soon, try to stay as neutral as possible. Also remember that lighter paint colors can make a small room look bigger and vice versa.



Whether you have overgrown shrubs in need of pruning or simply have never done much with landscaping, look for low maintenance plants, flowers, and shrubs to add curb appeal to your home. Professional lawn mowing and maintenance can also improve the look of your yard.


Front door upgrade

If there’s no place like home, there’s nothing that says “welcome home” more than an attractive front door. From simply changing the color to replacing your front door altogether, a front door upgrade can elevate your entire exterior. Check to see if the screen/storm door also needs replacing. Then add a cute, seasonal wreath and a nice welcome mat and you’re all set.


Increase the value in your home with a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit from The First!

Whatever’s on your home improvement bucket list, we can help with competitive rates on our home equity loans. To learn more, contact lending specialist Connie Furman by email or by calling her at 215-579-3409, or visit one of our locations throughout Bucks County.