In a dour housing market, wouldn't it be nice to know that your remodeling project would pay off when you went to sell the property? Remodeling Magazine evaluated the top remodeling projects, how the cost-to-value has changed since the housing market implosion, and which projects are still worth the investment. Using the magazine's "Cost Vs. Value Report for 2008-2009," let's look at some of the best projects you can undertake and recoup the majority of your cost.
- Siding Replacement (fiber-cement or foam-backed vinyl). With the economic slump, home buyers aren't being dazzled by bells and whistles as much as they are improvements that will ensure lower repair and utility bills. Although replacing current siding with fiber-cement has lost value from 2007, it still nets an astonishing 87% ROI. If you prefer a foam-backed vinyl product replacement instead, you can still look to recoup 80% of your cost.
- Window Replacement (vinyl or wood). Windows are not only an aesthetic feature. For most homeowners, they represent one of the easiest ways to lower home heating and cooling bills. By replacing your current windows with more efficient vinyl or wood ones, you can save on your utility bills, attract future home buyers and net a nearly 80% (vinyl) or 77% (wood) return on your investment.
- Bathroom Remodel. Depending on the size and amenities of your desired bathroom, you could expect to pay over $50,000 to tear out walls, repair joists and wall studs, change structural elements and make major layout changes, such as switching a toilet and shower. However big the price tag, you can still expect to recoup nearly 71% of the cost (which would be $36,400 if you have a $50K bill) when you go to sell. This project increased its value since 2007, while its sister project – adding a complete bathroom – fell in value.
- Major Kitchen Remodel. Kitchens are typically the most frequently used room in a home, so it makes sense that investing money here is going to pay off when it comes time to sell. While a major kitchen renovation is usually the most time-consuming and expensive home improvement job (averaging more than $110,000), it's also one of the most profitable. Regardless of the size of your financial layout, you can expect to get a nearly 71% ROI.
- Deck Addition (composite product). With families cutting their entertainment budgets, they're spending more time at home, so it makes sense that adding a deck (composite, not wood) is a good investment. You can plan on recouping 63% of your total job cost to boost your home's value by nearly $24,000 if you paid the average job cost of $37,000.