A little work can go a long way when it comes to home remodeling.
A few minor upgrades to your home will not only improve its aesthetic and functional appeal, but boost your asking price when it comes time to sell.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s recently released 2014 Cost Vs. Value report -- an industry-leading survey of remodeling project costs and their recouped value when a home is sold -- the value of remodeling projects is up across the board. The average amount recouped on remodeling projects nationally hit 66.1 percent, up 5.5 percentage points over last year and the largest increase since 2005.
But if you dig in, the report highlights several projects that beat that 66.1 percent average by a large margin. Projects like replacing your front door, doing some kitchen rehab or building a deck can make a big impact on your home value without making a big impact on your wallet. Minor, inexpensive fixes, done the right way, can dazzle buyers and make your whole home seem more modern, updated and expensive.
Average national cost: $1,162
Average cost recouped: 96.6 percent
“In every home I show, I will tap the door and point out to buyers, ‘This is a metal door,’” says Mariana Knittle, real estate broker with @Properties in Chicago. “I would pretty much only ever buy a house with metal doors. It’s a really important element—safety first.”
A steel door is not only a safety feature; it saves on energy costs because it better traps air inside the home.
2. Add a wood deck
Average national cost: $9,539
Average cost recouped: 87.4 percent
“A deck is a value-add, every time,” Knittle says.
She was surprised that wood decks beat out composite decks on the list, which are more popular with buyers. A composite deck will cost more at $15,437 and only recoups about 74.3 percent of its value, but Knittle says it will save the buyer more money (and hassle) over time because it doesn’t require the annual maintenance a wood deck does.
She recommends going as big as possible without adding much in the way of built-in furniture.
Stainless steel appliances show the house has been updated to current standards, Knittle says. A Samsung refrigerator …
Average national cost: $18,856
Average cost recouped: 82.7 percent
Start by updating your appliances.
“When a buyer sees that an appliance has been updated and particularly with stainless steel--no matter what grade--they see a homeowner that has updated the house to current standards, which is very appealing,” Knittle says. “It speaks to the house as a whole.”
Then focus on your cabinetry hardware.
“The major hardware and home goods stores offer great opportunities for sleek hardware that can enhance the cabinets and make the whole kitchen look more current for very little money,” Knittle says.
But don’t make the mistake of buying them too small, she says. Don’t be afraid to make a bold statement.
She also recommends calling up a granite dealer and asking about remnants, or the leftover pieces of granite cut from larger slabs. This could offer a discount of up to 80 percent on granite if your kitchen qualifies.
4. Spruce up your garage door
Average national cost: $1,534
Average cost recouped: 83.7 percent
This is a project where the price point of your home plays a big role. If you have a luxury home with a prominent garage, putting some money into making it an appealing architectural feature is a good investment.
For a more standard home, or one where the garage is hidden, spending money on a new garage door isn’t as worthwhile. But a layer of paint also goes a long way to make a customized door that adds a new dimension to the exterior of your home.
Average national cost: $16,128
Average cost recouped: 72.5 percent
Though a bathroom remodel offers the lowest return on investment in this list, Knittle has one simple suggestion that makes a big statement. Replace your vanity top with a stone, like granite. It’s cheap and takes a few hours to install, but it will dramatically change your bathroom.
Forget replacing toilets and faucets if you don’t have a stone vanity top in your bathroom—they don’t matter much to buyers.
“Bottom line: On any of these improvements, buyers will discount much more for the work to be done than it will cost you in reality to change it yourself,” Knittle says.
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