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Which home renovations get the best returns? – Independent Journal of Marin

Accident! Shit ! Boom! The loud clamor shakes me out of my patio chair, where I’m trying to write this column. The dogs jump from their nap. “Did you hear that!?” their expressions beg.

“I know it sounds like 25 cars and a locomotive slamming against a block wall,” I reassure them. “But it’s just the roofers next door.”

We are reinstalling. A few minutes later, boom! We jump. This scene repeats itself throughout the morning as the hardworking roofers loosen the old clay tiles and push them in mounds into a dumpster 15 feet below. It’s not peaceful.

However, according to a report that is literally in my hands, it will be worth it. As it happens, I was writing this column about home improvements that offer the best value for money. The 2022 Renovation Impact Report, released by the National Association of Realtors, looked at the best exterior and interior improvements homeowners could make to recoup most, all, or more of their money. The researchers surveyed renovators to find average project costs and real estate agents to find out how much each improvement would add to the home’s resale value.

At the top of the list of exterior projects, offering a 100% return on investment: a new roof.

It’s a small consolation for my neighbor who keeps apologizing for the inconvenience, especially the roofer’s construction truck blocking our entrance.

“Don’t worry about it,” I assured him, shouting over the commotion. “I’ll take you back. »

“I dreaded it, but I had no idea it would be so serious,” she said.

“What? I can’t hear you!”

“I’m so sorry! It’s a nightmare,” she yelled.

“You’ll be happy,” I assured him, and I meant it.

“Why is a new roof top of the list?” I asked Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR and one of the report’s authors. “I mean, nobody drives up to your house and says, ‘I like your roof. “”

“Homebuyers know replacing a roof is expensive, messy, noisy, filthy and miserable work, so they will pay for it,” she says.

Another good bet is a new garage door, which can increase curb appeal, improve insulation and also make your entire investment pay off.

When it comes to interior upgrades, first place goes to hardwood floors. Refurbishing the ones you have gets you an average of 147% of the cost, while installing new wood floors yields an average return of 118%. While a decidedly unsexy improvement, new insulation offers an average of 100% efficiency, in addition to energy savings.

If you’re looking for more to do, finishing an attic or basement can yield a return of 75% to 86%, respectively, while kitchen renovations ─ the selfish reason I was interested in this report, so I can secretly build a case to convince my husband ─ returned between 67% for a modest upgrade (new counters, new appliances, refreshed cabinet fronts) and 75% for a complete renovation (new layout, new cabinets, island added, plus the above).

Meanwhile, Groundworks, a basement remodeling company with offices across the country, reported that a modest kitchen remodel delivered an 81% return. I go with that.

Although the NAR report did not look at lower cost projects, these can be very profitable. New landscaping, good lawn care, and a freshly painted front door can increase the selling price of a home far beyond the cost of the effort. Depending on color, which means doing nothing crazy, painting the inside of your home can yield a return of 107%, according to Groundworks, which is likely why 63% of real estate agents recommend their sellers paint their interior walls. , adds Lautz.

Of course, real life is not just about a single survey and simple calculations. To get more out of your home than you invest in it, you need to make the right renovations on the right home, in the right place, at the right time. Here’s what to consider before breaking out the jackhammer:

Need. Any value added by your home renovation depends on whether or not you need to complete the project. Now, I know that your definition of necessary and your partner’s may differ. But, in general, upgrades add value when they upgrade old, worn, and outdated materials, or improve livability. So if you’re tearing up a new kitchen and installing another, you probably won’t gain much.

To taste. The value you add assumes that what you are doing is better than before and that others agree. Again, your idea of ​​looks better and someone else’s may vary. Consult magazines, homes in your area, a designer or a real estate agent if you are unsure. In general, don’t be too weird.

Piece. What adds value to a home in one part of the country may be sunk money in another. Ask a real estate agent who knows your area if the market will support the improvement you are considering.

Age and condition. The NAR report was based on homes in good condition built after 1981. Older homes are more likely to have hidden problems hidden behind the walls and cost more to remodel because homeowners will have to bring them up to current building codes. In other words, putting a sparkling new bathroom in a rundown house is like putting a bow on a donkey.

Joy factor. Because home improvement isn’t just about the money (is it?), the NAR report also calculated the joy factor, which tended to be 10 out of 10 for most projects. While you may not get back everything you invested financially, don’t overlook the value of enjoying the improvement yourself.

Accident! Shit ! Boom! It looks like money to me.

Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books including “What to Do With Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want”, “Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go” and “Downsizing the Blended Home – When Two Homes Become One. You can join her at