Remodeling a home is a big investment of money, time and emotional commitment. By planning your remodeling project, you are more likely to enjoy the results and recoup a large percentage of your investment when you sell your home. Most homeowners will start planning a bathroom remodel or similar project by collecting ideas from magazines, websites, etc. That's great but how do you know if you're investing in the right project? Spending the right amount on the project?
That's where tools like the annual Remodeling: Cost vs Value report from Remodeling Magazine can help. Home professionals like realtors and home appraisers can also give you input on the market value of your home after completing the remodeling project you're planning.
With one major renovation project, inviting a home appraiser to review the property before buying the house proved invaluable. The back deck extending the length of the home had been converted to a 3-season room which needed to be rebuilt. The plan was to turn the sun room into a year round family room and open the kitchen up to the room. The home appraiser quickly explained why this was a bad idea.
The home appraiser knew that a three bedroom home in this location, with it's target price needed to have a deck so converting the deck to a family room would require building another deck. The appraiser also knew a family room for this size home, approximately 1800 square feet, didn't need a family room. Imagine my surprise when the home appraiser recommended taking down 2 walls to create an open concept kitchen/dining room that could also serve as a family room.
Remodeling Cost vs Value
There are many types of remodeling projects for a homeowner to invest in to improve the livability of a home. Using the 33 projects surveyed for the 2010 Remodeling Cost vs Value report, they can be grouped into 4 different
- Replacement projects include replacing existing home features with newer materials or technology, i.e. your windows, exterior doors, your home's siding or a new roof.
- Remodeling most often refers to updating a room in your home, with the most common are bathroom remodels and remodeling a kitchen.
- Finishing existing space to create new living space is one of the best home remodeling projects. Remodeling the basement or finishing the attic to add a bedroom expand your family's living space and enhance your lifestyle.
- Home additions, most recognizable by the need for new roofing, are the most costly type of home remodeling project.
Remodeling Trends in 2010
It's no surprise that today's hot remodeling projects are different than those popular just a few years ago. With declining home prices, homeowners are much more focused on spending less to improve their homes. At the same time, homeowners find that remodeling their home offers a cost effective alternative to moving. While home additions haven't made the top 10 remodeling list for years, in 2010 the attic bedroom topped the list giving many homeowners the added living space for extended family members.
So let's explore 2010's top remodeling trends and how they can help you plan your bathroom remodel or other home makeover. If you'd like to explore the survey data, you can read Remodeling Trends Focusing on Lower Costs, which includes a table showing project costs and cost value ratios from 2002 to 2010.
- Exterior replacement projects provide the best payback. Many remodeling projects are optional but maintenance isn't. When your home has wood rot or it’s time to paint your home to prevent wood rot, it’s the perfect time to consider replacing high maintenance items like windows and siding with low maintenance alternatives like vinyl siding or aluminum clad windows. Federal energy tax credits available through year end 2010 plus the ongoing energy savings (heating and cooling) provided added incentives for these projects in 2010.
- Creating more living space from unfinished space was a popular strategy. By finishing existing space, i.e. the attic bedroom or a basement remodel, homeowners got the benefit of lower square foot costs versus additions. Families in the past would have moved for extra bedrooms but now they're able to add this space for new family members including babies, children moving back home, maybe an elderly parent who can't live independently and many homes are being stretched to accommodate extended family members unable to afford independent housing.
- Cost conscious homeowners are picking less costly remodeling projects. When homeowners scale back their bathroom remodeling projects or use lower cost materials, they can anticipate higher returns when selling their homes. The kitchen cost value percentages tell the story with minor kitchen remodels expected to recoup 78% of initial cost, major kitchen remodels 72% and upscale kitchen remodels only 63%.
Remodeling Tips for You
With all this information it's sometimes difficult to sort through your options, so here are planning tips to point you in the right direction. They're a guide as every situation is unique and you'll also want to consider how long you plan to stay in your home when planning a home remodeling project.
- Home maintenance is important and should not be deferred. When you need a new roof, get it done as delays can add costly repairs for a roof leak that damages interior space.
- Next you'll want to focus on your family's lifestyle and the activities that home remodeling can enhance, i.e. a kitchen with space for the kids to do their homework or a garage that includes a gardening center so you can grow food.
- When you buy a home they say it's all about location, location, location. When remodeling a home it's all about planning, planning and planning. Even if you're going to implement your kitchen remodel in stages, plan the entire project first so you know how all the pieces will fit together.
- Take time to verify you're spending the right amount … on the right project for your home and your location. The latest Remodeling Cost vs Value report is a good place to start and the 2010 report includes cost data for 9 US regions. Reviewing your remodeling plans with a real estate professional or home appraiser (home inspector for replacement projects) is also a good idea.