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The Best and Worst Home Improvement Choices to Improve Resale Value

Remodeling magazine’s Cost Versus Value 2009–2010 Annual Report asserts that exterior home improvements are the best value. The annual report is based upon a survey of thousands of realtors from around the country, and who would know better than a realtor what best sells a home? As far as interior renovations go attic bedroom, basement remodels and kitchen improvements compare similarly to exterior projects. The trends of these annual reports are fairly consistent over the past decade and are based on the percentage of remodeling investment recouped versus resale values of the homes that have been improved.

Some improvement projects fare better in different regions of the country versus others. For example, wood deck additions and basement remodels do very well in the Pacific region whereas attic bedroom additions and steel entry door replacements rank highly in the Midwest. However, this article focuses on the overall national trends.

Though falling home prices have diminished returns on home improvement projects the benefits of mid scale renovations appear to be the best value. Overall, improving curb appeal is the best bet when remodeling or improving your home. Inside the home adding more space and improving high traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom are good values as well.

The top five exterior and interior projects are*:

Exterior
1. Entry Door Replacement (steel)
2. Siding Replacement (fiber-cement)
3. Siding Replacement (vinyl)
4. Siding Replacement (foam backed vinyl)
5. Window Replacement (wood)

Interior
1. Attic Bedroom
2. Basement Remodel
3. Minor Kitchen Remodel
4. Major Kitchen Remodel
5. Bathroom Remodel (mid range)

It appears there isn’t as much value in major additions probably due to the higher cost versus their perceived value.

Here are the bottom five exterior and interior projects*:

Exterior
1. Garage Addition
2. Roofing Replacement
3. Deck Addition (composite)
4. Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass)
5. Two Story Addition

Interior
1. Home Office Remodel
2. Sunroom Addition
3. Bathroom Addition
4. Master Suite Addition
5. Bathroom Remodel (upscale)

It is important to reiterate that some projects that don’t grade out as highly when measured nationally may still have better value in a given region. For example, garage additions have a better value in the colder areas of the country than the warmer ones for obvious reasons. Also, although a project like roofing replacement isn’t perceived as such a great resale value it would be tough to sell a home with water damage due to a leaky roof. Before embarking on your home improvement projects it is important to thoroughly research what will have the greatest impact on which ones have the best resale benefits in your market.

* Compiled from http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2009/costvsvalue/national.aspx

Home Improvement Resale Value,
part of our article series in the Home Inspectors & Appraisers category.
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