According to the 2011-12 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, there isn’t a single mid-range project that will give you a dollar for dollar return on your investment. However, the following five projects are considered the best for improving home values when you have a contractor do the improvement for you:
1. Entry door replacement. With a 73.0 percent return on your investment, replacing your current entry door with a steel door is the most profitable project you can pursue. The job will cost you only $1,238 to complete on average, yielding a $903 increase in your home’s value. Do the job yourself and you can come out ahead by a few hundred dollars.
2. Attic bedroom. Everyone desires more room in their house, but even converting an attic into a new bedroom will cost you at least $50,000 to complete. You’ll see a return of just over $36,000, meaning you’ll be out nearly $14,000 unless you handle some of the work yourself. Still, with a 72.5 percent return on investment, an attic bedroom project comes in ahead of many other jobs.
3. Minor kitchen remodel. Spend nearly $20,000 on your kitchen and it is considered a minor remodel. Pour $57,000 into your kitchen and it is a major overhaul. Still, with new counters, cabinets, flooring and lighting, the money adds up for this project that offers a 72.1 percent return on investment compared to the 65.7 percent ROI for the major kitchen project.
4. Garage door replacement. Another low-cost job is a garage door replacement, yielding a 71.9 percent return on a project costing just $1,512. Of course, we’re talking a basic garage door here, not the carriage garage door that can easily top $6,000. Still, a basic electronically-operated door can be had for the price listed and look great on your home.
5. Deck addition. A composite deck addition might set you back by $15,000, while a wood deck can cost about $5,000 less. Choose the wood if your want the best bang for your buck, a decision that should yield a 70.1 percent return on your investment.
Clearly, if you want to increase your home’s value, choose a project that offers the best bang for the buck. If you can do the job yourself, you stand to actually come out ahead on the job as labor costs are removed from the project’s expense.
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