23 April 2010

Poll; Cost vs. Value of Home Improvement


My website ModernSouthFlorida has a sister site in German called ModerneArchitekturFlorida. Last week, I completed the re-design of that site.

Which one do you prefer? Please take 80 seconds, take a peek at both sites and then vote please – see poll in the left sidebar. The content is identical, so reading German is not really necessary. Hearing your opinion would be great, thank you so much (and please don't let me hang out there without any votes!).


(Thumbnails should link to sites, but if not please use the URLs)


Nearly all of my buying clients have remodeling needs of some sort or the other. And nearly always, the discussion starts before we even enter a house. Interesting is that most laypeople – me included – are pretty terrible estimating remodeling cost, and are hopelessly in the dark on how much value a specific project will add to the market value of the house. 

There’s help for both situations.

For estimating rehab-, renovation- and repair-costs, I compiled a handy little spreadsheet that I update annually. It lists approximate costs for ca. 60 to 80 projects, from replacing a light switch to replacing complete roofs per square of different materials.

Much more interesting: To quantify how much return a home remodeling project generates in resale value, the trade publication Realtor© Magazine in conjunction with Remodeling Magazine publish a yearly Cost vs. Value-report. The 2009-2010 issue – the 22nd annual – lists costs and resale values for 33 popular remodeling projects.

National and regional data are posted on costvsvalue.com. Under threat of sending my family into slavery, I am not allowed to post the Miami tables here, but individual MSA data (in Florida for Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa and Orlando) are available for downloading after free registration.

The top five projects in resale value in the South Atlantic region:

Project Cost Resale Value Recouped
Entry Door Repl (steel) $1,065 $1,562 146.80%
Attic Bedroom remodel $43,540 $39,171 90.00%
Deck Addition $9,505 $7,589 79.80%
Siding (vinyl) $9,562 $7,698 80.50%
Minor Kitchen Remodel $20,504 $15,923 77.70%

And the five biggest loosers:       

Project Cost Resale value Recouped
Home Office Remodel $26,794 $12,754 47.60%
Sunroom Addition $68,362 $37,805 55.30%
Backup Power Generator $13,215 $7,909 59.90%
Bathroom Addition $34,876 $21,692 62.20%
Garage Addition $53,307 $35,132 65.90%

Without revealing deep secrets, I can say that there is some difference between the Miami and South Atlantic data:

Projects certain to loose money in the greater Miami area: a home office remodel (40% return on the cost), a sunroom addition (63%), a garage addition (65%) and a fiberglass entry-door (69%).

If you want 100% or more return on your investment in Southeast Florida, you have only two projects to choose from: a steel entry-door replacement and an attic bedroom remodel. Who would have thought? 

Other projects will increase the resale value of your home, but don’t expect to get 100% of your money back. But then, you probably enjoyed your new kitchen and new baths while you lived in the house anyway.

Dubious: Basement Remodels are also listed as high return-project among the Miami data. Would the two Floridians who have basements please contact me?

CostvsValue data ©2009 Hanley Wood, LLC. Reproduced by permission. Complete city data from the Remodeling 2009–10. Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.

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