Cost vs. Value: small but more obvious home projects recoup most

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 at 11:20am.

Sticking with the national trend, homeowners in the Denver area will recoup more of their costs for smaller replacement or remodeling projects – especially those that improve curb appeal – than for bigger, less-noticeable projects, according to the 2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report.

Produced by Remodeling magazine in cooperation with the National Association of REALTORS® and REALTOR® Magazine, the report provides estimated cost for 36 midrange or upscale home-improvement projects with the percentage of cost that owners can expect to recoup when they sell.

In Denver, midrange home owners will get the most bang for their buck by replacing their entry door with a steel door – a 96.6 percent return on investment (ROI) – or adding a wood deck, with an 87.4 percent ROI. They are likely to get less than 50 percent ROI on a home office remodel, and less than 52 percent ROI with a sunroom addition.

For Denver’s upscale home owners, the best investment is a fiber-cement siding replacement, with an 87 percent ROI, or a garage door replacement, with about an 83 percent ROI. But they are likely to recoup less than 60 percent on a garage addition and even less on a master suite addition.

Across the Mountain region, which includes Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho and Montana, midrange homes can expect to recoup the most – 88 percent – on an entry door replacement. But the region bucks the trend with some of the highest returns – 83 percent, 81 percent and 81 percent, respectively – on an attic bedroom remodel, a basement remodel and a wood deck addition.

The lowest ROI projects for a midrange home in the Mountain region include a sunroom addition – 48 percent; a home office remodel, 47 percent; and a backup power generator, 55 percent.

The Mountain region’s owners of upscale home will likely recoup 93 percent of their cost for replacing their siding with a fiber siding, and 83 percent of their cost of a foam-backed vinyl siding or a garage door replacement. However, they will likely see only a 58 percent ROI for a garage addition and 57 percent for a master suite addition.

Here is a look at the trends outline in the report:

  • Simpler, lower-cost projects tend to return greater value. The national average cost for a steel door replacement – the least expensive project on the list – was $1,230, for example, and returns 101.8 percent nationally on average. Other projects expected to top 100 percent payback in multiple markets: the midrange garage door replacement, the upscale garage door replacement, the midrange wood window replacement and the minor kitchen remodel. With the exception of the kitchen job, they’re all replacement projects. In general, replacements cost less and provide a bigger payback than remodels or additions.
  •  First impressions are important. The replacements that offer the greatest payback are the ones that are most obvious to buyers when they first view a house in person or online, such as a new door or garage door. Siding replacement also provides great value at resale – particularly this year’s one new project, manufactured stone veneer, which is expected to recoup 92.2 percent of its cost nationally on average.
  •  Kitchens still offer the most remodeling bang for the buck. The only remodeling job breaking into the top 10 in terms of payback is the minor kitchen remodel with a national average cost of $19,226 and a national average payback of 79.3 percent.

 Top 5 projects nationally in terms of cost recouped:

  1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)
  2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%) 
  3. Garage door replacement (88.5%)
  4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)
  5. Garage door replacement (82.5%)

Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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