Ready to tackle a few home improvement projects but aren't sure which will offer the most bang for your buck? That's a common problem among homeowners, especially when you don't plan on retiring in your current home. What will the market be like? What features will buyers be looking for? How much will one project cost versus how much value it adds?

Here we cover popular home improvement projects compared to the cost of purchasing a solar panel system outright so that you can make an informed decision as to what suits your home improvement needs best!

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Renewable Solar Energy Systems

Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular as home improvement projects, namely due to their low cost, impressive incentives, and massive returns.

The average size of a solar panel system on a house in the U.S. is typically 5 kW.

The size of your renewable energy system will depend on several factors, including how much electricity you use every month. Your solar provider will go over the options that are best suited to your electricity needs, factoring in any other essentials, like the size of your roof.

The average cost per watt varies from state to states, with the costs for 2020 generally falling between $2.31 per watt and $3.31. For a 5-kW system, that puts the price between $11,550 and $16,550. Thanks to the 26% solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)—for consumers who own, not lease, their solar panel system—that cost falls to roughly $8,547 to $12,247.

That means that you could potentially install solar panels for just over $8,500, save money on your electricity bill right away, and add to your home's value. That's right; solar panels can significantly add to the value of your home. In fact, a study performed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that in California, solar homes sold 20% faster and for 17% more than equivalent nonsolar homes.

Let's see how other home improvement projects compare. For help here, we will be looking at information obtained from that breaks down the costs and values of home improvement projects.

Kitchen Remodel

Many homeowners start with the kitchen when wanting to spruce up their home, mainly due to the amount of time spent in kitchen/dining areas. An outdated kitchen can turn a potential buyer off, so if you're planning on a mid-range remodel to enjoy now while also looking toward your future selling goals, be prepared for a hefty price tag.

For a mid-range minor kitchen remodel (includes things like replacing the oven and refrigerator, adding new flooring, painting walls, ceilings, and trims, and opting for a fresh sink and faucet) you're looking at close to $25,000. With a price tag of $23,452 and a resale value of $18,206, don't expect to recoup all of your costs for this type of home improvement project.

Deck Addition

Decks are popular among homeowners who are looking to make their house more attractive to future buyers, particularly wood deck additions. Per estimates, a 16x2-foot wood deck with built-in benches, planters, and a three-step staircase will set you back around $14,360. Homeowners can expect to recoup 72% of the job cost, as a deck wood addition typically has a resale value of around $10,355.

Many homeowners opt for a deck addition thanks to its typically low overall cost. Of course, that cost depends on several factors, including the size of the deck, railing specifications, and the number of stairs required.

Bath Remodel

Mid-range bath remodels are another popular home improvement project, as you want to have an inviting bathroom for overnight guests and company to use.
In terms of resale value, it may not add the amount you are hoping for. A mid-range bath remodel of $21,377, which would include things like new fixtures, a new toilet, vinyl wallpaper, a recessed medicine cabinet, a new tub, and a vanity counter with sink, has a resale value of just $13,688.

If you plan on updating a bath to enjoy for a few years before you sell the house, keep in mind that styles are forever changing. What is popular today may be outdated when the time comes to sell.

Because this home improvement project means you will recoup less than 65% of its cost, it may not be worth doing.

Room Addition

If you are looking to update your home in a big way, you may be thinking about tackling a master suite addition. That's a massive undertaking—and a costly one, too.

A mid-range, 24x16-foot addition over a crawlspace can set you back a whopping $136,739, but that does account for the cost of a walk-in closet and a bathroom. It's estimated that you will only recoup slightly more than half of the total cost, as it offers a resale value of $80,029.

Keep in mind: A renovation project like this can take a significant amount of time and may require you to obtain permits.

How Do Solar Panels Stand Out?

One thing to consider when evaluating your home improvement options is convenience. A kitchen, bath, or room addition will take a significant amount of time to complete. That means you will have supplies, uprooted fixtures, and a general mess on your hands for weeks or possibly months, depending on how long it takes to finish the project.

A solar panel system, however, can be installed in as little as one day and you start to recoup money right away. Solar panels have a relatively short payback period, plus they cut the cost of your electricity bill. Wondering how much you could save every month by opting for a renewable energy system? Calculate your savings here.

There's also the benefit of net metering should the area you live in offer it. Net metering means that you could earn credits for the power that your panels add to the electricity grid and can use those credits when you need to draw from the grid, like after the sun goes down.

Interested in learning more about solar panels as a home improvement project? Connect with a local solar company to discuss incentives, rebates, panel options, and overall savings today!

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