Top 10 Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

Photo of the front door continues to be a leader in top home improvement projects for Louisville KY
The front door continues to be a leader in top home improvement projects for Louisville, Kentucky.

[The first time I wrote on this topic was in 2009, when I posted Top 10 Louisville Home Improvement Projects on LouisvilleHomesBlog.com. I’ve written several since. Here is the newest version for 2014 by top Louisville agent, Tre Pryor.]

It’s important to remember that the data used by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in this report comes from surveys. Sure, real estate agents are the one’s being surveyed, but it’s still their opinion about what kind of return a particular Louisville home improvement project might return in today’s market.

Even still, you won’t find better data because it doesn’t exist. These values represent the professional opinions of people who buy and sell Louisville homes every day. In fact, I took the time to complete this survey. Not the most exciting way to spend an hour and 15 minutes but it’s good to give back, right?

On to the results!

The following home improvement projects are ordered by Cost Recouped. This data is specific to Louisville, Kentucky. Projects are divided into Mid-range and Upscale.

1. Entry Door Replacement [Mid-range] (steel) – Louisville 82.4%, National 96.6

There have been years where this number was over 100%. I feel that ranking your front door #1 makes a lot of sense, especially given that potential home buyers spend so much time standing right in front of it while the agent is removing the key to gain entry. Can’t-miss project.
Average cost: $1,138.

2. Fiber Cement Siding Replacement [Upscale] – Louisville 81.5%, National 87.0%

Many times the value can be higher if the siding being replaced is in especially bad condition. If that’s the case, you’re killing two birds with one stone— removing the unsightly exterior and replacing it with something brand new and beautiful!
Average cost: $12,711.

3. Garage Door Replacement [Upscale]- Louisville 79.2%, National 82.9%

Sprucing up the exterior of your home doesn’t stop with the front door or siding, you can also make your garage the envy of the neighborhood with a new, upscale garage door. And, get a nice return on your investment to boot. The mid-range garage door ($1,468) comes in at 72.0% cost recouped, which isn’t bad either.
Average cost: $2,723.

4. Minor Kitchen Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 74.8%, National 82.7%

For years we’ve seen that Louisville home buyers value the kitchen above all other rooms in your home. Experts believe improving your kitchen will always reap some of the top returns. This NAR report divides Mid-range projects from Upscale projects. In this case, the Mid-range projects get a higher return than the Upscale project for Louisville.
Average cost: $18,211.

5. Window Replacement [Upscale] (Wood/Vinyl) – Louisville 73.5%/73.3%, National 74.0/76.6%

Replacing windows is often done in order to save valuable dollars when it comes to energy costs. Whether choosing wood vs. vinyl usually comes down to ease of maintenance vs. appearance. For Louisville, it turns out that appearance slightly edges maintenance with wood replacement windows beating out vinyl by the smallest of margins, .2%. Nationally, vinyl beat wood by 2.6%.
Average cost: $16,489/$13,186.

6. Grand Entrance [Upscale] – Louisville 70.0%, National 70.7%

A new category in this report is the Grand Entrance which means replacing a single door with a wider opening containing a new door and dual sidelights. Sure, it’s much more money but depending on your home it doesn’t have to be 7 grand and may return a higher value than 70%, closer to our #1 ranked Louisville home improvement project. Louisville homeowners should definitely price this out and consider this project.
Average cost: $7,239.

7. Major Kitchen Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 69.6%, National 74.2%

If you’re thinking about going upscale, think again. Unless you live in the kind of Louisville community that warrants only high-end finishes, the smart money is going mid-range where you can expect to get roughly a 70% return on your investment.
Average cost: $52,836.

8. Window Replacement [Mid-range] (Wood/Vinyl) – Louisville 69.9%/67.6%, National 79.3/78.7%

Not going upscale may be a mistake according to this survey. The results show that lower-end windows get you less bang for your buck than their upscale cousins. Again, wood replacement windows beat the vinyl but I’m not sure I agree. Consider that today people are busier than ever. Who has time to repaint the wood window trim?
Average cost: $10,511/$9,641.

9. Attic Bedroom Remodel [Mid-range] – Louisville 69.1%, National 84.3%

Square footage is good. Building up is cheaper than building out. If you’re lucky enough to have an unfinished attic with ceiling heights ready to accommodate comfortable living, it’s generally a smart move to finish out this space and add another bedroom or living space.
Average cost: $47,725.

10. Two-Story Addition [Mid-range] Louisville 69.0%, National 71.8%

Similar to completing an existing attack, building a second story on top of your first is certainly cheaper than building outward. I do question the wisdom of putting in more stairs when more of today’s Louisville home buyers are looking to reduce stairs in order to spend more time on one level.
Average cost: $151,378.

Other Notable Facts

Because I get asked these questions a lot, I want to include all the remaining home improvement projects with their Louisville cost recouped. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email.

Mid-range Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

  • Backup Power Generator: 44.1%
  • Basement Remodel: 63.9%
  • Bathroom Addition: 49.3%
  • Bathroom Remodel: 54.9%
  • Deck Addition (wood): 60.1%
  • Deck Addition (composite): 51.5%
  • Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass): 66.0%
  • Family Room Addition: 59.5%
  • Garage Addition: 56.6%
  • Home Office Remodel: 31.9%
  • Master Suite Addition: 61.0%
  • Roofing Replacement: 54.9%
  • Siding Replacement (vinyl): 60.6%
  • Sunroom Addition: 44.5%

Upscale Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

  • Bathroom Addition: 51.2%
  • Bathroom Remodel: 54.9%
  • Deck Addition (composite): 50.3%
  • Garage Addition: 48.9%
  • Major Kitchen Remodel: 61.0%
  • Master Suite Addition: 57.0%
  • Roofing Replacement: 65.7%
  • Siding Replacement (foam-backed): 63.7%

Always happy to share which Louisville home improvement projects give you the most bang for the buck. If I can help you in any way, just ask.