Can You Guess Which Home Improvements Will Yield the Highest Return?

If you're thinking vinyl siding and replacement windows - you're right!

Even if you're not planning to sell your home this year, chances are your home is in need of some improvement. Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report 2008-09 is out and the results are worth reading, whether you plan to sell your home in the near future or just hunker down comfortably for the winter.

What sells a home faster than anything is its curb appeal. So it stands to reason that the wisest improvement investment you can make will be to your home's exterior - what potential buyers see first.

According to the Report, new vinyl siding and window replacement projects-once again-occupy seven of the top 10 rankings for cost recouped! In fact, these two relatively low-priced home improvement projects yield the highest return on investment. Homeowners can expect a huge return on high-quality, low-maintenance vinyl siding; and for homeowners who can invest in higher-cost, upscale building products, such as fibre-cement or foam-backed vinyl siding, their return is over 80 percent.

Replacement window projects follow a very close second, with hefty returns on your investment dollar for both for mid-range and upscale window projects. The cost versus return figures are extremely attractive-the first figure represents the cost of the project to the homeowner; the second figure is the resale value to the homeowner; and the third figure shows that return value in terms of percentage:

Midrange Projects

Window Replacement (Vinyl) $10,537 8,132 77.2%
Window Replacement (Wood) $11,512 8,946 77.7%

Upscale Projects

Window Replacement (Vinyl) $13,608 10,781 79.2%
Window Replacement (Wood) $17,580 13,455 76.5%

The high value of window replacement projects may indicate that rising energy prices continue to be on the minds of most homeowners these days, ultimately influencing their remodeling decisions. Regardless of the reasons, however, the figures above tell a convincing story.

And while composite windows were not part of the Report's study, it's important to know that composites are an even better selling feature for the long term because composite windows, while comparable in cost to wood, are virtually maintenance-free. New composite window materials combine the strength, beauty and energy efficiency of wood with the low maintenance of clad, aluminum or vinyl. Composites won't flake, rust, blister, peel, crack, pit or corrode, so you-and the owners after you-will never need to worry about scraping and painting again.

Vinyl, wood or composite replacement windows-regardless of your choice, the benefits of installing new windows are clear to see. New replacement windows add so much to your home's overall appeal and value while their energy-efficiency scores big with today's home buyers. Installing replacement windows is simply one of the smartest and most cost-effective ways to boost your home's resale value.

Many happy returns!