Financial Returns on Remodeling

ImageChef.comI think this time of year is rather conducive to taking on remodeling projects. Spring cleaning is part of it, but timing is also important. If you aren’t headed out of town for spring break, you may be considering taking on some projects around the house. And if you are thinking that you are going to sell your home this year, you are certainly looking around and wondering what you need to do to get your house ready.

The National Association of Realtors publishes an annual report on cost vs. value. This year it was published in the January issue of Realtor Magazine. The report breaks down the results by regions of the country: after all labor and materials costs do vary depending upon location. Oregon is in the Pacific region of this report. I also want to point out that every project is going to have a range of value. A kitchen can be remodeled for a couple of hundred dollars with a can of paint and a weekend of your time. Or it can be remodeled for $100,000 with slab granite, sub-zero stainless refrigerator, and commercial quality appliances. This report is based upon “averages”. In the case of kitchens and baths, it also shows “upscale”.

Here is a look at the estimated current cost vs. the resale return on the money spent:

Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped
Attic Bedroom $60,135 $52,749 87.70%
Back-up Power Generator $16,351 $9,462 57.90%
Bathroom $47,052 $32,057 68.10%
Composite Deck $16,956 $13,922 82.10%
Wood Deck $12,838 $11,744 91.50%
Family Room $100,023 $73,551 73.50%
Garage $69,912 $51,882 74.20%
Master Suite $124,579 $90,616 72.70%
Sunroom $83,463 $45,245 54.20%
Two-Story $184,839 $143,073 77.40%
Bathroom $88,000 $58,557 66.50%
Composite Deck $41,428 $29,687 71.70%
Garage $102,955 $68,334 66.40%
Master Suite $257,770 $164,278 63.70%
Basement $74,974 $68,648 91.60%
Bathroom $18,864 $14,517 77%
Home Office $31,479 $17,801 56.50%
Major Kitchen $63,803 $53,923 84.50%
Minor Kitchen $23,210 $21,991 94.80%
Bathroom $59,456 $39,648 66.70%
Major Kitchen $120,379 $89,764 74.60%
Entry Door $1,353 $1,732 128%
Roofing $24,712 $18,839 76.20%
Vinyl Siding $13,114 $10,674 81.40%
Vinyl Windows $12,760 $11,328 88.80%
Wood Windows $13,804 $12,175 88.20%

These figures are calculated by NAR and I do find myself wondering about some of them. For instance, the return on a roof is shown to be 76.2%, but I know from experience that a house that needs a new roof is very difficult to sell. So it will take longer and it will receive low offers because of the roof. So I personally think that replacing a roof is critical prior to selling in a way that goes beyond the simple return on the cost of the new roof. However, for the sake of comparison, using these figures it is easy to see that the return on a wood deck is 91% whereas the return on a composite deck is 82%. So if the deck is being replaced purely for the purpose of selling the home, it makes more sense to replace the deck with wood.

My final thought on all of this is that you will see that there is only one item that returns `100% of its cost: replacing the front door, which actually returns 128% of the cost. Everything else, even the items with the higher returns, do not return 100%. To me, this means that if you are going to do remodeling, additions, and improvements to your home, do them so that you can enjoy them. Do them now. Don’t put them off. The value of your remodeling is something that you will enjoy every single day that you live in your home. And that is a value that goes beyond anything you can calculate in dollars.

Let us know if you have any questions. Linda and I are always here to help.