Make a Smooth Transition into 2008!

Remodeled & Recouped: The Home Projects That Pay You Back

Hello, and welcome to the premier edition of the SignatureForum Home Services Newsletter! This month, we’re looking to shed a little sunlight on the grey days of January by helping you plan the home remodeling projects that’ll pay the biggest dividends down the road.

Of course, the first rule of any successful home remodeling project is to make choices that best reflect your practical and aesthetic needs without compromising your budget. However, a forward-thinking home owner also plans for the future, which means selecting remodeling projects that add substantial resale value to the home.

Even in recent years, when the overall real estate market has slowed, certain projects, such as kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, deck addition, and siding and window replacements continue to help home owners recoup very high percentages of their building costs after sale. It just goes to show that the old axiom is true: what’s good enough for the goose, is good enough for the gander. If you enjoyed the comfort, efficiency, and appearance of a remodeled room in your home, chances are, many other people will be enticed by the very same features.

Kitchen Remodeling

It’s easy to understand why kitchen remodeling has always been one of the leading projects for adding resale value to a home. The kitchen is often one of the first rooms you see in a home, and its character and features can say a lot about the rest of the house. So just how much of your money can you expect to recoup from a kitchen remodeling project in today’s market? Well, according to a comprehensive study published in 2007 by Remodeling Magazine, a minor kitchen remodeling project (new countertops, mid-priced sink, and energy efficient stove and oven) that costs about $21,000 will bring in more than $17,000 in resale; or an 83 percent return. Of course, this percentage is considerably higher in booming markets like Chicago and Washington, DC. And, in West Coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, the average percentage recouped skyrockets to 103 percent! Even a major kitchen remodel in California (in the $60,000 range) will recoup 96 percent of the cost in resale, 18 percent more than the national average.

Bathroom Remodeling

A standard bathroom remodeling project (all new fixtures, ceramic tile floor, vanity counter, porcelain tub, quality pressure shower, etc) will cost you close to $16,000 on the national average, but the average percentage recouped is at 78 percent, which makes it another one of the best investments in home improvement today. That number runs a little lower in New England and the Midwest (Chicago being an exception), but again, it rises to an amazing 97 percent in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Deck Addition

The resale value of wood decks has been overlooked in the past, but Remodeling’s statistics show that the addition of a quality wood deck is actually one of the most rewarding projects you can take on, and not just because it’s a great place to hold your summer cookouts! On the national average, homeowners can recoup 85 percent of the expenses on a $10,000 dollar wood deck installation, showcasing just how much of a perk a nice deck truly is for a home these days.

Windows and Siding

The average costs of siding or window replacements usually land around $10,000, with wood running higher than vinyl. While neither project represents a radical change on par with a major room remodeling job, they can still do wonders for the value of your home; improving its energy efficiency, security, durability, and aesthetic appearance. For this reason, quality siding can earn you back more than 80 percent of your replacement costs, across the country, while state-of-the-art wood windows can help you recoup anywhere from 80 percent (national average) all the way up to 103 percent as an average on the Pacific Coast! That’s right, new windows will usually net you a profit in San Diego, L.A., or San Francisco.

Recouping, In Review

So, as you can see, the money you put towards a home improvement project doesn’t just improve your quality of living today, but it also lays the groundwork for an easier transition to a new home tomorrow. But in order to recoup, you’ve got to start with the research. We can help you find a local contractor who will give you a fair and accurate estimate and a thorough assessment of your project’s potential. It’s one investment that’s always worth your time.

From all of us at SignatureForum, thanks for reading this Home Improvement Newsletter. We’ll be back next month with more on home services and how to stay ahead in an ever-changing industry. Until then, have a safe and happy start to your 2008!


The SignatureForum Staff


1560 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60201

January 2008
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