Home im­prove­ments that in­crease home value

The Hamilton Spectator - - REAL ESTATE -

When gran­ite coun­ter­tops or shiny, stain­less steel ap­pli­ances beckon home­own­ers from the dis­play ar­eas of home im­prove­ment stores, it's tempt­ing to gear re­mod­el­ing thoughts to­ward the items that will add flair and dec­o­ra­tive ap­peal to a home. Even though most im­prove­ments add some mea­sure of value, de­cid­ing which are the best in­vest­ments can be dif­fi­cult.

Re­turn on in­vest­ment, of­ten re­ferred to as "ROI," varies de­pend­ing on the project. Fre­quently, the projects that seem like the best in­vest­ments don't bring the great­est rate of re­turn, while those that seem like smaller projects bring sub­stan­tial re­turns. Real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als rou­tinely weigh in with their ex­pert ad­vice, and home­own­ers can cou­ple that ad­vice with Re­mod­el­ing mag­a­zine's an­nual "Cost vs. Value In­dex" to reap the great­est fi­nan­cial im­pact.

The fol­low­ing were some of the projects that gar­nered the great­est ROI. Open the door to im­prove­ment – Re­gion by re­gion across the United States, in­stal­la­tion of a new steel door on the front of a home can have a large im­pact on the re­sale value of a prop­erty. The ROI ranges from 123 per cent at the high­est, to 86 per cent at the low­est – which is still a con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment re­turn for such a sim­ple project. Match the door's style with the style of the house for the best value.

Turn up the kitchen heat – An at­trac­tive

kitchen can en­cour­age buy­ers to over­look some of a home's less at­trac­tive com­po­nents. In the kitchen, re­place­ment coun­ter­tops, wall color changes, new cab­i­netry and floor­ing of­fer the big­gest ROI. Dream­ing of a new bed­room – Re­mod­el­ing mag­a­zine also points to cre­at­ing an at­tic bed­room to in­crease home value. The ROI of an at­tic re­model that ad­heres to code can gar­ner an 83 per cent ROI.

Home main­te­nance project – There's lit­tle good to im­prov­ing the aes­thetic ap­peal and func­tion­al­ity of a home if there are ex­ist­ing struc­tural or main­te­nance is­sues, warn ex­perts. Sid­ing re­place­ment, HVAC sys­tem re­pair or re­place­ment, a new roof, and base­ment damp­ness pre­ven­tion so­lu­tions can be smarter in­vest­ments be­fore other flashy re­mod­els. Many buy­ers have a strict bud­get for a house, and those buy­ers may be more likely to buy a house with lit­tle or no main­te­nance is­sues. Such buy­ers will then up­grade the kitchen or baths them­selves, ac­cord­ing to Harvard's Joint Cen­ter for Hous­ing Stud­ies.

Wor­thy win­dow re­place­ment – Angie's List, a home ser­vices re­view and re­fer­ral re­source, has found that the av­er­age ROI of new win­dows is 77 per cent. The cost of in­stal­la­tion and en­ergy sav­ings tend to off­set at around the 10-year point.

If re­mod­el­ing is on the hori­zon, home­own­ers should give strong con­sid­er­a­tion to ROI be­fore choos­ing a project. (MC)

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