Maximize Your Home's Return on Investment: Entryway Updates

garage doors

Your home’s entryways are among the first features prospective buyers notice. They’re also some of the best items to update if you’re seeking a healthy return on investment (ROI). Here are some of the most ROI-friendly upgrades in the Madison area.

Transforming the Front Door
Have you noticed how many houses on the market have a front door painted red or orange? There’s a good reason: this door shapes buyers’ first impressions of a home. It can also make or break their decision to step inside. In other words, it pays for it to be memorable and charming.

Luckily, a few smart choices about the front entrance can mean substantial returns when you sell your abode. One of the smartest is swapping the existing front door for a steel model. This should recoup about 83 percent of the $1,900 you spend, according to Remodeling magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report, an annual survey of real estate agents and home appraisers in every region of the United States.

Another upgrade to consider is constructing a grand entrance, which the report defines as a 12-36-12 door with a fiberglass blank and matching dual sidelights. The door also has decorative glass panels, stained hardwood casings, and exterior trim wrapped in PVC. This type of project costs about $9,200 and has an ROI of nearly 42 percent.

Upgrading the Windows
Windows are the main entrance for natural light, an element that can improve your home’s feel and function. They’re also a source of fresh air, views of the yard, and other natural stress relievers. On the flip side, they’re an exit point for heat during the colder months, so it’s worthwhile to consider both aesthetics and energy efficiency.

According to the Cost vs. Value Report, replacing 10 three- by five-foot windows has an ROI of about 58 percent if you choose wood windows and 63 percent if you choose vinyl ones. In these scenarios, insulated, simulated-divided-light windows with low-E glass replace double-hung windows of the same size. The exterior finish is a custom color. In the Madison area, this project costs about $17,700 to $21,500.

Adding a Mudroom
A mudroom can make your entryway more inviting while increasing your home’s usable space. According to a 2019 study by, adding this popular multipurpose area is one of the most effective ways to sell your home fast—and at the best possible price.

This bump in resale value reflects how much contemporary buyers value storage space. Boots, umbrellas, sports equipment, and other items that might overwhelm a small coat closet are easy to organize and access when placed in cubbies or lockers. Meanwhile, purses, backpacks, and dog leashes can hang neatly on hooks. Per, this convenience costs about $12,000 to create if you opt for a 50-square-foot space with cubbies.

Replacing the Garage Door
A garage is a must for many Wisconsin homebuyers, especially those with cars. In addition to giving vehicles shelter from storms of all sorts, including snow and hail, it often has space to park a lawn mower or snow blower. But that’s not all—the door to this space can help a home feel welcoming and well maintained. It’s a prime reason that replacing your garage door is such a sound investment.

Madison-area home sellers recoup 80 percent of the money spent on a garage door replacement, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. This figure is based on a project that involves removing the old door and installing a four-section door made of high-tensile-strength steel. The new door also has two coats of paint, thermal seals, pinch-resistant panels, foam insulation rated R-12 or higher, and galvanized steel tracks.

Costing roughly $3,700, a garage door project like this one is within reach for many homeowners, even those with modest renovation budgets. Fortunately, many people can tap into their home equity to fund a wide variety of upgrades to their property.

According to Josh Fetting, consumer lending sales manager at UW Credit Union, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is an excellent fit for many homeowners with renovation projects.

“With a HELOC, you can borrow exactly what you need, when you need it, and only pay interest on that amount,” he says. “This makes it a great choice for many home updates, including window and door replacements.”

Renovating to maximize ROI isn’t just about getting the most from a sale; it’s a chance to put your stamp on your home or make it more functional, helping you enjoy your time there. You really can’t go wrong investing in your comfort and happiness.

Jessica Steinhoff writes about financial health for UW Credit Union, a not-for-profit financial institution that offers mortgages, home equity products, auto loans, and more. See for details.

UW Credit Union
3500 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53705