Remodeling projects that give the most bang for the buck

Matthew Pettigrew
Matthew Pettigrew
Published on March 18, 2019

The “Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value Report*” has just recently been released. A deep dive into which remodeling projects provide a homeowner with the best return on the money invested, the latest report is full of surprises.

In last year’s report, the three projects with the highest ROI were all improvements to the home’s exterior. These included:

  • Garage door replacement (98.3%)
  • Manufactured stone veneer (97.1%)
  • Entry door replacement (91.3%)

If you’re considering making repairs or remodeling your home and want to know how much the project will add to the value of your home, read on.

By the way, the report is broken down into “mid-range” and “upscale” projects. The former uses standard materials while the latter incorporates higher-priced versions.

Replace your garage door

The project on the list that returns the most money on your investment when you sell your home is a new garage door.

Although it costs more to do this year and the ROI is lower than it was in 2018, garage door replacement has maintained its number one spot on the list for two consecutive years.

This makes sense, since curb appeal is so important to a homeowner’s bottom line when the home is on the market.

This project is considered “upscale,” and it will run you about $3,600 (the national average). This price includes removing and disposing of the existing garage door and tracks and the installation of the new one.

The project calls for a four-section door on “new heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks; reuse existing motorized opener.”

It also has all the bells and whistles, such as foam insulation, thermal seals, windows and high-end hardware.

No, you won’t see a return of that $3,600 at the closing table when you sell the home, but you will get close. The upscale garage door replacement project yields a 97.5 percent return, or $3,520.

Remember, these are national averages. Costs vary among regions.

New siding

Although it’s listed as a mid-range project, ripping out the vinyl siding on your home and replacing it with manufactured stone veneer is pricey. But it completely transforms a home’s curb appeal.

The cost for this home renovation project includes removing the vinyl siding and replacing it with the stone veneer, underlaid with moisture barriers (two layers). This is a simplistic explanation of the scope of this project. You can read more and see before and after sketches at costvsvalue.com.

This project, on a national average basis, costs $8,907 (last year’s cost was $8,221) and its return on investment via your home’s value is projected to be $8,449, a 94.9 percent ROI.

Remodel the kitchen (just a little)

Kitchens help sell homes and if yours needs a minor remodel (using mid-range materials), now may be the time to get it done.

It’s a pricey job with an average national cost of $22,507. This price, for a 200 square-foot kitchen, includes new cabinet and drawer fronts (shaker-style) and countertops.

Add in a new stove and refrigerator (energy-efficient), sink and faucet, flooring and fresh paint for an 80.5 percent return on the money you invest.

When looking at the national average price of a project, keep in mind that the survey was conducted in 2018, when the remodeling industry was enjoying a “robust market,” according to the study’s authors, and prices were substantially higher because of tariffs.

This year’s costs may be quite different.

Keep in mind, as well, that the value added by home improvement projects is subjective. As the study’s authors explain, getting rid of a small bedroom to enlarge a bathroom “may be seen by a potential buyer as the loss of a bedroom, rather than the gain of a luxury bathroom”

 

* © 2019 Hanley Wood, LLC. Complete data from the Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.

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