Jul 06, 2023

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Young couple with child in front of a remodeled home exterior

Our home is our sanctuary. No wonder we spend so much time and effort cleaning, decorating, and improving it—both inside and out.

Exterior home renovations can pay off in big ways, including possibly increasing your home’s value. And spring is one of the best times to tackle these outside projects.

Not sure where to start or which exterior home remodeling projects could offer the best return on investment? Here are some exterior renovation ideas and what they might cost, plus some tips on how to pay for them.

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How much do exterior renovations cost?

Home size, type of project, materials used, and location all affect exterior renovation costs. A bigger home often means higher project costs because it requires more materials and labor, especially if you hire a contractor.

Where you live can also affect the price of exterior home improvements. Inspection and permit costs vary by jurisdiction. So do construction and labor costs. That’s why renovations are likely to cost more if you live in a state with a higher cost of living, such as New York or California.

Still, certain projects might pay for themselves if they boost your home’s value in the long term. But home value should not be the main reason for an exterior renovation project.

Whatever project you take on should make you love your home even more. You may not recoup what you spend on beautiful landscaping, a new walkway, or a four-season deck. But money can’t buy the happiness you will get from looking at or using these things every day.

If you have exterior home renovation projects on your list, here are some ways to prioritize them based on costs, the size of the project, and how much they can improve the experience of living in your home. 

Exterior home remodel projects with a big impact

Replace your roof

Roofs can last a long time. But when the time comes to replace one, it’s critical that you don’t wait. Doing so can result in exterior and interior home damage, which will only increase future costs.

Roof replacements are among the most expensive exterior home remodeling projects, but they also offer a solid return because they can improve the energy efficiency, appearance, and living conditions of your home.

Where you live, your home size, materials selections, and your roof’s current condition will impact the price of this exterior renovation. These projects cost $12,000 on average, but you often get back the money you spend, according to National Association of REALTORS® industry (NAR) data.1

Upgrade your siding

Few things improve your home’s curb appeal as much as siding. You can quickly take your home from drab to fab by upgrading the material, style, and color.

Some of the most popular options include:

  • Vinyl
  • Fiber cement
  • Engineered wood
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Stucco

Replacing exterior siding can cost around $18,300 – $18,600, depending on materials and home size.2 The good news is that you could get back most of the money you spend on these projects if you decide to sell.

For example, vinyl siding may provide an 82% return, while fiber cement siding could deliver an 86% return, according to a remodeling impact report from the NAR.3 NAR’s report focused on the cost recovery of different exterior home remodeling projects and the joy they produced for homeowners.

Even if your home does not need new siding, it could immediately boost its curb appeal. And that could be a big win in the “homeowner happiness” column.

Revamp your garage door

As with a new roof, you could get 100% return when you install a new garage door.

This project is less expensive than other exterior remodeling projects, but it boosts happiness for homeowners, according to NAR’s research. On a scale of 1-10, upgrading a garage door has a joy score of 9.4

The price to replace a garage door will vary depending on the materials. Steel and vinyl doors are much cheaper than aluminum and glass doors, which can cost several thousand dollars.

The anatomy of a garage door is complex. There are springs, hinges, tracks, locks, and weather stripping. This is not a project most people can do themselves. It is best to hire a professional. Though it will increase your costs, you may have more peace of mind — and be safer — knowing the job was done right.

Spruce up your landscaping

No matter how much time and money you invest in your home’s exterior, shoddy landscaping can drag down its overall appearance. A few simple touches can update your home’s style, give it a personal touch, and make your neighbors swoon.

The nice thing about a landscaping project is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want. This project typically ranges from $500 if you do it yourself, to $2,000 if you hire a professional.5

Landscaping is a great do-it-yourself (DIY) project if you have the time and energy. You can:

  • Mow your lawn
  • Pull weeds
  • Clean up your mulch beds
  • Add a fresh layer of mulch
  • Swap out dead shrubs, trees, and flowers
  • Plant container gardens

For most homeowners, upgrading their landscaping starts with setting a budget. From there, you can decide if it’s a DIY project or one that requires a professional. Either way, improving your landscaping may be worth the effort. Landscape upgrades could deliver a 100% return, according to NAR.6

Enjoy the great outdoors with a new deck or patio

There are few things more enjoyable than a comfortable outdoor living space. For many homeowners, this starts with building or repairing a deck or patio.

The average cost of a new patio is $10,500 and could generate a 95% return on investment. The average cost of a new wood deck is $16,900 and could offer an 89% return, according to NAR. These exterior renovation projects also produce the most joy among homeowners. On a scale of 1 to 10, a new patio and deck have joy scores of 9.9 and 9.8, respectively. Most homeowners say they do these projects to improve the comfort and beauty of their home.7 So, a significant return on investment and a potentially higher home value are just bonuses.

Make exterior home improvements without breaking the bank

Whatever your reason for exterior renovations, cost will likely affect how you prioritize and when you complete these projects.

First, you will have to decide whether each project is a DIY job or requires a professional. Then, you will need to do research to determine the price ranges for each project. You can find an online calculator or consult with your local hardware store.

Your personal needs and wants also will affect when you tackle certain improvements. Weigh all these factors as you create your project list and potential budget.

Once you set your budget, decide how you will cover renovation costs. You can pay for exterior home improvements in several ways: 

  • Cash
  • Personal loan
  • Credit card
  • Home equity loan
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

Some of these choices may suit your needs better than others. Cash is great if you can afford to pay out of pocket without a big hit to your savings. A credit card, home equity loan, and line of credit can work well if you don’t have enough cash on hand. But you will need to pay close attention to interest rates.

Exterior renovations financing options deep dive

With a home equity loan, you can borrow a specific dollar amount against your home’s equity. Interest rates can be fixed or variable, and repayment terms generally range from five to 30 years. But there are disadvantages to using a home equity loan for a renovation. For example, the loan is secured by your home, you might have to add a second monthly mortgage payment, and you may have to pay closing costs on the loan.

A HELOC is a revolving line of credit you can use as you need it. The withdraw period is usually anywhere from five to 10 years, and the repayment period is typically 20 years. The main disadvantage with a HELOC is that the interest rate may change over the borrowing period. You also must use your home to secure a HELOC.

With both a HELOC and home equity loan, you will have to provide several financial documents. The approval process also may take a long time. Using one of these options to pay for a renovation can also reduce your home’s equity, which may not be a good idea if you plan to sell soon.

A Discover personal loan may be a good option if your project is $40,000 or less. A personal loan offers flexible repayment terms and a fixed interest rate. Plus, you don’t have to put up any collateral.

In addition, some lenders don’t charge origination fees, closing costs, or prepayment penalties. (Discover® Personal Loans doesn’t charge any fees as long as you pay on time.)

Creating a home exterior you love

Whether you replace your roof or take your landscaping up a notch, exterior renovations can make you fall in love with your home all over again.

As you decide what projects to tackle, research different financing options to find out what works best for you. Paying in cash is the simplest approach, but a personal loan may offer more flexibility. You also have the option to go the DIY route to reduce costs.

The choices are endless. Explore all of them to transform your home into the ultimate sanctuary, inside and out. 

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Articles may contain information from third parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third party or information

1 https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2022-remodeling-impact-report-04-19-2022.pdf
3 https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2022-remodeling-impact-report-04-19-2022.pdf
5 https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/estimate-the-cost-of-your-home-renovation