Should you modernize your outdated kitchen—or install that beautiful, new hardwood flooring? Is it wiser to convert the basement or the attic into an additional living area? Or should you forgo the more glamorous jobs in favor of replacing the boring—but temperamental—heating and cooling system?
Homeowners want to ensure they’ll enjoy the finished product—and it will add to the resale value—before undergoing a costly and time-consuming remodel. Hey, waking up to the sound of buzz saws and workers tramping through your home for months on end isn’t fun.
Those who are looking for a two-in-one should probably do a full remodel or at least upgrade the kitchen, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors®. A sleek kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances is most likely of any interior home improvement project to appeal to buyers and increase the value of a home, according to the report.
“Homeowners were both happy and satisfied with the outcome of their” kitchen renovations, says Brandi Snowden, director of consumer research at NAR. “A kitchen renovation is a great way for new owners to customize their home and incorporate their personal tastes into a room that they will use every day.”
The report is based on three surveys. The first is a survey of nearly 2,200 consumers in June and July done by homeownership site HouseLogic. NAR did the second and third surveys. The second survey garnered nearly 400 responses and was conducted in March and June. The third had nearly 2,500 responses and was held in July.
To simply upgrade or do a full kitchen remodel?
When it comes to kitchens, homeowners who replaced worn-out surfaces and installed new finishes and materials were the happiest of the remodelers. About 93% of those who did complete remodels and 85% of folks who upgraded just the room wanted to spend more time in their home once the work was finished.
But a new kitchen won’t come cheap. NAR estimates folks will shell out an estimated $68,000 on a full remodel. But they should expect to recoup only $40,000, or 59%, of their investment. Meanwhile, those who simply upgrade a space spend an estimated $38,300 on the job—and get back only about $20,000, or 52%, in the resale value.
Meanwhile, renovating that other home staple, the bathroom, sets homeowners back an estimated $35,000. Of that they’re typically able to recover about 57% of their investment. But those adding a new bathroom to the tune of $60,000 can expect to get only half that amount back.
Master suite renovations were the costliest of the renovations, totaling an estimated $150,000, but still were popular. About two-thirds of homeowners said they enjoyed their home more and had a greater desire to spend more time there after it was finished. But folks can expect to recoup only about half of what they sunk into the project, $75,000, at resale.
And when it comes to the debate over whether to finish an attic or basement, it’s cheaper and more profitable to go underground. Converting a basement to a living area cost an estimated $46,900 and upped a home’s value by 64%. Attic work was much pricier, at $80,000, and added only a 56% bump.
The most unglamorous work was the most lucrative
The most lucrative improvement homeowners can make is putting in a new roof, according to the report. Those who spent an estimated $7,500 on that essential upgrade got back $8,000, or 107%, in resale value.
New wood flooring, which was a bit more exciting, also led to profits. It was estimated to cost about $4,700 but added $5,000 to the price of a home. That’s a 103% return. Those who refinished hardwood floors, at the cost of $2,600, broke even.
“While installing new roofing, hardwood flooring, or refinishing hard wood floors are large projects to tackle, we found that these were the top projects for recovering costs,” says Snowden, who adds that they’re durable and long-lasting.
Homeowners shouldn’t overlook the smaller, cheaper jobs either.
Upgrading a home’s insulation cost only an estimated $2,400. But homeowners were able to recoup about $2,000, or 83%, of what they laid out. Meanwhile, installing a new garage door cost an estimated $2,100—of which the homeowners got back about 95% in a sale.
“Homeowners are able to recoup the majority of the project cost, create a more comfortable interior living space,” says Snowden. And it “improves the energy efficiency of their home.”