The results of the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report for 2010-2011 (Remodeling magazine) are out and I’m more convinced than ever that it really is what’s on the outside that counts (see last week’s post). The report ranks the most popular home improvement projects based on the return on investment. In other words, how much of what you spend on a project will you get back in added value to your home? Here are the top 10 home improvement projects according to the report.

Return On Investment Average Percentages

Seven out of the top ten most valuable home improvement projects are exterior home improvements.

The authors of the report largely pass that off to the axiom that “curb appeal is king.” And while I certainly agree that what your house looks like to prospective buyers is important, it doesn’t account for those of us who plan to stay in our current home for years to come.

What I see when I look at the top 10 projects in the report isn’t a checklist of improvements I need to make for the next owner, but rather an economy-driven triage of upgrades that will make my home more efficient, comfortable, and secure for me and my family. And I really believe that’s what is driving the popularity of these projects more than a desire to spruce up a house for sale.

Better Than Average

It’s also important to point out that these numbers are averages. So the usual caveat of “your results may vary” applies here. Of course, one of the variables you can control is the quality of workmanship. You know you’re not going to realize the average return on investment with below average quality. In fact, a bad installation could actually hurt the value of your home. Conversely, if you hire a contractor who does above average work, it’s reasonable to conclude that you may enjoy an even higher rate of return than other homes in your region.

It probably goes without saying that I consider Buresh Home Solutions to be one of those above-average contractors, but I’d be silly not to mention it here!

Long Term Returns

One final point I want to make about this report is that it doesn’t take into account how much money some of these improvements can save you in energy costs. So when you factor in the lower utility bills that can result from replacement windows, a new entry door, and insulated vinyl siding, these projects in particular can actually return more than your initial investment. And, as an added bonus, you’ll get that all-important curb appeal!