Remodels: Best Return

Excerpts from article in San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, April 2, 2003 by Trif Alatzas — Baltimore Sun

...Appraising experts said home-owners can expect their best return from investing in kitchens, bathrooms, basements and additions.

Almost everything else — landscaping, fireplaces, gutters, pools — is considered an amenity and won't likely add instant value to the house unless a buyer is looking for such items.

The best returns are in the bathroom, where money spent on additions and renovations is likely to increase values the most, according to Remodeling Magazine.

The magazine puts the best national return on a mid-range bathroom addition costing $15,058, estimating that it would earn about 94 percent back in a resale. A major kitchen remodeling that cost $70,368 would earn about 80 percent in a resale, the magazine said.

"It's the best remodeling market that there has ever been," said Walt Stoeppelwerth, publisher and partner of Hometech Information Systms Inc., a Bethesda, Md., software company that studies contractor costs and helped perform the market analysis for the magazine...

Remember the Three P's of Kitchen Remodels

Patience, preparedness and planning will pay off in a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. A kitchen remodel, like most remodels, usually takes longer than estimated. This is not always the contractor's fault. A late shipment of supplies to the contractor (or the home-owner), the wrong materials delivered (or chosen by the home-owner), an injury on the job — these are just a few of the things that can delay a remodel. Always plan for it to take longer than estimated.
  2. Plan to have extra money on hand. Remodels usually cost more than you budget, especially kitchen remodels. It's not unusual for the final cost to be 15 percent to 20 percent more than budgeted.
  3. Often this is because of unforeseen problems, but it is also because many people decide that they want better appliances or cabinets during the process than they budgeted for.
  4. Workers will usually get to your home very early. They're used to starting at 7 a.m. or even earlier if they can work inside. Plan on getting up each day much earlier than usual so you can be ready for them.
  5. Don't try to hurry workers near the end of the job. That's when the finishing touches are put on, the things that you and others will see.