Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 13, 2015

Which home improvements are worth it?

Realtor Association President's Message

Travis Close

Deciding to take on a home improvement project can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to choose a project that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Reaching out to a Realtor might be just the place to start. Realtors know what features will be most attractive to potential buyers.

In addition to on-the-job insight, Realtors from across the country have rated home improvement projects that will not only add value to your home but will also recoup most of their costs upon resale. These ratings make up the Cost vs. Value Report, which is published by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC, and is done in collaboration with the National Association of Realtors.

The report’s findings help owners decide whether a project is worth the time and financial investments. This year’s report found that smaller, exterior projects frequently offer the highest return on investment.

Curb appeal has always been important, so it makes sense that the top five remodeling projects from the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report that give the highest return on investment are all smaller, exterior improvements:

Steel entry doors: For the second year in a row, Realtors have selected the steel entry door the No. 1 home improvement project when it comes to seeing a return on your investment. It’s also consistently the least expensive project in the report, costing about $1,200 on average. A steel entry door is also the only project on this year’s list to recoup more than 100 percent of its cost at resale on a national level.

Manufactured stone veneer: This decorative building material is made to replicate the look of natural stone for a substantially lower price. This is the first year manufactured stone veneer has appeared in the Cost vs. Value report. On average, the project will cost around $7,150 and will recoup 92.2 percent of your investment.

Garage door replacement: Upgrading your garage door can update the entire exterior of your home, not to mention enhance curb appeal. The garage door is one of the first things a potential buyer will see. It is part of the first impression buyers will get of your home, so it’s important that it looks its best. A midrange steel garage door averages $1,595 and will recoup 88.4 percent of your investment.

Fiber-cement siding: This high-end siding is resistant to termites, rot, moisture, and fire. It’s also incredibly stable and does not flex, meaning you’ll save money on less frequent repainting. This project will average you $14,014, and you can expect a return on investment of 84.3 percent.

Wood deck addition: An outdoor entertaining space is a large draw for many buyers. A deck provides a large amount of living area and at $30 per square foot it is a fraction of the cost of an indoor addition. The average cost for this project is $10,048 and recovers 80.5 percent of your investment.

Before taking on any of these projects, remember that all real estate is local. Every neighborhood is unique, and the popularity and resale value of a specific remodeling project varies from community to community. This is why it’s important to work with a Realtor. We have unparalleled knowledge of local market conditions, and can help you decide which projects will deliver the most return on investment in your area.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.