Pandemic projects paid off. See the 3 most valuable home renovations

Home buying in the digital age means that the first impression is usually a picture. Even in a seller’s market, homeowners need to make sure their house looks perfect.

The National Association of Realtors released its 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, ranking the exterior projects that gave homeowners an extra curb.

Survey results measured how satisfied consumers were with projects, the cost of the projects and the resale value.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry estimated the dollar value each project would add to the home upon resale. By comparing this dollar value to the estimated cost of each project provided by NARI members, a project cost recovery percentage was calculated.

Here are the three exterior remodeling projects that had the most value for money:


A new roof can be an expensive project, but one that pays off in dividends. This project had a 100% recovered value, according to the report.

Remodelers estimated that the average cost to repair a roof was $12,000. During the pandemic, real estate agents reported a 15% increase in demand for this project.

When asked why they chose to put a new roof on their home, the top two reasons among homeowners were that the current roof was worn out and a new roof would improve livability.

After completing the project, 63% said they feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Garage doors

Tying roofing as number one for resale value was adding new garage doors.

Remodelers estimated that this project cost about $2,000, and 100% of that value was recovered.

Of the homeowners surveyed about their renovations, 23% said they added a new garage door because they intended to sell their home within the next two years. Among real estate agents, 13% advised adding a new garage door before selling.

New side cladding

Sellers know that home buyers judge a book by its cover when viewing their ads, so new siding became a popular pandemic project.

Survey results showed that 63% of homeowners would have undertaken this project even if they were not at home during the pandemic.

When estimating cost versus resale value, remodelers and real estate agents were asked to base the analysis on a 2,495-square-foot house—the average size according to US Census data. They were asked to assume that the house was a post-1981-built home with no hidden problems.

The Remodeling Impact report breaks down cost effectiveness based on materials used. Vinyl siding was estimated to recover 82% of the $18,300 cost, while fiber cement siding recovered 86% of the estimated $18,600 cost.

Other projects

Exterior projects that still earned more than 50% of spending were windows and doors.

A main reason for upgrading windows was to improve energy efficiency. Homeowners who went with vinyl windows recouped 67% of their estimated $30,000 cost.

Homeowners who chose wood windows got 63% of the estimated $48,000 back.

Adding a new front door was top of mind for homeowners looking to modernize. Nearly a third of homeowners who added a new front door said the reason was “time for a change.”

The cost recovery for a steel door was found to be slightly better than a fiberglass door with 63% recovered of $3,150 of costs. Fiberglass doors gained 60% in resale value of the $3,500 project cost.

Although not as cost-effective as larger projects, new windows and doors gave homeowners a greater sense of happiness. Both projects were in the top three for “Joy Scores,” meaning homeowners were either happy or satisfied with their project. Out of 10, windows got 9.6 and doors 9.5.

Across the board, painting – both interior and exterior – scored highest on the happiness score scale.

To see which interior projects had the best resale value, click here.

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