Remodeling your home can bring comfort and a big return when you decide to sell

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:55

    WARWICK-You bought your house a few years ago. You are comfortable there but you are at a crossroads: Should you invest in your house by remodeling, or should you move on to a different home? For the past seven years, Realtor Magazine, in conjunction with Remodeling magazine, has conducted a cost versus value report on home improvement projects. This survey looked at the cost of constructing common remodeling projects against the dividend received when a home is sold based on the judgement of real estate professionals. The data was gathered regionally, with appraisers, brokers and salespeople in 53 cities reporting from across the country. The incoming data was broken into four regions: East, West, South and Midwest. Not surprisingly, updating a bathroom was found to be one of the best investments for homeowners. In the East, which included cities from New England south to Washington, D.C., and west to Pittsburgh, the average rate of return was 104.8 percent, the highest of any region. The bathroom remodel was not an extravagant one. The average cost in the East was just over $10,000. All fixtures were replaced, with a standard-sized tub, ceramic tile surround, toilet, solid surface vanity counter with double sink, recessed medicine cabinet, ceramic tile floor, and vinyl wallpaper. The cost in the Midwest and West was slightly higher than in the East but the return was less — 78.3 percent and 87.7 percent respectively. In the South, the cost was lower, $8,572, and the recouped cost was 94 percent. Building a deck is considered a good investment too —especially in our area. Homeowners in eastern cities averaged a 98.7 percent return on their investment. The cost for a 16-by-20 foot deck using composite decking in a simple pattern, a built-in bench, a planter, stairs, and railing system cost an average $6,807 to build and recouped just over $6,700 at resale. Again, this was the highest resale of any region. In the West, homeowners could expect to recoup 94 percent of their investment. Midwesterners got 89.7 percent back with Southerners recouping just 76 percent. Windows proved to be a good asset and the East led the way again. With a cost of $9,328 to replace 10 3-by-5 foot double-hung windows, easterners got a 90.6 percent return, recouping nearly $8,500. The West followed closely with an 86.9 percent return. Converting unfinished attic space into a bedroom and small bath offers a decent return to homeowners. The construction included creating a 15-by-15 foot bedroom and a 5-by-7 foot shower bath, using a 15-foot dormer, four new windows, and carpeting. The average cost was almost identical across all regions of the country - $35,850. The return on this investment ranged from 79.2 percent up to 88.1 percent. A 16-by-25 foot family room addition will give a return of nearly 88 percent in the East. A new roof is a good investment, especially in our area, returning 106.3 percent of the cost. A 24-by-16 foot master suite addition, including a walk-in closet, whirlpool tub, separate tile shower, double sink vanity with ceramic tile floor in the bathroom and carpeting in the bedroom, will cost a pretty penny anywhere in the country. In the East, the average cost is $73,439, getting back just shy of $60,900 or 82.9 percent. A major kitchen remodel of a 200-square-foot space will return 83.8 percent of your $43,449 investment. This includes new cabinets, laminate counter tops, new fixtures and appliances, flooring, and a 3-by-5 foot island. A basement remodel returns 73.5 percent to Eastern area homeowners, while a sun room addition gives back 83.7 percent. Realtor Magazine cautions that a return on investment depends on the value of a particular house, other homes in the neighborhood, availability and pricing of new homes, and the change in property values for the area. Projects with returns greater than 100 percent, according to the magazine, are usually located in markets where property values are rising very rapidly. Remodeling offers homeowners many benefits, including a better quality of life in their home as well as tax-free equity if and when they decide to sell their home.