Sunday, January 10, 2010

Upgrades for the best return in resale

Exterior remodeling projects under $14,000 have the best return on investment

First impressions count. Increasing your home’s curb appeal outside bring potential buyers inside.

Preparing your home for sale in 2010 means planning ahead now. The good news is selecting the best improvement projects to increase your resale value and return on investment can be some of the least expensive. The most recent findings in the 2009 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report that eight of the top 10 projects in terms of costs recouped were exterior jobs that came in under $14,000. The report is published in the January 2010 issue of REALTOR® Magazine.

The least expensive but biggest on return is a new front door, which proves once again that first impressions are vitally important. A mid-range entry door replacement can garner a 128.9 percent return on investment, based on a national survey of 80 U.S. cities, and will welcome potential buyers into your home. Other exterior projects with a high return are certain types of window and siding replacements and adding a wood deck. The least profitable projects are home office remodels and sunroom additions.

Overall, a sensible and pragmatic approach to improvements is the way to go. Ultra-expensive remodels and exotic additions just won’t make a good return and will deflect buyers who are looking for value in today’s markets.

That said, there is one exception. Increasing living space is a good bargain and the addition of an attic bedroom, which can cost up to $50,000 on a national average, could be a good move. The rate of return on that project is better than 100 percent.

Here are more ideas for low cost improvements that will increase your home’s salability.

Increasing living space gives the buyer a sense of more value. Instead of putting a lot of effort into a home office, show your buyer that the space can be a bedroom. More bedrooms increase the sale price. Open floors plans are big now. Consider removing a non-weight bearing wall to open up the space between a kitchen and family room.

Kitchen and bathroom upgrades are well worth the effort. Replacing backsplashes and tile is an economical way to refresh either room. If you want to go granite for your countertops, consider granite tile instead of slab. Using tiles can be a $300 material cost instead of $5,000.

New or replacement cabinet fronts will impress potential buyers. Install rollout trays in the kitchen for better organization and give the buyer a sense of more space. A new medicine cabinet in the bathroom, plus light fixtures, an inexpensive vanity and faucets will make your bathroom new again.

Putting thought and coordination into your remodeling plans now will reap huge rewards in the spring.

Written by Myra Vandersall

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