5 Home Improvements To Increase Value: 2024 Trends | BECU

A front shot of a house with an attached garage. The house is blue with white trim. The garage door panel is wood. The front lawn shows green grass and some landscaped hedging,

Remodeling costs have continued to rise over the past 10 years. We’ll help you identify which projects are likely to add to your property value — and which projects to avoid.

Portrait of Katie J. Skipper

If you are among the 14 million people who took advantage of record-low mortgage interest rates during the pandemic, you might be planning to stay put for a while. But maybe home-sweet-home could use a little sprucing up. Or maybe you’re preparing to sell your house soon and want to take on a project that might increase the asking price. Either way, before you dive into remodeling, it might be helpful to check in on market trends to get the best return on your investment.

Home Improvement Spending Expected To Continue Decreasing in 2024

The pace of home improvement spending took off during the pandemic, increasing an estimated 17% year-over-year by the third quarter of 2022, and began slowing toward the end of that year, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Spending on remodeling hit its peak of $489 million in the third quarter of 2023. Spending on remodeling is expected to decrease by a comparatively modest 7% in the third quarter of this year.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts a rebound in the housing market and more stability in the cost of materials will support continued remodeling activity, but at a slower pace than during the pandemic.

Knowing about changes in project costs and buyers’ preferences can help you prioritize your next big project.

Know the Current Local Market

Some advice is timeless and universal (like choosing neutral colors for interior walls), but costs and tastes differ across the country and change over time.

When researching home improvement trends, be sure your information is current and tailored to your area.

Cost First, Value Later

When you take on home improvement, whether you do it yourself or hire professionals, you’re taking on costs for projects that, if done right, will add to the value of your home. But keep in mind that you won’t get to enjoy the financial benefit of the work until you sell the house.

If you’re getting the house ready to sell, be sure the colors and materials you choose are on trend, aligned with the style of your home and consistent with neighborhood character.

Avoid Overly Custom Changes

It makes sense to prioritize projects that make you more comfortable and make the home more functional for your needs while you live there. But, unless you’re never planning to move, be sure to avoid changes that are too customized or personal, otherwise, you’ll end up decreasing your property value. That luxury bathroom or bold tiling choice will require time, effort and money for the next homeowner to replace if they don’t share your taste.

5 Home Improvements That Could Add Value in 2024

One of our favorite tools is Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. It lists the average cost of home improvement projects and the money you’re likely to recoup. You can look at national, regional, city and zip code statistics, and you can sort by project name, job cost, resale value and the percentage of recouped costs.

The list doesn’t differentiate between do-it-yourself and professional work, so if you go the DIY route, you’ll likely spend less than the prices listed — but the amount you recoup will also depend on how well you do the work.

Nationally, these are the top five projects that returned the greatest percentage of costs at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2024 report:

1. Garage Door Replacement

A new garage door updates the look of the home and adds to curb appeal. This home improvement returned to No. 1 among upgrades that give the best return on investment after getting bumped to No. 2 for a year. In 2023, adding a new electric air conditioning system took the top spot. (HVAC conversion fell to No. 12 nationally this year.)

The national trend for new garage doors is a four-section steel door with foam insulation and insulated glass windows across the top panel. It’s on the low end for project costs, averaging $4,513, up from $4,302 last year. The anticipated rate of return shot up to nearly double the cost (194%), almost twice as high as last year, when you might expect to recoup 103% of what you spent on this upgrade, according to Remodeling’s reports.

This project is also at the top of the list of home improvements that increase value in the Pacific region (Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska), where you’ll recoup an estimated average of 251% of costs, and in Seattle where you’ll recoup an estimated 232% of costs.


Photo of a house with three wood barn-style garage doors with windows across the top.

A four-section garage door with windows across the top is the top national trend in 2024. It recoups almost twice as much as the cost.

2. Steel Entry Door

Another relatively low-cost upgrade with a high potential resale value is replacing your exterior front door with a steel and glass door. Remodeling’s report recommends 20-gauge steel with a clear glass panel for the top half.

National average cost for a steel door replacement is $2,355, and estimated average resale value is $4,430, so you could recoup 188% of your costs based on national averages.

This project is also in the No. 2 spot in the Pacific region, where average recouped cost is estimated at 250%, and in Seattle, with recouped costs estimated at 168%, according to Remodeling’s report.


A close up of a home front entryway. The front of the house is white and has a steel door with a half-glass window. The color door is charcoal. There are two lights on the side of the door and two potted small bonsai trees.

Updating your exterior front door with a steel and half-glass door recoups an average of $188% of costs nationally.

3. Manufactured Stone Veneer Installation

Homebuyers still like a little rock on their homes. Installing manufactured stone siding along the lower third of the street-facing façade adds to curb appeal. The cost of this upgrade averages just over $11,287 nationally, and you could recover 153% of the costs, based on national averages, when you sell.

This project is also third for projects that return the most value in the Pacific region (204%) and Seattle (146%).


A close up of a home with stone veneer on the lower third. The home is gray and has a large window in the front. There is also stone veneer on a column close to the front entryway. Steps lead up to a front door with patio lights on. There is landscaping along the base of the home.

Adding a little rock to the lower third of your home adds curb appeal, and recouped costs average 153% nationally when the home is sold.

4. ‘Grand Entrance’ Upgrade

A grand entrance is like a front door that kicks it up a notch. You can add one to your home by expanding a standard single doorway to include a door with two “sidelites” — narrow vertical window panels on either side of the door. The recommended entrance has a fiberglass door with decorative half-glass and sidelites with matching window panels. Some versions also include a decorative glass panel above the door and sidelites, and exterior light sconces on either side of the doorway.


A front door entryway with a bright blue steel door. There are sidelites on the sides of the door and an exterior hanging pendant light on the right side of the doorway. There is a small tree of the left side and two small plants on the right.

A grand entrance expands a single front door to include matching, decorative vertical panels on either side. This upgrade recoups about 97% of costs nationally.

This home improvement ranks fourth nationally and in the Pacific states for return on investment. It’s No. 5 in Seattle.

The national average cost for this project is $11,353, and you’ll recoup an estimated 97% of the cost. In the Pacific states, you’ll pay a few hundred dollars more but recover 137% of costs. In Seattle, you’ll pay almost $1,400 more on average and recover 91% of the cost.

5. Minor Mid-Range Kitchen Remodel

A fancy chef’s kitchen might be your dream, but if it’s not the next homebuyer’s dream, too, you can expect a lower payoff. If your goal is to recoup as much of your costs as possible, better to go with a minor mid-range kitchen remodel. The national average cost is $27,492, and you’ll recoup about 96%, an increase in value over the 86% you might expect to recoup in 2023.


Photo of a kitchen with white Shaker-style cabinets and a dishwasher with a stainless steel door.

Keep kitchen remodels modest to recoup the most cost.

Remodeling suggests replacing the cabinet and drawer fronts with Shaker-style panels and new hardware, getting new energy efficient appliances, replacing laminate countertops, getting a mid-priced sink and faucet, new floors and adding a fresh coat of paint.

A minor kitchen remodel also ranked fifth in the Pacific region for recouped costs of 134%. A similar project in Seattle ranked No. 4, where you’ll recoup an average of 129% of the cost.

Projects That Might Decrease Value

Not every home project is an improvement. These projects could decrease your home’s value, so you might think twice before you invest in them.

Swimming Pools

Experts are divided on whether adding a swimming pool to your home will add to or detract from the desirability of the home to potential buyers. According to some estimates, a pool could increase the value of your home by about 7%, but that increase likely won’t cover the cost of installation. Other factors to consider include the potential that you might narrow the number of interested buyers, especially parents of young children, who might see pools as a safety hazard.

Pools also require time and money to maintain, and they take up a lot of space that the kids could use to run around and play.

Converted Garage

If you’re thinking about adding square footage to your living space, you might start eyeing your garage, but, depending on where you live, converting your garage might reduce your home’s value, along with sacrificing parking spots. People like to use garages for their cars, outdoor equipment and storage.

Converting a Bedroom to an Office

With more people working from home, an office might seem like a higher-priority amenity than a spare bedroom. But bedrooms typically add to the value of a home. A bedroom-to-office conversion can cost up to $5,000, according to gobankingrates.com, citing HomeAdvisor. If the future buyer prefers to use the space as a bedroom, you won’t recover your costs.

Expensive Landscaping Features

Creating beautiful outdoor spaces is a well-known way to increase value, but it is possible to go overboard. Over-the-top, customized landscaping features like a koi pond or a big concrete patio might not appeal to homebuyers. Instead of being excited, they might be thinking about how much it will cost to tear it out. Better to stick with a tidy, easy-to-maintain yard with lighting and walkways in good repair.

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Portrait of Katie J. Skipper
Katie writes for BECU about personal finance and social justice topics. Her career spans reporting for newspapers and communicating on behalf of government agencies and private businesses. Learn about Katie’s career and education on LinkedIn.

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