By Herald staff and news services
Most homeowners remodel their homes to improve their quality of life. But what they’re really hoping is that the renovations will add equity to their home and they’ll get their money back at resale time.
Alas, not all upgrades are smart. Over-improving or over-personalizing a home may end up costing a homeowner big money.
“I advise my clients to not put too much money into remodeling if they’re planning to sell right away,” said Courtney McClasky, broker with First Choice Realty in Snohomish. Homeowners looking to sell soon should focus on cosmetics and curb appeal and make sure the home is tidy inside and out, she said.
Each year, Remodeling magazine puts together a cost-vs.-value report that compares the average cost of 22 remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 136 U.S. markets.
According to the report, the project that returns the most value at resale is garage door replacement — a definite curb appeal upgrade.
If you’re looking to sell a few years down the road, modernizing those 1980s bathrooms and kitchens now is smart, McClasky said. Just don’t go crazy on the renovation budget; according to the Remodeling magazine report, bathroom and minor (no more than $25,000) kitchen remodels with midrange fixtures and finishes should pay off for you when you sell your home.
On the other hand, lavish remodeling projects don’t pay for themselves, the report shows. A master suite addition with upscale finishes only returns about 67 percent of its cost at resale in the Seattle metropolitan area, according to the magazine.
“Don’t overimprove,” McClasky warned. “Buyers want to change things to their own tastes.”
Here are six projects to show which provided the best return on investment. Costs are for the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes Snohomish County.
Midrange major kitchen remodel
Cost: $73,500 | Resale value: $57,071 | Percentage recouped: 77.6%
Update outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, including 3-by-5-foot island; laminate countertops; and standard double-tub stainless steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Include energy-efficient range, vented range hood, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal and custom lighting. Add new resilient flooring. Finish with painted walls, trim and ceiling.
Midrange bathroom remodel
Cost: $24,070 | Resale value: $21,564 | Percentage recouped: 89.6%
Update existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom. Replace all fixtures to include 30-by-60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub with 4-by-4-inch ceramic tile surround; new single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced shower control; standard white toilet; solid-surface vanity counter with integral sink; recessed medicine cabinet with light; ceramic tile floor; and vinyl wallpaper.
Window replacement (wood)
Cost: $22,061 | Resale value: $19,817 | Percentage recouped: 89.8%
Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-light wood windows. Interior finish of stained hardwood; exterior finish of custom-color aluminum cladding. Trim exterior to match existing; do not disturb existing interior trim.
Cost: $18,123 | Resale value: $17,420 | Percentage recouped: 96.1%
Replace 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new siding installed to manufacturer’s specifications. Include factory trim at all openings and corners.
Roof replacement (asphalt shingles)
Cost: $26,321 | Resale value: $22,624 | Percentage recouped: 86%
Remove and dispose of existing roofing to bare wood sheathing. Install 30 squares of minimum 235-pound fiberglass asphalt shingles (minimum 25-year warranty) with new 30-pound felt (or equivalent synthetic) underlayment, galvanized drip edge and mill-finish aluminum flashing. Assume a rectangular hip roof; custom flashing at two average-size skylights; and custom cap treatment at vented ridge.
New wood deck
Cost: $17,432 | Resale value: $15,573 | Percentage recouped: 75.6%
Add 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4-by-4-inch posts anchored to concrete piers. Install pressure-treated deck boards in a simple linear pattern. Include built-in bench and planter of the same decking material. Include stairs, assuming three steps to grade. Provide a complete railing system using pressure-treated wood posts, railings and balusters.
Six more projects
Project cost / Resale value / Percent recouped
■ Upscale master suite addition $304,522 / $205,741 / 67.6%
■ Upscale bathroom addition $102,014 / $79,885 / 78.3%
■ Backyard patio $63,894 / $47,796 / 74.8%
■ Entry door replacement $2009 / $1,905 / 95%
■ Garage door replacement $3,806 / $5,825 / 153.1%
■ Manufactured stone veneer $9,432 / $10,996 / 116.6%
Source: Remodeling magazine