Remodeling projects that give the most bang for your buck

Hank Bailey
Hank Bailey
Published on March 19, 2019

Always a fun read, the “Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value Report*” has just recently been released. This report gives us a deep analytical look into which remodeling projects or upgrades provide homeowners with the best return on money invested. This latest report has some interesting finds!

In 2018, for example, we saw the three projects with the highest return on investment were all improvements related to a home’s exterior.

  • New garage door (98.3%)
  • Manufactured stone veneer (97.1%)
  • Replacing front door (91.3%)

If you’re considering making some improvements, remodeling, or updating your home and want to know how much various projects might add to the value of your home, keep reading!

One thing I like about this too is that the report is broken down into “mid-range” and “upscale” projects. The mid-range project assumptions use standard materials while obviously upscale projects incorporate higher-end finishes well beyond just ‘builder grade.’  To read through the report as it pertains to the Metro Atlanta and North Georgia area, please find it here.

Replacing that worn out garage door

Although it costs more to replace that worn out garage door this year, which will cause the ROI to be a little lower than it was in 2018, garage door replacements have maintained a top spot in places you can spend money and get the highest return on your dollar.

This makes sense because curb appeal is so vital as it makes that literal first impression about a property to home buyers.

This project will run you about $3,611 (national average) and return your 97.5% in increased home value. In Georgia, that figure is a little lower at 91.1%, but that’s not all bad. This price would include removing and disposing of the existing garage door, hardware, and tracks along with the installation of the new garage door.

According notes within the report, this project calls for a “four-section door on new heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks; reuse existing motorized opener.”

It also calls for all the bells and whistles, which would include foam insulation, thermal seals, windows, and high-end hardware.

New siding – leaving no stone unturned

To maximize value, becoming a remodel “rock” star, putting new siding on your home is a project in which you can expect a large return on your investment.  Replacing vinyl siding on your home with a manufactured stone veneer is pricy, but it will completely transform your home’s curb appeal.

The cost for a siding replacement project includes removing the vinyl siding and replacing it with stone veneer and moisture barrier.

From the basis of the national average, you could expect costs to be $8,907 and  return on investment via an increase in your home’s value by $8,449. This is a 94.9% return on investment. Not bad. In the Atlanta market, average cost was a little lower at $8,515, but adding a stone veneer increased your property value by 116.7%!

Other siding replacement, i.e. hardie board for example, cost in the Atlanta area an average of $15,623 and the ROI was a very strong 85.7% ROI.

Remodeling the kitchen (just a bit)

There are two rooms in your house that are critical and will either help your home sell quicker for top dollar, or will be a drag to your sale. One of those rooms is the kitchen. It’s a matter of fact that kitchens help sell homes, and if yours needs some remodeling, now may be the time to get that done.

Kitchen remodels are not inexpensive, average national costs of $22,507, yet this price would include new cabinet and drawer fronts and countertops.

Add in a new stove or range, refrigerator, sink and faucet, flooring and fresh paint for an 80.5 percent return on the money you invest nationwide. In the Atlanta Metro area that percentage is slightly higher at 82.9%.

Keep in mind that the “value added” by home improvement projects is subjective. As the study goes on to 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.” Losing your garage because you wanted to add a recreation room might work for you, but if every comparable home in your neighborhood has a garage, then this addition of heated and cooled square footage that added value to your lifestyle, might lessen the marketability of the home to buyers when you get ready to sell.

My advice before making a large expenditure or investment into a renovation project is to ask your real estate agent if in your particular market would that project be deemed a positive upon future resale or would it be a negative. That may help you in your decision making process to balance lifestyle choices and the utility of your home for you, versus how that renovation might impact your biggest asset and investment!

* © 2019 Hanley Wood, LLC. Data from the Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value

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