Monday, December 27, 2004

Home Remodeling Payback

Seems like I've always heard that remodeling and renovating your home is a surefire great investment. Put money into your house in the form of renovation, the theory goes, and you'll get it back (and then some) when you sell the place. Oh, but for such simplicity.

Only it's not quite so straightforward. How well a remodeling project pays you back is dependent upon a lot of factors, according to Paul Bianchina (columnist, "Handy @ Home"). Following are typical percentage paybacks per dollar spent for many of the most common remodeling efforts. (These are only approximate averages compiled from various sources, and may vary widely for different homes and areas.)

  • Minor kitchen remodeling: 94 to 104 percent.
  • Install central heating system: 100 to 102 percent.
  • Major kitchen remodeling: 90 to 94 percent.
  • Bath addition: 92 percent.
  • Bath remodeling: 77 to 85 percent.
  • Central air conditioning: 75 percent. (May pay lots more or less depending on region.)
  • Family room addition: 85 to 87 percent.
  • Decks: 73 to 83 percent.
  • Replace windows: 68 to 74 percent. (Depends on region.)
  • Add a home office: 55 to 65 percent.
  • Add a swimming pool: 44 percent. (Depends on region.)
  • Add landscaping: 30 to 50 percent.
  • Remodel a basement: 15 percent.

  • — Posted by Michael @ 11:04 PM


    Mr. Bianchina's remodeling return percentages are very different from those posted in the 18th annual, nation-wide survey of remodeling costs vs. returns, conducted by independent industry groups and published by Remodeling Magazine (

    Remodeling Magazine's 2004 study shows the following average returns for the 18 most commong remodeling projects:

    Kitchen, minor remodel - avg. cost: $15,273 - avg. return: 92.9%

    Kitchen, major remodel, mid-range - avg. cost: $42,660 - avg return: 79.4%

    Kitchen, major remodel, upscale - avg. cost: $75,206 - avg. return: 80.3%

    Bathroom remodel, mid-range - avg. cost: $9,861 - avg. return: 90.1%

    Bathroom remodel, upscale - avg. cost: $25,273 - avg. return: 85.6%

    Bathroom addition, mid-range - avg. cost: $21,087 - avg. return: $86.4%

    Bathroom addition, upscale - avg. cost: $41,587 - avg. return: 81.1%

    Master suite addition, mid-range - avg. cost: $70,245 - avg. return: 80.1%

    Master suite addition, upscale - avg. cost: $134,364 - avg. return: 77.6%

    Family room addition - avg. cost: $52,562 - avg. return: 80.6%

    Attic bedroom - avg. cost: $35,960 - avg. return: 82.7%

    Basement remodel - avg. cost: $47,888 - avg. return: 76.1%

    Deck addition - avg. cost: $6,917 - avg. return: 86.7%

    Sunroom addition - avg. cost: $31,063 - avg. return: 70.8%

    Window replacement, mid-range - avg. cost: $9.127 - avg. return: 84.5%

    Window replacement, upscale - Avg. cost: $15,383 - avg. return: 83.7%

    Siding replacement - avg. cost: $6,946 - avg. return: 92.8%

    Roofing replacement - avg. cost: $11,376 - avg. return: 80.8%

    Data was collected from 60 US cities by Home Tech Info Systems and analysed by two independent consulting firms. It assumes resale of the property within a year of completion of the work. Average return at resale was 80.3%.

    Remodeling is, strictly speaking, an expense, if you only consider tangible (cash or equity) returns. However, since "home" is more than a financial asset, there are actually TWO kinds of returns you might get on your money: a tangible return, which is either an increase in the equity value of the property or an increase in the sale price over what it would have been if you hadn't made the improvements -- and an intangible return, which is the pleasure you get from living in a home you love and one that suits you to a T.

    Determining whether you've won or lost on this "investment" depends a great deal upon how long you intend to stay in the home and how important it is that you can adapt your environment to your lifestyle instead of the other way around.

    You can go to and request a copy of the full report (about 10 pages), for a very small fee, to find out what the results were for the city nearest you. Results vary widely.

    I hope this helps.

    Susan Solakian

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