3 Winter Home Projects That Will Bring in Almost 1000% ROI, According to a Real Estate Expert

After months of browsing Zillow porn, you’ve finally decided to sell your home. At first, you were excited—after all, it’s a seller’s market, and you’ve binged enough Selling Sunset episodes to know that you have to spend money to make money. But, after a deflating visit from a home appraiser, you’ve realized that your home’s value could use a serious boost.

Luckily, this is a problem with an easy solution. According to Realm, a free and unbiased data source for homeowners, there are three projects for high return in the winter months: adding a new water heater, upgrading your home’s HVAC system and installing new flooring. We know, we know—these projects are far from glamorous. If we had it our way, we’d upgrade our appliances and splurge on moody quartzite countertops. But what if we told you they have a combined ROI of almost 1000%? Suddenly, that rainfall showerhead is taking a backseat. Here’s the deal:

Water Heater: Not only does this improvement offer a 347 percent ROI, but it can actually save you money in the long run. “Water heaters with tanks will save you money upfront, at about one-third the cost. But a tankless water heater lasts for two times as long and will save you money each month on your energy bill,” explains Realm founder Liz Young. So, how do you know if you need a new water heater? The manufacturer’s average suggested lifespan for a traditional water heater is between eight to 12 years, and a tankless water heater can last up to 20 years before it needs to be replaced, according to

HVAC: On average, upgrading your HVAC system can increase your home value by $11,877 and homeowners can recoup up to 214 percent of the costs, according to Realm’s reporting. “Not only do HVAC systems provide a bump in the value of your home, but they're one of the longest-lasting appliances. In fact, depending on your system, it may last up to 25 years," says Young.

Flooring: In terms of property value, Young recommends installing hardwood floors, which offer a 342 percent ROI (according to Realm). “It's 50% less expensive than tile, lasts a lifetime, and is also the most common flooring in recently sold homes.” Of course, this comes as no surprise—solid hardwood floors are a perpetually coveted feature among potential homebuyers. BUT, while authentic oak wood planks are unquestionably elegant, they’re *not cheap*, and a typical flooring project could run you anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000. It’s also worth mentioning that wooden floors are prone to scratching and require special care to keep clean. So if you’re looking for an affordable and durable alternative, you may want to consider installing laminate or vinyl lookalikes instead.

6 Improvements That Will Get You Top Dollar on Your Home (and 1 That Is the Kiss of Death), According to a Real Estate Expert

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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...