October 28th, 2014
The National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Marketing Index (RMI) for Q2 2014 has a composite score of 56, up three points from Q1. A reading over 50 indicates that more homeowners and remodeling firms are reporting renovation activity versus inactivity. Large jobs costing over $25,000 scored a 54. The RMI has now been above the 50-point mark since April of 2013.
Regional differences play a major role when deciding on renovations. Georgia and other southern states typically have lower labor costs than the New England area. Remodeling magazine, in it’s 2014 Cost Vs. Value (CVV) Report, found that the national average cost to add a wooden deck to a home was $9,539, but only about $8,700 in the South Atlantic region. A fireplace adds more value to a home in the North and Midwest, while patios and decks a make more sense for warmer climates.
Regardless of the reasons why you want to remodel, all projects should add both aesthetic and monetary value to your home. These three projects cover both aspects.
The 2014 CVV report estimates the average cost to replace 10 double hung windows with energy efficient vinyl windows in Atlanta to be $9,924. The average regional cost was $9,531. Homeowners will recoup about 72 percent of that cost on resale in Atlanta and 81 percent in the region, including the towns of Augusta and Athens.
Replacing windows has so many other peripheral advantages beyond a monetary return. New windows look bright and shiny, and give your home instant curb appeal as they are easily noticeable from a distance. It’s important to preserve the historic value of your home’s unique architecture when replacing your old windows. Potential buyers look for homes that represent the historical significance of the community, and they also want to save money with modern updates.
Kermit Baker, of the Joint Center For Housing Studies at Harvard University, told This Old House that the first area of the home that prospective buyers look at include the kitchen and bathroom. The best way to approach the kitchen is to give it some TLC. Refinish all surfaces, replace appliances with energy-efficient ones and paint the walls. These types of jobs are not only less expensive than complete remodels, but provide a larger return since the initial investment was smaller.
Bathroom remodeling jobs typically return 72 to 77 percent of the initial investment, according to the CVV report. Custom showers, his-and-her sinks, and tranquil lighting are en vogue and can make the difference between a closed sale and a house remaining on the market for months. But again, smaller improvements like a new toilet, paint, and shower faucets and head will add shine and that “new” smell to your bathroom.
The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association estimates that 33 percent of burglaries are initiated by entry through the front door. A Nationwide Insurance survey of 1,005 homeowners found that only 15 percent of them knew the front door is one of the most-common points of entry for burglars.
Steel entry doors are inexpensive, relatively easy to install, and are a criminal deterrent. They also carry a near 100 percent ROI. Both fiberglass and wood doors last longer. Salt and heavy rains can shorten the life span of steel doors significantly. Fiberglass does not react to the elements but is significantly more expensive than steel. Wood doors are also expensive but are the most visually attractive choice of the three.
All renovation projects should take into consider both ROI and personal taste. If selling is in your immediate future, stick to neutral styles and colors to attract as many potential buyers as possible.