How We Did: Returns in Remodeling Projects for 2009-2010

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ November 12, 2010

As the year enters the home stretch, it's a good opportunity to look at mid-range home improvement projects from last year and which ones brought in a good return on homeowners' investments. It's been a rough year for many a homeowner, but it hasn't stopped some owners from performing small-scale room additions, modifications, and other improvements. Overall, it seems it was a better year for home improvement and remodeling than in putting your home on the market. People took small steps.

According to Remodeling Magazine, some of the more rewarding mid-range home improvements 2009-2010 included putting in an attic bedroom, installing a backup generator, remodeling the basement, replacing roofing, and installing a new entry door. We'll see how 2010-2011 turns out in a few months and whether these projects kept performing.

Looking at Last Year's Numbers

Room additions weren't altogether risky, but the return on investment did better in terms of the extremities of the home: attic conversions and basement remodeling.

Remodeling Magazine evaluated the return on costs for tasks to: "convert unfinished attic space to a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and a 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower. Include a 15-foot shed dormer, four new windows, and closet space under the eaves. Insulate and finish ceiling and walls. Carpet floor. Extend existing HVAC to new space; provide electrical wiring and lighting to code. Retain existing stairs, but add rail and baluster around stairwell.

The attic conversion cost $49,346, added $40,992 in resale value, for a net return of 83.1%.

The basement remodeling included tasks to: "Finish the lower level of a house to create a 20-by-30-foot entertaining area with wet bar and a 5-by-8-foot full bathroom; construct 24 linear feet of finished partition to enclose mechanical area. Walls and ceilings are painted drywall throughout; exterior walls are insulated; painted trim throughout. Include five six-panel factory-painted hardboard doors with passage locksets. Electrical wiring to code."

The basement remodeling cost $62,067, added $46,825 in resale value, for a net return of 75.4%.

Smaller Projects and ROI

According to the magazine, installing a backup power generator cost $14,304, added $8,428 in resale value, for a net return of 58.9%.

Entry door replacements varied by choice in material. For a new fiberglass door, installation costs totaled $3,490, increasing resale value by $2,275, for a net return of 65.2%. Consumers recouped more from installing less expensive steel entry doors, spending $1,172, increasing value by $1,470, for a net return of 128.9%.

I'm looking forward to see how we all did in 2010. Keep your fingers crossed.

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