The COVID-19 pandemic revolutionized how we think about home remodeling. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements in Cobb County meant a lot of home remodeling took place in 2020. That momentum is likely to carry through 2021.
While improving our home spaces is important, it is prudent to keep an eye on the things a future buyer might find important. Think about how the renovation project will improve your home’s appeal. You have to strike a balance between doing something you adore and something most buyers will like. It may help if you get a friend or relative to give a second opinion and confirm you are not choosing anything too unique or drastic.
That being said, remodeling projects are not created equal in their ability to recoup the cost. Also, rate of return is not necessarily commensurate with how much you spend. A small renovation task may yield a substantial return when it is time to sell.
If you are contemplating remodeling your home this year, I want to share the remodeling projects that yield the highest return. The data is from Zonda Media’s Cost vs Value Report 2021.
1. Manufactured Stone Veneer
If you love the look of cozy stone fireplaces or stone exterior facades, then I have some good news. Installing a manufactured stone veneer recoups 94% of the cost when you sell the home. Manufactured stone veneer has nearly all the texture and heft of natural stone. It lends your home’s exterior an unforgettable style and curb appeal. When installed correctly, manufactured stone veneer is durable and requires minimal maintenance.
Remove a continuous band of vinyl siding from the bottom third of your existing street-facing façade. Replace this with manufactured stone veneer. Installation of the stone veneer should include two distinct layers of water-resistant barrier.
2. Garage Door Replacement
A garage door replacement is one of the least expensive projects you can do for a home remodel. Yet, it delivers one of the best returns–92%. If you think about it, this is not entirely surprising. A garage door can completely transform the look of your home and sharply increase its curb appeal. So if you have been procrastinating on getting rid of that squeaking, shaking or uneven garage door, its impact on the resale value should be the incentive you finally need to get it done.
Remove and dispose of your current garage door. Install a new four-section, high-tensile-strength garage door on galvanized steel tracks. You can reuse the existing motorized opener. Make sure the new door has a lifetime warranty.
3. Minor Kitchen Remodel – Midrange
Few spaces in the home are as influential on home buying decisions than the kitchen. If your kitchen does not pass muster, there is hardly any other improvement you can do elsewhere on the property that will matter. Making changes to your kitchen design increases resale value. It updates your home while making your kitchen a more compelling, functional epicenter. A midrange minor kitchen remodel recoups 72% of its cost when you sell the home.
So how do you do it? Well, leave cabinet boxes as they are but replace the fronts with new drawer fronts and shaker wood panels. Replace the oven range or cooktop as well as the slide-in refrigerator with newer more energy-efficient models. Install a mid-range faucet and sink. Add new flooring and finish with painted ceiling, walls and trim.
4. Window Replacement – Wood
The days when a homeowner’s primary interest in their windows was if they could find appropriate covers for the glass are well behind us. Today, buyers will factor windows when evaluating whether a property is a good buy. New windows can brighten your home, conserve energy and enhance your décor. Installing new wooden windows recoups 67.6% of the amount spent. Wood offers excellent insulation value. On the downside, it has higher maintenance costs and may not be the best choice in extremely rainy or humid weather.
Replace your existing windows with insulated, simulated-divided-light windows. Have the exterior finish as aluminum cladding in custom-color while the interior finish is stained hardwood. Do not tamper with the existing interior trim but trim the exterior to match the current trim.
5. Window Replacement – Vinyl
At 65.5%, vinyl window replacement has nearly the same rate of return as wood windows. Vinyl is less expensive than wood but that does not mean you have to settle for something tacky. A well-built and properly installed vinyl window can be the most budget-friendly choice. At the same time, it offers impressive energy efficiency through its tight construction and insulated glass minimizing air leakage. Unfortunately, your choice of color for vinyl windows may be limited.
Replace your current windows with insulated, simulated-divided-light vinyl windows done with a custom exterior finish. Do not tamper with the existing interior trim but trim the exterior to match the current trim.
6. Deck Addition – Wood
Decks have replaced front porches and patios as the center of social activity in American suburbia. They are elevated to catch the breeze while facilitating convenient conversation between neighbors. Big enough for a grill and a table, decks are versatile. A house with a deck will catch buyer attention. Adding a wood deck will recoup 63.4% of the cost when you sell the home.
Add a wood deck using pressure-treated joists. The joists would be supported by posts anchored on concrete piers. Install pressure-treated deck boards in a linear pattern. Include built-in bench, planter and stairs. Fit a railing system using wood posts, balusters and railings.
7. Deck Addition – Composite
Building or remodeling a deck can be deeply satisfying. A deck creates an outdoor living space you can use to entertain or relax. Deck additions are often either wood or composite. Composite decks are more expensive. Nevertheless, the 61.8% return is just marginally lower than that for wood decks.
Just like a wood deck, add a composite deck using pressure-treated joists. The joists should be supported by posts anchored on concrete piers. Install pressure-treated composite deck material in a linear pattern. Include built-in bench, planter and stairs. Provide a complete railing using the same composite material.
Do not just focus on rate of return or design trends alone. Evaluate your budget as well. Ensure the changes you intend to make are consistent with how much you are ready to spend. You cannot rely on resale value alone to fund a remodeling project.
Avoid taking up unsustainable debt that affects your credit and deteriorates your financial health. It may be better to postpone the project until you have accumulated sufficient savings to spend on what you want. Alternatively, you could explore ways to reduce costs in a way that allows you to accommodate the cost of the project.