Which home improvements are worth your money?

Posted in Home Improvement on June 13, 2018

So you just bought an older house and, naturally, you want to make it a better place to live, or suitable and attractive to rent. You are probably asking yourself which home improvements are the best investment.

This is a very tough question to answer. Your best answers will come from real estate agents in your area. Only they can accurately tell you how much houses like yours can be expected to sell for, how long houses take to sell, and what buyers in your area like.

The resale value of improvements depends very much on your house, too: Adding a second bathroom is generally a good investment, but adding vinyl siding on an older house may not be.

A recent survey by Remodeling magazine across 149 major US cities asked real estate agents to compare the average contractor cost of 21 projects with the amounts homeowners can expect to get back is their property were sold within one year.

In measuring these costs versus values, here is a summary of their results, expressed as the percentage of the cost a homeowner is likely to recover later:

    • Upscale garage door replacement costs $3,470 and its resale value is $3,411 (98.3% cost recouped)
    • Midrange manufactured stone veneer costs $8,221 and its resale value is $7,986 (97.1% cost recouped)
    • Midrange entry door replacement (steel) costs $1,471 and its resale value is $1,344 (91.3% cost recouped)
    • Midrange wooden deck addition costs $10,950 and its resale value is $9,065 (82.8% cost recouped)
    • Midrange minor kitchen remodel costs $21,198 and its resale value is $17,193 (81.1% cost recouped)
    • Midrange siding replacement costs $15,072 and its resale value is $11,554 (76.7% cost recouped)
    • Upscale window replacement (vinyl) costs $15,955 and its resale value is $11,855 (74.3% cost recouped)
    • Midrange universal design bathroom costs $16,393 and its resale value is $11,581 (70.6% cost recouped)
    • Midrange bathroom remodel costs $19,134 and its resale value is $13,422 (70.1% cost recouped)
    • Midrange window replacement (wood) costs $19,391 and its resale value is $13,468 (69.5% cost recouped)
    • Midrange roofing replacement costs $20,939 and its resale value is $14,320 (68.4% cost recouped)
    • Upscale grand entrance (fiberglass) costs $8,591 and its resale value is $5,809 (67.6% cost recouped)
    • Midrange deck addition (composite) costs $17,668 and its resale value is $11,239 (63.6% cost recouped)
    • Midrange bathroom addition costs $44,717 and its resale value is $26,769 (59.9% cost recouped)
    • Midrange major kitchen remodel costs $63,829 and its resale value is $37,637 (59.0% cost recouped)
    • Midrange master suite addition costs $123,420 and its resale value is $69,807 (56.6% cost recouped)
    • Upscale bathroom remodel costs $61,662 and its resale value is $34,633 (56.2% cost recouped)
    • Upscale bathroom addition costs $83,869 and its resale value is $45,752 (54.6% cost recouped)
    • Upscale major kitchen remodel costs $125,721 and its resale value is $67,212 (53.5% cost recouped)
    • Upscale master suite addition costs $256,229 and its resale value is $123,797 (48.3% cost recouped)
    • Midrange backyard patio costs $54,130 and its resale value is $25,769 (47.6% cost recouped)

Remember that while the above figures are a national average and represent considerable experience on the part of the real estate agents, they are only a rough guide.

Because of the uncertainties involved, I believe you should make home improvements primarily for your own satisfaction, comfort and convenience. If you’re lucky, these improvements may also pay all when you sell your house.

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