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The best home improvements are the ones outside, according to the Appraisal Institute, an appraiser association, based on Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. The improvements with the most return on investment (ROI) include adding a deck (wood), new siding and stone veneer.

“The latest data shows that home improvements focused on the outside of a property are most likely to result in a positive cost-to-value ratio,” says James L. Murrett, president of the Appraisal Institute. “However, spending money on renovations doesn’t necessarily generate a dollar-for-dollar return. Bottom line: Cost doesn’t necessarily equal value.”

Homeowners should take into account how long they plan to stay, as well as neighborhood norms, Murrett recommends.

“Renovations that elevate a property well in excess of community norms are typically not worth the cost when the owner sells the home,” Murrett says.

Homeowners may also want to consider a “feasibility study,” in which an appraiser estimates the home’s value before and after the completion of the project.

Source: Appraisal Institute

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