Warm spring and summer weather bring out the home improvement remodeling projects for many of us. For some it involves getting an existing residence ready for a possible sale. And for others, the home improvement idea is solely for personal enjoyment.
Our focus on this piece will be on those of you getting your home ready to sell. Some of the ideas listed may not make good economic sense for you. There may be more cost effective ideas better suited for your situation.
There are certain improvements that bring about a much higher return on investment than other ones. We’ll go over a few of them on this page. I’m using some content from an article I read from Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost Value Report.
I’ll give you a couple higher dollar jobs and then some less expensive home improvement remodeling possibilities. I’ll include some methods we’ve used on past home renovations our team has completed.
As with any cost comparison, you’ll need to allow for cost disparity based on different regions of the country. Some of the numbers I give you from the article may seem a little high to you. And I guess in some areas of the country, the costs could appear to be unreasonably low.
So here we go. First off here are two “big dollar”
Master Suite: For $101,873, you would get a 24x16 space with a walk in closet and a full bath. According to the Cost Value Report, you would get back 63% of that in added value.
I couldn’t see us doing that much of a cost outlay for one room. In all cases, you need to remember not to over build for the neighborhood. If every other house is 1800 square feet and you add on to make yours 2800, you may not ever get back the value.
We have renovated an existing room into a very nice master suite. And for far less than $100,000. In one case the house itself sold for less than that amount.
Major Kitchen remodel: Not including granite countertops, and high end appliances, the estimated cost is listed at $53,931 with a return value of 68.9 %. I can tell you we’ve done major kitchen renovations without granite countertops and without high end appliances and the cost came in well below that number. Maybe this is one of those regional examples.
Here are some great examples of lower cost home improvement remodeling projects that will really bring you solid return on investment.
The magazine article pegged the cost of a new steel entry door at $1137 with a solid return of over 80%. This is a great suggestion. That first impression is the most important one. A prospective borrower may go into a house that turned them off on the first look, but many will never get that bad taste out of their mouth.
People will judge the seller by the way the house shows, so that initial feeling must be a good one. I always loved the idea of a new entry door with great landscaping. And in our area, we could do that job for far below that $1000 number.
A new 16x20 wood deck with built in benches and planters is pegged at $9237 and suggests a return of over 75%. Wood costs have gone up quite a bit. If you are hiring someone to do this job, you might pay this much. When we renovate a house, we work really hard to shop around for the best value. It takes a little while longer, but every dollar we save increases our profit by that much.
Vinyl windows: The Cost Value Report suggests that 10 windows measuring 3 feet by 5 feet would cost around $9770 and would net you a return on investment of over 75%.
Here is another consideration about windows, roofs, carpet and paint. If you are trying to sell your home and these things need replacing, return on investment may not be the most important consideration.
I’ve seen houses sit on the market for a long time because the windows and roof were bad. Many new buyers don’t want and probably cannot handle the cost of these home improvement items. Even if you plan on staying for a while, you need to consider the long range plans. If selling is an option when the market gets better, you may want to take care of these things now if you have the financial means.
You can save a load of money if you can take on some of the labor yourself. Lowes, Menards and Home Depot all have extensive racks of very specific books to walk you through many projects. And on various Saturdays, they offer hands on workshops to teach common tasks that really add value.
Just as a side note, we lost my favorite Lowes store a while back. A victim of the free market economy.
As I mentioned in another page, my favorite book on this topic is “The Complete Photo Guide To Home Improvement”, by Black and Decker. This book is outstanding. You can handle a wide array of renovations yourself with this book. The return on investment on the cost of this book is off the charts. You only pay for a book once. You get to keep the knowledge forever.
In closing, I’d like to remind you to be careful about going overboard on tear outs. In many cases, you don’t need to go that far. Kitchens and bath are critical rooms for resale. They need to be up to date, clean and functional. Re-facing solid cabinets can dress up a kitchen and save your budget. We always put in completely new shower, toilet and vanity items in bathrooms of our renovated homes. But we spent extra time researching the prices to get better deals.
Prior to the housing crash, there were several “house flipping” shows on television. Most of them were overly unrealistic. But “Property Ladder” was an exception. We were able to see veteran house renovator Kirsten Kemp repeatedly tell novice renovators not to tear out existing cabinets or rip open walls. The people that listened to her expert advice succeeded. The ones that ignored her often failed.
Do your research and listen to solid advice. Make your home inviting with the first impression, functionally sound and up to date. Then check into what houses similar to your home in your area are selling for. Not what they are listed for and not what a realtor tells you it could bring. Similar sold prices are the only dependable measuring stick for value. Emotional attachment unfortunately doesn’t count.