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Which Home Improvements Pay Off?


It’s summer time and the living is easy… Unless you’ve decided to embark on a home remodeling project, that is. With more homeowners unable to sell their properties due to falling values, building a home addition or renovating would be one common solution for households who are outgrowing or simply getting tired of the dated looks or appliances in their homes.

Needless to say, these things cost money — and they affect your home value, as well. And if you’re hoping to recoup all your expenses when the time finally comes to sell, think again. Remodeling Magazine crunched the numbers across the nation and found out what projects were performing the best in resale value across different regions.

Here’s what you can expect to recoup on some common remodeling projects.

Entry Door Replacement

Replacing the front door is a small project that makes a huge difference, creating a more welcoming entrance, a classic improvement to curb appeal. While both fiberglass and steel replacements will recoup a large portion of your costs, steel gives back a larger percentage. The fiberglass replacement, including molding work, will run an average cost of about $3,500, with a $2,150 increase in value, which means you’ll recoup around 60% of your expenses. The steel replacement is cheaper in costs, at an average cost of $1,218, with a value increase of $1,243.

Remodeling’s regional data, however, show that if you live in the West North Central region, the percentage you’ll get for both kinds of replacements falls, while in the South Atlantic region the percentage is boosted well over 100%. Home owners from Washington D.C. to Miami, Florida take note.

Deck Addition (mid-range)

If there’s a little extra room in the backyard, or a slope of yard too steep to enjoy, a deck addition might be the best value-add for your home. You’ll enjoy it while you live there and have an extra amenity when it comes time to sell. Nationally, the average cost of the deck addition came in at $10,973 for wood materials and $15,620 for composite. You’ll recoup 73% and 66%, respectively. Resale value is particularly high in New England and on the Pacific coast.

Window Replacement

Windows a little drafty? Replacing these crucial parts of your house will upgrade its look both inside and outside. Ten windows worth of vinyl replacements will cost an average of about $11,000, adding nearly $8,000 to your home’s resale. The same number of wood windows comes in at just over $12,000 with a value of $8,700. That’s recouping about 72% of costs in the national average, although energy savings are not taken into consideration.

Sunroom Addition

Maybe a deck’s not your style? A sunroom addition will cost you several times more than a mid-range deck, but is considered a major addition to the house. But with a cost of $75,224 and a resale value of $36,540, you’ll barely get half of your costs back. The Pacific Coast gets a little higher value on these, but not much more than half.

Major Kitchen Remodel

We all made some bad kitchen decisions a few decades ago, so you can take heart that an otherwise solid house with a subpar kitchen will shine with a total overhaul. What does “major” mean? Remodeling Magazine includes adding all new cabinets, a 3-by-5 foot island, an energy efficient wall oven, built-in microwave, and finished new flooring, walls and trim, among other improvements. The average national cost is $58,367, with a resale value of $40,126. While a larger investment, the kitchen remodel can have good returns. Beware in the mid-Atlantic and East North Central regions, where the recoup value drops to around 60%.

Remodeling’s report notes an important caveat: while regional numbers can guide you on what the overall best investment is, a look around your neighborhood to see what your house lacks or what’s unique in the area could make the biggest difference in the resale value of a project.

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