Does Remodeling Pay Off? It Depends.
The “Cost vs. Value Report,” published each year by Remodeling Magazine, gives those contemplating a remodeling project a city-by-city guide on what various projects will pay back at resale. This year’s report features data for a new project—a mid-range home office remodel.
If some remodeling job cost figures appear too high or too low, one cause is the leveling effect of averaging. The demand for—and cost of—remodeling services can vary greatly within a given metro area.
Averaging also affects the value side of the equation. The amount recouped for an actual remodeling project depends on the condition of the rest of the house, as well as the value of similar homes nearby, the availability of new homes, and the rate at which property values are changing. Location in an urban, suburban, or rural setting will also affect a home’s value.
In some cases, the value of the remodeling project at resale is more than 100 percent of its original cost. This usually happens in markets where property values are rising very rapidly, but it can also occur when buyers regard certain types of remodeling projects as “standard.”
For example, in a neighborhood where most homes have an updated kitchen, remodeling a kitchen may well increase the resale value of the home beyond the cost of construction. In some cases, in fact, not redoing the kitchen could cause the home to sit on the market for much longer than normal and to eventually sell for less than similar homes in the area.
Since 2002, four projects have shown the greatest return at resale on a national basis. Two of the projects, siding and windows, reflect the importance consumers place on curb appeal and insulation; the others, a kitchen and a bath project, are consistently high performers in most markets.