Replacing Not Remodeling Leads Resale Returns

Makeover programs on television might be the rage, but a 2006 study by Homestead remodeling Magazine and excerpted by The National Association of Realtors® states that of the top ten home improvement projects researched, on cost recouped at resale, seven are replacement projects. Replacing faded or damaged siding, and upgrading to energy efficient vinyl or wood windows led the resale return list with vinyl siding returning on average nationally 87.2 % and wood windows returning 85.3%. In some markets such as California, returns were as high as 102.2% for windows and 101.8 % for fiber cement siding.

Remodeling brought mixed returns on a national average, but in some markets certain types of remodeling paid off. Miami is a good market for a minor kitchen remodel, returning at resale 104.6%. At the other end of the return spectrum, in Detroit the same minor kitchen remodel brought only a 53.6% return. On a national average a minor kitchen remodel brought an 85% return. The minor kitchen remodel outlined was as keeping but resurfacing kitchen cabinets, replacing flooring and countertops with materials of equal quality. Plus, adding thirty feet of cabinets and countertops. Appliance-wise a minor remodel only replaced the wall oven and cook-top, with new energy efficient model.

Bathroom remodels on a national average brought the same 85% return as a minor kitchen remodel. Knoxville brought the highest rate of return for a bathroom remodel at 123%, while Pittsburgh returned a dreary 61.5% at resale. The bathroom remodel consisted of replacing plumbing fixtures, medicine cabinet, lighting and flooring in an existing seven by five foot bathroom.

Converting an existing room into a home office was an eye-opener at resale. Contrary to what many would think would be a remodeling homerun, delivered a disappointing 63% return nationally. However, Knoxville and San Francisco led by leaps and bounds the national average by delivering a whooping 99.3% and 99.1% at resale on a home office remodel. At the other end of the country, the Burlington, Vermont market was not interested in home offices and returned only 37.8% spent on a remodel. The specifications for the remodel were: twenty linear feet of desktop, new carpeting, a computer work station, wall storage, rewiring and upgrading wiring for phone, cable, fax and high-speed Internet.

Considered a tried-and-true remodeling project, the basement entertainment room, brought on average a seventy-nine-percent rate of return. Boise led the country with a huge 123.9% return on a basement remodel. In Cleveland the rate of return on a basement remodel was half or 50.1%. The remodel standard was building out a twenty-by-thirty foot space with a wet bar and adding a new five-by-eight-foot bath. All finished with mid-grade materials.

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