New York Times – Homeowners who have been holding off on home improvements, be it a new kitchen or replacement siding, are more likely to call in the contractors in the year ahead.
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Homeowners looking for the most return on their investment when it comes to remodeling should consider exterior replacement projects. According to NAR’s 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® rated exterior projects among the most valuable home improvement projects.
Results of the report are summarized on NAR’s consumer website HouseLogic.com, which provides information on dozens of remodeling projects, from kitchens and baths to siding replacements, including the recouped value of the project based on a national average. According to the Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® judged a steel entry door replacement as the project expected to return the most money, with an estimated 85.6 percent of costs recouped upon resale. The steel entry door replacement is the least expensive project in the report, costing little more than $1,100 on average. A majority of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects; all of these are estimated to recoup more than 71 percent of costs.
The 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 81 markets across the country.
The National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index (RMI) climbed to 50 in the third quarter, up from 45 in the previous quarter. The RMI is at its highest point since the third quarter of 2005, tracking the positive trends recently seen in the rest of the housing sector.
The RMI component measuring current market conditions rose to 52 from 46 in the previous quarter, while the component measuring future indicators increased to 49 from 44.
An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared with the prior quarter) than report it is lower. The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future activity.
Future market indicators in every region but the Northeast experienced gains from the previous quarter: Northeast, 38 (from 41); Midwest, 50 (from 46); South, 52 (from 46); and West, 52 (from 42). All indicators of future market conditions rose: calls for bids, 48 (from 44); amount of work committed for next three months, 46 (from 43); backlog of remodeling jobs, 50 (from 46); and appointments for proposals, 51 (from 43).
A measure of home remodeling rose in February for the third straight month as it continues to run counter to other readings of residential construction.
The BuildFax seasonally adjusted index climbed to 2.89 million projects in February, according to data gauged through the collection of building permits. The index is up 3 percent from a revised January total and 23 percent from a year earlier.
But February’s index actually fell from an initial January reading of roughly 3 million that BuildFax adjusted downward to 2.81 million.
The remodeling numbers still mark post-recession highs and outpace other measures of residential construction across the country. Total spending on residential buildings changed little in February from January, according to the Commerce Department, and remain far below housing-boom levels.
Remodeling rose in monthly and year-earlier figures in all four regions of the country. The Northeast saw the biggest increases in projects at 24 percent from January and 33 percent from February 2011.
The BuildFax residential remodeling index reached a record high in October, extending its 23-month climb another month, as homeowners opt to stay put and remodel rather than buy a new home.
The index, which began in 2004, rose to 147.6, up 40 percent from 105.8 in October 2010. The index stood at 141.4 in September, which was also a high.
Joe Emison, vice president of research and development at BuildFax, said while the number of remodeling projects is rising, the average estimated construction cost of each project is falling.
“We see that as an indication that people are doing more comfort remodels, meaning they’re modeling to make their homes more comfortable as opposed to flipping it,” he said.
The company found the average project cost of a major remodeling project for 2011 was $39,460, down from an index high of $43,808 in 2004. The average project cost of a minor remodeling project in 2011 was $10,968, down from an index high of $12,623 in 2006.
Mercury News – The latest lifestyle trend is shuffling the old floor plan – without adding on – to make living spaces new again.
San Francisco Chronicle - When deciding which home improvements to make, many homeowners consider the amount of resale value the improvement may or may not make and compare that against the cost of the renovation. Homeowners concerned with making home improvements that will pay off when it’s time to sell the property, should consider the following tips.
Making sense of the story
From Princeton Capital – The price of granite has declined by about 50 percent. You can thank competition for the reduction as producers in Asia and Brazil quarries now market granite in the United States.
Remodeling contractors say the cost of labor for kitchen projects is down as well. People who have waited out the recession and have the money to do it are moving forward with kitchen updates.
The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies say remodeling spending fell 16 percent between 2007 and 2010. Now, affordable prices for traditionally upscale appointments are perking up homeowners’ remodeling plans.
According to the National Association of Home builders, overall remodeling costs are running at least 20 percent lower than 2006.
The biggest budget killer: impulse buying.
Studies at the University of Pittsburgh show that impulse buying adds up to 30 percent of overall spending. Here are some tricks to keep you from unplanned purchases:
Look at the clothing or electronic gadget but don’t touch them. Picking up an expensive sweater or cellphone increases your sense of ownership, which makes it more difficult to resist buying.
Shop with a list. This classic idea can be one of the biggest money savers of all. Decide what you want and need. Mentally decide how much you are willing to spend on gifts, personal care and items for your home, and how you could save one-third of those costs over a year.
Create separate savings accounts for items like vacations, Christmas, and new furniture. One Dartmouth researcher says a reminder on your calendar can help. Reminders like “Deposit tax refund to Roth IRA” can boost savings by 15 percent.
Exterior replacement projects are among the most cost-effective home improvement projects according to REALTORS® surveyed for NAR’s 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report.
According to the report, nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement remained the project that returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1 percent of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9 percent of costs. Both projects are small investments that cost little more than $1,200 each, on average. REALTORS® identified these two replacements as projects that can significantly improve a home’s curb appeal.
The report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house. An attic bedroom addition costs more than $51,000 and recoups an estimated 72.2 percent, nationally, upon resale; a basement remodel costs more than $64,000 and recoups an estimated 70 percent. Improvement projects that are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8 percent; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5 percent; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6 percent of costs.
We had this decision to make at our place in Tahoe. Our 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo is in the middle of having new counter tops put on to be ready for resale in the summer. We considered replacing or refacing the cabinets, but it was just too costly and time consuming. Here is the article that inspired us from the 3/16/2007 “The Money Pit” newsletter.
When it comes to kitchen remodels, new appliances may be pricey and flooring costs may floor you, but cabinets can be the single biggest expense of all. That’s why it literally pays to take a close look at what you’ve already got and consider the options carefully. Depending on the configuration and construction of your cabinets, you can replace, reface or refinish them on the way to your kitchen redo. Following is a rundown of each approach to strengthening the bones of your kitchen.
REPLACE – If your kitchen remodel involves a new footprint and additional storage needs, partial or complete replacement of cabinets is the way to go. Just remember that this approach involves major demolition and consideration of such critical elements as plumbing and appliance placement…
REFACE – Refacing cabinets involves replacing the doors and veneers on existing laminate or wood boxes. It’s not a job for the novice, but also understand that if you hire a pro to do the job, your satisfaction with the results will be directly proportional to their skill and level of craftsmanship. Quality of existing cabinetry and the new materials applied also impact the end product.
REFINISH – If you like the style and configuration of the cabinets you have, and they happen to be made of wood or laminate, refinishing them is the clearest route to remodeling cost control. Most older cabinetry is well built, so preserving it is usually worthwhile… just be sure to examine the construction carefully before pulling out the sander, because if paper-thin veneers cover every surface but the solid fronts, you’ll need to rethink your refinishing plans. Veneers can’t be sanded or stained, so painting will be the only option if they’fre involved. Whether painting or staining, choose an oil-based finish, which is far more durable and forgiving of everyday kitchen grime than latex finish…Read more.