The 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report came out recently. I honestly have trouble figuring out who sponsors and pays for this annual report, but it’s always an interesting read as it offers a rough guide on which remodeling projects deliver the highest return.
I also like the report’s methodology: The data collected comes from real estate agents, brokers and appraisers who were asked to estimate the resale value of homes that had certain remodeling projects completed. They also factor in how a project’s cost can vary by region.
The last time I looked at a Remodeling Cost vs Value Report a few years ago, it seemed like nearly all the projects would not immediately pay off; the best you could hope for was an added value to your home that equaled the cost of what you put into it. So I was pleasantly surprised this time to find that a number of projects could make the home worth more than what they cost to do. It was also nice to see some of the most profitable projects were relatively small cosmetic ones.
Hands-down, according to the report, a modest kitchen remodel offers the most bang for your buck. The report estimates a 129 percent return on this project. Specs are as follows:
Leave cabinet boxes in place but replace fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware.
Replace wall oven and cook top with new energy-efficient models.
Replace laminate countertops, install midpriced sink and faucet.
Repaint trim, add wall covering and remove and replace resilient flooring.
Of course, your level of replacement materials will vary according to neighborhood. An entry-level home in a neighborhood like Cayuga Terrace or the Excelsior can probably get away with snazzy new laminate countertops and high quality durable vinyl flooring, while Presidio Heights would warrant something more along the lines of granite and tile. Either way, I recommend you go with stainless steel when choosing new appliances. They elevate the style of a kitchen and buyers really go for them.
Most of the remaining higher-yield project focus on curb appeal -- New front doors, garage doors and windows offer returns of anywhere from 108 percent to 130 percent.
A copy of the report can be downloaded, but you will have to give the site your contact information first. If that bothers you, you can also just email me for a copy. I have it saved and can easily fire it off to you as an attachment.
Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners-- and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett's 'City by the Bay.' Call 415-577-0809 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ceceblase.com