Remodeling (www.costvsvalue.com) has published their annual Cost versus Value reports for 15 years. I've been writing about the results for the last 8 years and each year I take a different perspective in looking at the data, to keep it more interesting and more relevant in terms of how you can use the information.
The report covers 35 different projects, a combination of remodeling projects and exterior renovations. The goal of the report is to help homeowners pick home improvements they can enjoy while living in their homes, and also provide a good return on their investment when selling their homes.
Far more challenging than picking a new paint color, the cost of most home improvement projects is significant so the report data provides a good tool for prioritizing your home updates, and then setting a realistic budget for your home's value, neighborhood and location.
Where the Remodeling report is based on responses from realtors, last year Houzz offered survey results from homeowners responses so we're expanding our reviews to cover these 2 sources and other related information.
Remodeling, Home Renovations or Restoration?
First, it may help to define several terms that often get used interchangeably, as the Remodeling Cost versus Value report includes both types of home improvements — remodeling and home renovations. Remodeling is often used to describe any type of change to an existing house where in reality …
- Remodeling is appropriate when you're changing the use of a space in your home, like combining the kitchen and dining room into one large, eat-in kitchen or finishing an extra bedroom in the attic.
- Renovations involve making something new again, without changing how the space is used. This could apply to updating kitchen cabinets or replacing your windows.
- Restoration is more confusing because it's the opposite of renovation. Rather than updating features of a house, you're returning the space back to its original use which most often applies to historic renovations.
Recap of Remodeling Trends Through the Years
Here's a brief summary of remodeling trends through the years. If we fall behind adding subsequent years, just search for “Cost vs Value Year like 2012”.
- Remodeling – Homeowner Priorities Changing – covers a new survey from Houzz.com. The big difference is you're able to get insight into how homeowners view their choices and priorities with respect to remodeling or renovating their homes. In priority sequence, homeowners in 2012 wanted to improve the look and feel of their space followed by making their homes more functional.
- Remodeling in 2011 – showed continued focus on spending less to update their homes due to lower home prices. Other priorities included using materials that make it easier to maintain your home, green building materials and universal design for aging in place.
- 2010 Remodeling Trends to Guide You – talks about the different types of projects included in the Cost vs Value report with an emphasis on creating more living space — by remodeling existing space, finishing space in the attic or basement, or home additions for even more living space.
- Remodeling Trends Focusing on Lower Costs (2010) – focused on lower cost projects, especially those which can lower ongoing maintenance costs like. Another trend was creating adding living space within a home's existing footprint to accommodate more family members cost effectively.
|Bonus: Insight into lower costs, showing costs for projects in 2002, 2005 and 2010.
- 2009 Remodeling Trends – were fairly consistent with earlier years with home renovations — replacement windows and replacement siding taking 7 of the top 10 spots for the highest return on investment. The 3 remodeling projects exceeding a 75% return included a wood deck addition along with minor and major kitchen remodels.
- 2008 Remodeling Cost vs Value – looked at the various options for added living space, from a return on investment perspective. Topping the list was decks followed by attic-to-bedroom conversion, basement entertainment area, two story addition, a master bedroom addition and family room addition ROIs ranging from 73.8% down to 65.9%).
- Top Remodeling Projects in 2007 – is the last time bathroom remodels had a return on investment that put them in the top half of the list. There was also more balance between renovations (6 window and siding replacement projects) and remodeling projects at the top (7 projects) — kitchen remodels, bathroom remodel, attic bedroom remodel and decks.
- Hot Remodeling Projects 2006 – seems like years ago and at the peak of the housing bubble, with the top home improvements showing returns over 80% of cost … and it's not clear we'll ever we see these again? Again 7 of the top 10 improvements from a Cost vs Value perspective were exterior renovations (siding and windows) with only 3 remodeling projects – minor kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel and a two-story addition.