What are the joys — and potential payback — of remodeling?

by Timothy Inklebarger

Image provided by the National Association of Realtors

They can be time consuming, painstaking endeavors, but in the end, homeowners who undergo home improvement projects – both interior and exterior – are glad they did so in the end.
That’s according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors. NAR’s 2019 Remodeling Impact Report examined 20 individual projects and drew from surveys of thousands of Realtors and consumers to rank the appeal of various projects and determine their value in terms of functionality and resale potential.
Seventy-four percent of owners said they have a greater desire to be in their homes following a remodeling project, while 65 percent had greater enjoyment of their residences after completing a project. Seventy-seven percent had a major sense of accomplishment, 58 percent reported feeling happiness and 38 percent had a feeling of satisfaction, according to the NAR study.
“Realtors and homeowners alike recognize the value of taking on a major home remodeling project,” NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor from Edina, Minnesota, and broker at Edina Realty, said in a press release. “While these tasks can be time consuming and costly, the projects are well worth the temporary inconveniences, as this report shows, and the final products ultimately reward us, with feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and higher homes values.”
The association developed a “Joy Score” metric to gauge respondents’ overall happiness with their respective projects, with 10 being the highest possible measure.
Interior projects that got the highest scores include complete kitchen renovations and closet renovations at 10 and full interior paint jobs at 9.8. Individual room paint jobs, kitchen upgrades and basement conversions also received high Joy Scores, according to the survey.
On the exterior, the top scores went to new fiberglass front door installations at 9.7 and new vinyl windows at 9.6. Respondents also gave high scores to new roofing and wood windows, the report notes.
And brokers who are working with potential sellers can also offer advice for what pays off when it comes to resale values. The best projects for recovering cost were new roofing and hardwood floor installation and refinishing.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), which provided insight in the report, estimated that new wood flooring costs $4,700, while Realtors estimates that sellers can recover $5,000, or 106 percent of their investment. For a new roof, this calculus was a cost of $7,500 and a return of $8,000.

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