Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

<photo: CNN Money>

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed thousands of consumers, real estate agents, and industry professionals on interior and exterior home remodeling projects. The projects listed below are the best interior remodeling projects that can get you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes time to list on the market.

Interior Remodeling Projects

If you are looking to remodel your home with the intent of selling at a higher price, you should consider these projects for their overall cost to the owner and their potential boost in selling price. We’ve ranked these interior projects based on the most value and cost recovery a homeowner can receive based on NAR’s 2015 Remodeling Impact Report.

The following five projects received the best overall value for sellers:

  1. Refinishing a home’s hardwood floors received the highest money-back value. Refinishing the floor can boost the home’s beauty and aesthetics and upgrade worn-out features. Remodelers from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) estimate that refinishing hardwood floors cost $2,500. NAR REALTORS® estimate that the increased value for sellers is also $2,500 and thus a homeowner can recovery 100 percent of the costs.
  2. Completing an insulation upgrade is the second most cost effective project. NARI Remodelers estimate that upgrading a home’s insulation will cost $2,100. NAR REALTORS® estimate that sellers can increase the value of their home by $2,000 for an insulation upgrade, and thus recover 95 percent of their costs.
  3. If your home does not currently have wood floors to refinish, adding new wood flooring can recover 91 percent of costs at the time of sale. NARI Remodelers estimate the cost of new wood flooring to be $5,500. NAR REALTORS® estimate that the increased value for sellers is $5,000.
  4. Replacing the HVAC system can improve energy efficiency and update worn-out features in the home. NARI Remodelers estimate that the cost of replacing an HVAC system is $7,000. NAR REALTORS® estimate that the increased value for sellers is $5,000. The cost recovery is 71 percent.
  5. Finally, converting a basement into a living area improves livability for potential new buyers. NARI Remodelers estimate that a basement overhaul will cost $36,000. NAR REALTORS® estimate that the increased value for sellers is $25,000. The cost recovery for a new living room in the basement area is 69 percent.


The most expensive remodeling projects include:

  • Completing a new master suite at a cost estimate of $112,500 (estimated cost recovery at 53 percent),
  • Converting an attic into a living area at $65,000 (estimated cost recovery at 61 percent),
  • Complete kitchen renovation at $60,000 (estimated cost recovery at 67 percent), and
  • Adding a new bathroom at $50,000 (estimated cost recovery at 52 percent).

The least expensive remodeling projects include:

  • Upgrading insulation at a cost estimate of $2,100 (estimated cost recovery at 95 percent),
  • Refinishing hardwood floors at $2,500 (estimated cost recovery at 100 percent), and
  • Renovating a closet at $3,500 (estimated cost recovery at 57 percent).

For a complete list of home remodeling projects, the level of homeowner satisfaction, cost estimates and seller value, read more in the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report.

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*Disclaimer: The report provides a cost recovery estimate for representative remodeling projects. The actual cost of each remodeling projects and cost recovery are influenced by many factors including project design, quality of materials, location, age and condition of the home and homeowner preferences.