Top 5 Best and Worst Home Improvements to Make in Texas

If you’re like most people, a lot of the work you do on your home is meant for you to enjoy--at least for a little while. But you also want to make sure you get some of that money back when it’s time to sell or refinance. So which improvements are also smart investments in Texas?

Stay away from…

Sunrooms: They’re hard to heat and cool, require additional wiring, and aren’t very versatile. If you’re thinking sunrooms, try focusing on a deck instead. You’ll get a lot of the same benefits without the hassle. If you can’t live without the sunroom, you can expect to only get about a 58 percent return. That’s slightly higher than the national average of 51 percent.

Home offices: Having your own kid/pet/clutter-free space to telecommute from seems like a no-brainer, right? But what happens when your potential buyers both work outside the home and your office oasis means their kids will have to share a room (and probably end up killing each other in the process)? Suddenly you’re wishing you’d just set up a desk in your guest room and called it a day. On average, you’re only going to get 58 percent back on your investment. That’s still 10 percent higher than the national average of 48 percent.

Bathroom additions: There’s a lot that goes into adding a bathroom. Not only do you have to add plumbing, wiring, and heating and cooling, you also have to buy all the bathroom fixtures. At the end of the day, you’re only going to get back about 67 percent of your investment, 7 percent higher than the national average.  

Roofing replacement: Roofing replacements are great investments anywhere in the country. Why? When was the last time you thought about your roof? Probably when it was in need of repair. A new roof isn’t exactly a selling point. But a roof in need of repair is a big red flag. That’s why this repair is going to get you a 72 percent return. That’s a little bit higher than the 67 percent national average.

Master suite additions: Your master suite might be your oasis. Walk-in closets, dressing areas, whirlpool tubs with a separate shower. But a potential buyer might not expect to spend quite as much time there. To them, it’s not worth the $100,000 investment it took to make. You’ll only recoup 72 percent of that cost. That’s still higher than the 67 percent national average.

Consider adding...

A steel front door: This upgrade probably isn’t at the top of your list. But nationwide, it has one of the best returns your investment. Why? A steel door is more energy efficient and a whole heck of a lot harder to break down than a wood door. You can expect a 101 percent return on this investment, slightly higher than the 96 percent national average.

Minor kitchen upgrades: When we say minor we mean more than a coat of paint, but less than a gourmet chef’s dream. Focus on replaying your cabinet fronts, hardware, countertops, flooring, and stove and you can expect to see an 82 percent return.

A basement remodels: A finished basement gives you a lot of options. Add a wet bar and you’ve got a great place to entertain. Change the paint and it’s a playroom for the kids. Put a couch and TV down there and it’s a second living room. So it makes sense that a basement remodel can get you a pretty high return in some areas. You can expect about 92 percent, well above the 77 percent national average. This one’s expensive, so you might want to think about a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to help pay for it.  

A wood deck: Nothing says summer like backyard barbeques, afternoon cocktails, and relaxing on your favorite chaise lounge. A deck can seem like an additional (and indispensable) room in your house. So it’s no brainer that this addition gives homeowners an 89 percent return on their investment. That’s just a little above the national average of 87 percent.

Back up power generation: For most people in the nation, this is not a great investment. But if you live in the mid-Atlantic, you can expect to get a 86 percent return on this one. That’s slightly higher than the 67 percent national average.

Make sure your improvements make sense in your neighborhood. If all the other houses in your neighborhood are small, ranch-style homes, your three-story behemoth might not exactly fit in.

If you're a veteran, it's worth your while to explore the benefits available to you through the VA's lending program. Check out our handy guide on VA land loans to jumpstart your construction or homebuying project.