KNOW WHICH UPDATES WILL PAY OFF THE MOST
1. High-end siding replacement - It might not be as sexy as a new kitchen or bathroom remodel, yet a large-scale siding project - replacing at least 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new fiber cement siding, and including 4/4 and 5/4 trim using either fiber-cement boards or PVC lumber returned 103 percent of its average $10,393 cost. Siding is most popular in the East, fetching 115 percent of its cost. A more budget -conscious vinyl-siding replacement including trim returned 95.5 percent of its cost.
2. Midrange bathroom upgra de -Updating an existing 5-foot-by-7 -foot bathroom - with a porcelain-on-steel tub and 4-by-4 ceramic tile surround, new single-lever shower control, standard white toilet, solid-surface vanity counter with integral double sink, recessed medicine cabinet with light, ceramic tile floor and vinyl wallpaper - returned 102.2 percent of its $10,499 average cost. Such a project returned 112 percent in the West; 103.3 percent in the South.
3. Minor kitchen remodel - Kitchens remain the heart and soul of a home, and usually are the focal point of most homebuyers. Kitchens also suffer the most wear and tear in a home, and more quickly than other rooms fall behind changing style and color trends. A minor remodel of a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinets and counters including cabinet resurfacing and new, raised panel doors and drawer faces, a new oven and cook top, mid-priced sink and faucet, and new resilient flooring - returned 98.5 percent of its $14,913 price tag. A midrange job with new cabinets, a small island and additional appliances and lighting costs an average of $43,862, returning 91 percent of that total.
4. Attic bedroom addition - Homeowners who created a third or fourth bedroom from unfinished attic space - typically a 225 square-foot room with a 5-foot -by-7 -foot bathroom and shower - paid an average of $39,188 for the project, which returned 93.5 percent of that cost at resale. Bottom line: Consider a project that creates something from nothing, such as the addition of valuable square footage.
5. Deck addition - Decks expand your living space at a fraction of typical construction costs. They let homeowners cook, entertain and enjoy the great outdoors, right outside their sliding-glass door. Adding a 16-foot-by20-foot deck using pressure-treated lumber joists supported by 4-by-4 posts set into concrete footings returned 90 percent of an $11,294 price tag. Similar decks on average returned 99.5 percent in the West.
6. Window replacement - Greater home efficiency is nearly always a good investment, paying off in lower energy bills and greater comfort long before you sell. A typical project - replacing 10 3-foot -by-5-foot, double-hung windows with new double-glazed windows clad in vinyl or aluminum - returned 89.6 percent of its $9,684 sticker.
REMEMBER: ALWAYS MAKE IMPROVING YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE THE TOP PRIORITY OF ANY RENOVATION PROJECT