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Refinance Your Mortgage: Three Home Improvement Projects That Pay Off

by Gabriel  Traverso
Mortgage Directory Columnist

For homeowners interested in refinancing their mortgage in order to remodel, the question is often one of maximizing your return on investment.

Making Home Improvement Loans Pay Off

If your intention is to stay in the home for a while--say five or seven more years--then seeing a good return is probably less of a concern. However, if you plan on selling sooner you want to spend your money wisely. Refinancing your mortgage to fund a home improvement project requires planning and research.

The Top Three Projects

Here are the top three projects that pay off, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2006 Cost vs. Value Report:
  • Replace Your Siding. Putting new siding on your home seems to generate the biggest payoff of all 25 projects Remodeling Magazine researched--you can hardly ask for a better return on your mortgage refinance than recouping 87-88% of your costs. In some areas of the country the value added to your home could exceed 100% of the cost of the project.
  • New Windows. Putting new windows in can go a long way toward enhancing the look of your home and also improve energy efficiency--especially if you have an older home. If you're considering a home improvement loan to replace your windows, you can expect to recoup anywhere from 82-85% of the costs of the project when you sell.
  • Minor Kitchen Remodels. Many consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home and it is often the first target of a home improvement loan. However, you don't have to gut your kitchen and start from scratch. The best return is realized on minor projects, such as cabinet refacing, with costs recouped on average at 85%. Some regions might see a higher return--Remodeling's report showed over 106% returns on investment for kitchen projects in the Pacific states.
Many homeowners make the mistake of sinking home equity dollars into home improvement projects that don't really add value to their homes. Before you refinance your mortgage, research your home improvement project to make sure you get the best payoff.

Remodeling Online

About the Author
Gabriel Traverso is a freelance writer, independent musician, and artist. He resides in Reno, NV.

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