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Dean's Blog

By Dean | Other/Just Looking in Oakland, CA

Top 5 Remodels with the Biggest Pay-Off

When it comes to remodeling projects, it’s easier to figure out what you’d like to do to improve your digs than it is to determine what will be the best investment in the long run. Remodeling Magazine took a little of the guesswork out of the equation with their 2009-2010 report comparing remodeling project costs with their resale value.

While many homeowners might assume that projects like kitchen renovations, additions and basement finishes would top the list for cost recouping, the report found that they recoup only 72%, 65% and 75% of their project costs, respectively. Replacing the front entry door, however, topped the list at 130%. Here are the other big winners:

Attic Bedroom Projects, 83%

Not every homeowner has an attic, but for the lucky ones that do, this could be a great place to begin improving the home. By converting attic space into living space, you’ve taken an area of the house that would otherwise be a source of heat loss or simply wasted space, and turned it into something useful.

A bedroom in the attic can give the kids separate rooms, guests a place to stay or even mom a craft room or dad a study. New living spaces that don’t require an addition are the savviest way to go.

Wooden Deck Addition, 80% 

Nothing’s better on a hot summer’s day than sitting outside on your rich and warm wooden deck. There’s just something so charming about a wood deck—they’re great for extending your living space into the outdoors, as well as providing wonderful areas for entertaining during fair-weather months. And best of all, the ROI here is a whopping 80%.

Vinyl Siding Replacement, 80%

Replacing your vinyl siding may not be a very sexy project, but it sure does wonders for your home’s curb appeal. Additionally, new vinyl siding can help reduce energy costs and protect your structure from damage due to moisture, insects or other unwelcome visitors that could be creeping into your old siding.

Minor Kitchen Renovation, 78%

Kitchens have long been considered the “it” room for remodeling projects; the key here, though, is scale. This is a great room for remodeling, but plan it wisely. When it comes to recouping costs in the kitchen, less is more. So instead of replacing everything, try new countertops and appliances or cabinet refacing, new hardware and new flooring.

Wood or Vinyl Window Replacement, 77%

Replacement windows have been a very popular home project, especially thanks to the tax credits that homeowners have been cashing in on for years now. It’s still a great project, as far as return on investments go. If your windows are a source of energy loss or have an aged and deteriorating appearance, grab a few window estimates and see what it would cost.

While vinyl has been the window product of choice for some time now, wood is starting to make a comeback. Even better, many window manufacturers are now offering both—windows that have vinyl frames on the exterior and wood finishes on the inside. Excellent energy efficiency.


By Garrick,  Fri Oct 1 2010, 11:20
Great info and nice looking blog!
By Dean,  Fri Oct 1 2010, 11:31
Hi Garrick,

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I think pictures go a long way :)

By David & Samuel Rifkin,  Tue Feb 5 2013, 06:40
Thank you very much for this great information.

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