Increase House Value With Exterior Home Improvement

With house prices on the rise as noted by the New York Times, I have decided to invest in more home improvements. I know I have substantially increased the value of my house already with completed remodels on the kitchen and bathrooms. My goal is not to fix the house for sale. My objective is to increase the value of my house for a future appraisal toward a reverse mortgage. The potential of obtaining a reverse mortgage on my house is an option I have to help fund my retirement years if needed. This year’s home improvement project was new siding.


In 1999, I purchased my house in southern Delaware knowing that it needed extensive interior renovations. Built in 1940, the house needed updates to plumbing, heating, and electric. The cedar shake siding was installed by the previous owner over the house’s initial wood siding. The cedar shakes were crumbling; some had fallen off.

The process

Vinyl siding was chosen because it is low maintenance and cheaper compared to other siding options, such as brick. Insulation was not included when the house was built. Because of that, shortly after moving in, I had blown-in insulation added. As an additional measure for insulation, after the cedar shakes and old vapor barrier were removed, 1/4 inch foam sheets were secured to the house.

The project was expected to take two weeks, but bad weather extended it to four weeks. I had to find other off-street parking because the dumpster was in the driveway. The most difficult part was that my dog, who is used to going outside at will, had to remain indoors. That “captivity” coupled with hours of pounding on the house by the contractor had the dog barking–a lot. Did I mention that I was home too?

The cost

The project to install vinyl siding cost $8,100. That covered building permits, a licensed contractor and his assistant, rental on a dumpster, vapor barrier, foam sheet insulation, vinyl siding, and trim. According to the remodeling 2013 Cost vs. Value report, I can expect up to a 73% return on my investment in this home improvement project.

The results

A more attractive curb appeal for my house was a bonus. Instead of covering the entire house with horizontal tan siding, the porch has white vertical vinyl siding resembling board and batten, so the house looks unique. The insulation installed under the siding has already eliminated some drafts that I suspect were caused in part by the holes drilled in the exterior to accommodate the blown-in insulation. The foam insulation is expected to reduce heating and cooling expenses.

The project was not without incident. Aside from a few perennial flowers that were broken to the ground, two azalea shrubs were damaged by the contractor, a particularly visible situation because those two azaleas were in a row of other azalea of identical size. I had to come up with a landscaping plan to fill the gap.

More from this contributor
Curb Appeal Looking Out from the House
Decorating a Small Porch or Small Balcony on a Budget
Tips to Make a Very Small Bathroom Seem Bigger

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