A Cost VS Value Opinion

Written by Posted On Sunday, 16 March 2014 07:31

Before you invest in remodeling, it's wise to think about upgrades that get you back the most back money when you resell.

Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2014 offers research that shows the best and worst returns in remodeling based on price and location.

You get the most money back at resale with these updates:

Entry door replacement: 96.6 percent
Deck addition (wood): 87.4 percent
Attic bedroom: 84.3 percent
Garage door replacement: 83.7 percent
Minor kitchen remodel: 82.7 percent

The worst returns were with these updates:

Home office remodel: 48.9 percent
Sunroom addition: 51.7 percent
Bathroom addition: 60.1 percent
Backup power generation: 67.5 percent
Master suite addition: 67.5 percent

It's all interesting information, but does it really apply to you and your situation?

For example, installing a new front door gives you the most bang for the buck of any improvement, according to the magazine. You get back 96.6% of every dollar you spend, especially if you buy a steel door.

But do you really need a new front door? Unless your door is cracked or missing pieces of veneer, you may be better off painting it a fresh modern color. Repeat the color somewhere else - in a planter or on the porch swing and you've just raised your curb appeal.

Don't assume that you need to replace a feature when a repair will do. For example, when you open and close a door over and over, eventually you weaken the frame. Perhaps that's where you should put your money. Your carpenter can reframe the entry and make your lock fit better than it does now. Paint like you'd planned to, add shiny new hardware, and your entry will look fresh and new.

Consider how long you plan to stay in the home. Instead of worrying what buyers will think, or how much money you'll get back for improvements, choose projects that provide the most comfort and convenience for your household.

You can borrow square footage from a room that doesn't fit your lifestyle. A formal living room can contribute some space so you can enlarge the kitchen. Filling out an attic to make a bedroom or a playroom, allows you to add more living space without a lot of expense.

Adding a sunroom, a second story, or a new master suite may be worth the extra cost as long as you really, really want the space and you're not overbuilding for the neighborhood. Just keep in mind that you'll need a building permit, and that the work could go on for months.

Don't attempt major remodeling without an architect or an experienced contractor. You'll be tearing down a wall, pouring a foundation, and adding more to the roof, and more, so take advantage of expert help. Make sure that any project that you do compliments the architecture of the home. A modern minimalist kitchen can work well in a 50s ranch home, but will do little to enhance a traditional Victorian.

Generally, smaller projects return more than big projects, so start there. Fix what you can as far as repairs go. As you spend time living in your home, you'll get a better idea of which improvements make the most sense for your budget.

Who knows? You may make your home so perfect that you don't need to worry about cost VS value for years to come.

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Blanche Evans

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