House-flipping TV shows often make updates to investment properties look perfectly easy and logical: Just update that kitchen for $5,000 and add $10,000 to your sales price! In the real world, things are rarely so neat and tidy. Oftentimes, the gross profit added by rehab is barely enough to cover the rehab costs, carrying costs, and other miscellaneous expenses. Unnecessary updates can put your underwater. So how can you tell where to invest when rehabbing for maximum ROI?

The best place to start is to take a look at the homes that your property will compete with on the market. Check out a few and pay attention to what the kitchens look like, the bathrooms look like, the flooring, and more. Often, the fanciest house in a neighborhood will not sell for much more money than houses that are nicely updated without going overboard.

Not everything needs updating, of course. Here are our suggestions on which renovations will deliver the most ROI bang for your buck.

1. Added Insulation
Not very sexy, to be sure, but installing loose-fill fiberglass insulation in the attic is the only project that regularly pays back more than you invest, with an average 107.7-percent ROI. That’s according to Remodeling magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value report. Best of all, at an average cost of less than $1,500, this update won’t cost you much, but it’s something that can really set your home apart from others on the market.

2. Kitchen Remodel
The kitchen is an area of the home where it’s easy for buyers to tell if the money invested has been spent well or not. It’s a room that’s often the most expensive area of the home in terms of construction, and it’s where people spend a lot of time in their homes. Make sure yours is top-notch and traditional: all-wood cabinets, commercial-look appliances, natural wood or stone floors, and stone countertops.

3. Basic Maintenance
If the roof leaks or the foundation is cracked, no buyer is going to stick around to admire those granite countertops in the master bath. Consider their perspective: Most buyers have a limit on what they will spend for a house. If they know they don’t have to spend money on basic upkeep, then they’re more likely to buy the house and consider upgrading the kitchen or baths themselves.

4. New Garage Door
The garage door adds a lot to a home’s curb appeal. Replacing that garage door with something a little more upscale often offers a terrific return on investment. According to Remodeling, sellers can expect to recoup 85 percent of the cost of this relatively inexpensive project. Even more importantly, though, it can help your home stand out from others on the street before buyers ever walk inside.

5. Manufactured Stone Veneer
Speaking of curb appeal, that old siding may not be cutting it anymore. Consider manufactured stone veneers, instead. It’s a pricier option, costing around $7,000 in most areas. But it also offers a respectable 92.9-percent return on investment while turning a plain house into a castle.

Naturally, these are just the basics. To learn and discuss in-depth renovation details with men and women who have been wealthy dealing in Houston real estate, attend RICH Club’s next Main Event. If you’ve never attended before, your first one won’t cost a dime. Check out our Events Calendar for more details!