I would not count on any improvements you make to add you profit. Most lose more money than it costs to add them.
Your biggest money saver is insulation and radiant barrier and double pane windows, in my opinion.
Buyers look at these upgrades as tie breakers I have come to find out. If two homes are equally appealing but one home has granite or some other upgrades they will see that house as the better value and go with that one. That doesn't necessarily mean they will pay more for the house, it just means that house is going to get the offer over the other home.
For sellers looking for a quick sale it is best to be strategic in the upgrades chosen. You want to do upgrades that will make your home stand out so that if it comes down to a tie breaker your house will win. You also need to know what your competition is. I will often take my sellers out to view similar properties in their neighborhood so they can see what other homes potential buyers will be comparing to theirs.
Buyers today, especially in this market, want a good value. In just about all cases it always comes down to price and what they are getting. If you keep that in mind you will be able to successfully prepare your home for a quick sale.
I concur with Dan. You will not recoup anything special from a premium roof. The good news is that contractors are in serious need of work now. You can EASILY find out of work experienced roofers this time of year that are starving to work for you.
Just put an ad on craigslist, with your measurements and dictate to them exactly how much you will pay for their labor. Draw up a nice contract that dictates that you are to inspect each phase of the project to your satisfaction, etc - before they may proceed to each later phase.
I did a major roof repainting project last year (victorian house with metal roof) - and I got it done for $1500 instead of the $2800 that a contractor wanted (the guy does very good work but he's not cheap). Make sure anyone that works up there for you is INSURED - get a copy of their paperwork, and call the company to ensure that they are covered. Also make sure your contract with them specifies that they must carry insurance.
Granted your cost will be more since you have to buy shingles, etc - but this isn't rocket science. Roofing is one of the easiest things around. But you will need to keep on top of those guys. If you can find 2 good one's you will be shocked how fast they can throw a roof on top of what you've got.
If you are lucky then you don't already have a 2nd roof up there and can just put up another roof on top of what you've got. Some towns will allow you to add a 3rd roof - some won't. Find out what you've got and check with the town if you are in the 3rd roof category. You'll need to talk to them for a permit anyway.
Oh ... and as to GREEN ... your next house - add a radiant barrier in your attic. You can do it yourself for about $250-350 and you'll save a TON of money per year vs. cooling electric costs.
Thanks for your post. To be frank, much like any improvement in the home, there isn't really a cost-sales price ROI for most improvements. A nice kitchen with double paned windows and solar cells on the roof are great features, but you will not necessarily see a percentage per investment return when the home is sold. More likely, such features will make the home sell faster and appeal to more buyers and, in today's economy, I would prefer to make my home more saleable.
Also, Scott, while "green" is great, and developers are forced to make green choices in many communities today, I'm not certain that the general public has yet "bought" the idea that a greeen home is more desirable or worth more versus one that is not green. Even in "enlightened California" where we recycle everything, a $10,000 investment in solar cells on the roof of one home does not mean an increased sales price of $10,000 when the home is sold. Times are changing, but slowly, so if you're planning to sell the home anytime soon, consider that green is nice, but not yet deemed more desirable by many buyers.
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
While being 'green' is certainly the long term decision that makes the most sense, people by and large are still unwilling to pay for most of the upgrades that someone like yourself are willing to invest. Since most of our country is too cemented in short term, instant gratification thinking, the long term people usually lose out in the end as the investment ROI will surpass the short term sale price.
It's nice to see that plenty of energy efficient homes here in Chicago are reaping the rewards of the care and planning that go in to building them. As for Austin, I would be surprised that someone wouldn't see the value in a light colored metal roof with high emissivity. I've heard of utility bills in the several hundred dollars for peak cooling season--which we don't have here--and that roof would certainly pay back in relatively short order, no?
Biggest bang for the buck in my opinion, humbly, is an energy audit and checking off whatever that energy consultant was recommending that fits your budget. You can pass that on to the next homeowner as goodwill which should also help put them at ease that you are a proactive and conscientious homeowner. As the Department of Energy said loosely, a case of caulk can go farther than replacing all of your windows in terms of comfort. I'm sure you can afford that to stop some leaks. Good luck...