Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kitchen, bath remodeling projects add resale value

Whether you’re moving on or staying put, minor face-lifts will freshen a home.

Here’s a true story. Our friend Dan was getting his house ready to sell. The screen in the front door had a hole for, oh, three years running. He took the screen to the hardware store, had it fixed and reinstalled it that afternoon. Looking at his new screen door, Dan wondered why he didn’t do this easy fix three years ago.

Most of us have those little, nagging projects that we’ll take care of next weekend, but the weekends fly away and all of a sudden, if you decide to sell your house, they add up. Even if you’ll stay put for a while, projects big and small will have a financial impact for eventual resale.

Kitchen and bath upgrades still have good returns, according to Remodeling magazine’s latest cost vs. value analysis. A kitchen remodel has the potential to recoup 78.3 percent on the initial remodel investment. However, this return is based on minor upgrades, not a total kitchen renovation. Upgrades include energy efficient appliances, cabinet re-facing, new countertops, resilient flooring and a quality sink and faucet. These types of changes present the kitchen as fresh and well cared for.

Bathrooms also bring a good 71 percent return. Again, it’s freshening up what you already have, not necessarily going the addition route. Buyers like jetted tubs, stylish countertops with upgraded sinks and faucets, and new tile. Even re-grouting, sealing and caulking the existing tile will go a long way to impress a potential buyer.

Some of these projects might fall under the do-it-yourself category, but hiring a contractor to do the work efficiently and according to code is a smart idea. So, where to start? Personal references are very reliable and you can see the final work. Check with the local professional homeowners and builders associations, plus the Better Business Bureau for any complaints.

When you have selected a contractor, ask for documentation that the contractor has the required licenses, insurance, lien protection and workers’ compensation. You also want to know who will do the work and if the contractor is subcontracting some of the project.

Whether you are considering selling or staying, do the projects for yourself so that you may enjoy your home’s fresh new look.

Next time we’ll explore ways to go green for the face-lift project. Green makes sense and cost-effective now and in the future.

Check out our remodeling returns information.

Written by Myra Vandersall

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